Global Down Syndrome Foundation Appoints Two New Board Members

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DENVER, CO – February 11, 2021 – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) announced it has appointed to its board of directors: Philanthropist & Owner/Partner of the Colorado Rockies Charlie Monfort, and International Public Speaker & Self-advocate Frank Stephens. 

Charlie Monfort

Charlie Monfort is an owner, vice chairman, and general partner of the Colorado Rockies. In 1992, Charlie, Oren Benton, and Jerry McMorris were the original general partners and ownership group that brought the Major League Baseball club to Denver and the Colorado region. He has been one of the Colorado Rockies’ managing general partners since inception.

Charlie and his brother Dick Monfort have done extensive community outreach through their family-directed Monfort Family Foundation. In September 2004, the Monfort Family Foundation gifted $10 million to Children’s Hospital Colorado for the construction of a new medical facility in Aurora, CO. The oncology floor of the new hospital is named in memory of Rick Wilson, a cousin of the Monfort family. In addition, the family funded a display of artwork, photography, and Rockies memorabilia to enhance the seventh floor of the hospital. The foundation is a longtime provider of funding and endorsement for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Metro Denver and Weld County. In 2012, they matched dollar-for-dollar on fans’ collected contributions for Coloradoans devastated by summer wildfires.

Also active in higher education, the Monfort family supports the Monfort School of Business at the University of Northern Colorado and the Monfort Excellence Fund at Colorado State University; both impact students, faculty, and the Northern Colorado community through scholarships for exceptional students and support of outstanding faculty. Other organizations that have benefited from the Monfort family’s years of philanthropic work include CU Cancer Center, Craig Hospital, United Way, Denver Art Museum and Habitat for Humanity.

Charlie is a staunch advocate for the differently-abled and served on the board of Special Olympics for over a decade. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Utah and is an active supporter of the Denver Dream program.

Charlie was named president of Monfort International Sales Corporation in 1988, and under his guidance, it became one of the largest beef exporters in the world and the leading exporter of beef products to Asia. In 1990, Monfort became president of ConAgra Refrigerated Foods International, Inc., which consolidated Monfort International Sales Corporation with all of ConAgra’s international refrigerated foods companies. Charlie resigned from ConAgra in late 1997 in order to concentrate on his leadership role with the Rockies.

Charlie has a bachelor’s degree in marketing & business management from the University of Utah (1982) and served as president of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He continues to make his home in Greeley, CO, and has four children: son Kenny, daughter Ciara, and twins – son Lucas and daughter Danica.

Frank Stephens

Frank Stephens is an active spokesman for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the recipient of GLOBAL’s highest honor, the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. He is also a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Virginia. An accomplished public speaker, Frank has been invited all over North America and Europe promoting inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Frank is also an accomplished actor. As a member of his local theater group known as Artstream, Frank has acted in various original plays over the last ten years. Frank also had a feature role in the film Touched by Grace and has made occasional guest appearances on the Emmy Award winning A&E reality show, Born This Way.

Frank’s articles have been featured in publications like The New York Times, London Daily Mail, and The Huffington Post. He contributed to Amazon bestseller, Stand Up, which featured stories of outstanding young advocates.

In 2017, Frank testified on behalf of GLOBAL at the first U.S. Congressional hearing on the importance of Down syndrome research, which helped result in the first significant increase in Down syndrome funding from the National Institutes of Health in nearly 20 years. His famous line, “If you take one thing away from today, know this: I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living,” received the first-ever standing ovation at a congressional hearing and his testimony on C-Span went viral receiving over 200M views.

Frank has been interviewed on behalf of GLOBAL and many other disability organizations by national outlets including BBC, Fox News, CNN, and Inside Edition.

“We are pleased to welcome both Frank and Charlie to the GLOBAL Board of Directors,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “They are joining us at a pivotal moment when we need more passionate leaders to help us protect people with Down syndrome against COVID-19, support our individuals with Down syndrome and their families hit by the ensuing economic crisis, and deliver on our research, medical care, and research mission. We look forward to their contributions and are grateful they chose GLOBAL as a priority.”

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,000 patients with Down syndrome from 28 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and medical care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 150 Down syndrome organizations worldwide and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include GLOBAL Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome©, Prenatal Testing and Information about Down Syndrome, and the award-winning Down Syndrome WorldTM magazine. GLOBAL also organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit and follow us on social media (Facebook & Twitter: @GDSFoundation, Instagram: @globaldownsyndrome).

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