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about Us

Caruso Family Charities is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families who have a child, adolescent or young adult being treated in Colorado for a life-threatening disease or life-altering event. Through our Funding Families program, our mission is to relieve some financial pressures, such as rent, insurance payments, energy bills, co-pays or gas, so the family may focus on caring for their sick child.

WHY WE'RE DIFFERENT

There are organizations that help kids and families on a long-term basis, but they require more processing time. Some families need help now. Caruso Family Charities helps bridge the gap. We pull families back from the brink by helping with the immediate need immediately.

We personally visit each family to assess the situation and then we help solve the problem, whether it's keeping a family in a home for a 3-month span until other resources can be enacted, or helping a stranded mother get her child to chemo treatments. Our help is personal and it's as real as it gets.

HOW MONEY IS SPENT

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Board of Directors

Jerry Caruso

Founder, Chair

Jerry Caruso and his wife, Karen, started Caruso Family Charities in 2006 after a trip to Children's Hospital Colorado more than 20 years ago inspired them to help terminally ill children. After meeting with doctors and nurses, they learned of an immense financial need for underprivileged families who have a sick child. This was all Jerry and Karen needed to hear, and from here, Caruso Family Charities was started! Jerry is also the owner of Caruso Kitchens in Lakewood, CO, which he began in 1983.

Jerry's oldest son, Jared, has begun to take over Caruso Kitchens to allow Jerry to focus his time on Caruso Family Charities. Jerry is active in his community and is a dedicated father and grandfather. Jerry has lofty goals for Caruso Family Charities and has assembled a stellar board of directors to help achieve these goals.

 

Jerry and Karen have faith that with the help of the holy spirit, these goals will be accomplished. They have always believed that it is better to give than to receive.

Ray Baker

Director, Governance Committee

Mr. Baker has been involved in the banking and real estate industry for the past 35 years.  A Pueblo, Colorado native, he has played an active role in the non-profit industry, as well as Community Banking and Real Estate transactions throughout the metropolitan Denver region and the Western Slope of Colorado. Ray has a vast knowledge of the non-profit world and plays a crucial role in Caruso Family Charities' success.

Ray's Experience includes: Partner, Gold Crown Management Company, Chairman, Gold Crown Foundation, Board Member, Alpine Banks of Colorado, Board Member, Land Title Guarantee Company, Board Member, MDC Holdings, Inc.

Community and Professional Activities: Co-Chairman, Finance Committee Jefferson County School District Elections (2018), Current Chairman and Board Member, Metropolitan Football Stadium District, Current Member, Judi's House Endowment Board (Brian Griese), Current Member, University of Colorado Hospital Board, Current Member, University of Colorado Health Board, Current Member, Mesa State Real Estate Foundation, Current Member, Caruso Family Charities, Current Member, Lakewood High School Foundation, Current Member, Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Julie Busch

Director, Board VP, Grant Writing Chair

Julie is a former elementary school teacher who taught in San Jose, California, and Littleton, Colorado. She's also been an active volunteer with the Littleton Public Schools, where her two sons attended.

As an experienced grant writer, Julie brings this skill to her role at Caruso Family Charities. Over the past years, she has helped Caruso Family Charities be awarded grants from different sources, assists with events, and has been a true rock star of a board member!

Andrea Caruso

Chief Operating Officer

As the daughter of Jerry and Karen Caruso, giving back is in her blood. After seeing the positive impact Caruso Family Charities was making in the lives of so many deserving families, she knew a career in the non-profit sector was her calling. Andrea is the Chief Operating Officer at Caruso Family Charities and is their only employee. 

Caruso Family Charities has always believed that keeping their overhead low is key to their success and wants as much of the money they raise to go directly to the families they serve. Therefore, Andrea's role as Chief Operating Office is much more than that! Prior to her role at Caruso Family Charities, Andrea was a Senior Corporate Giving Manager at Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation, where she worked for ten years. She has dedicated most of her adult life to giving back to those in need, has loved every minute of it, and can't imagine doing anything else. 

Robert Casey Ph.d.

Director, Outreach Fundraising Committee, Medical Liason

Robert (Bob) Casey, Ph.D., currently serves as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation. Before working at Children's Hospital Colorado, Dr. Casey served as the Co-Director of the Center for Medical and Refugee Trauma at Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, and then as a clinical professor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard School of

Medicine. 

Dr. Casey received his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Georgia State University in 1998 and completed his internship and fellowship training at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, where he then served on the faculty for five years. Dr. Casey arrived at Children's Hospital Colorado in 2010 to develop the Wellness Program in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD). This program provides psychosocial support to pediatric cancer patients and their families so that they can cope more effectively with the emotional and logistical challenges presented by a life-threatening illness. Dr. Casey also has extensive Experience related to trauma reactions in children and has previously served on the faculty of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence and has been actively involved in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Dr. Casey also conducts research that assesses the psychosocial functioning of pediatric cancer patients and seeks to provide the most effective, evidence-based treatment to all CCBD families. Dr. Casey has worked with Jerry and Caruso Family Charities for years and is honored to be a part of this amazing organization.

Frank Deangelis

Director, Outreach Fundraising Committee, Scholarship Committee

Frank DeAngelis was a staff member at Columbine High School in the Jeffco School District in Littleton, Colorado, since 1979. He Started as a Social Studies teacher and filled the roles of Head Baseball Coach, Assistant Football Coach, Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal, before becoming the Principal in 1996.

Frank is a Colorado native, completing his K-12 education in Denver-area schools attending Mt. Carmel Elementary School and graduated from Ranum High School; proceeding to graduate from Metropolitan State College and subsequently from the University of Colorado with a Master's Degree in Secondary Education and Social Studies, his Principal's License and Master's Degree from the University of Phoenix. Frank has been involved in numerous professional activities and associations and serves on multiple non-profit boards. He retired in June of 2014 after 35 years at Columbine High School. He is presently serving as a consultant for safety and emergency management for the Jeffco School District in Colorado. Caruso Family Charities and the Caruso family are near and dear to Frank's heart, and he continues to pour his heart and soul into making it the success it is today.

Pat Keelan

Director, Outreach Fundraising Committee, Scholarship Committee

A Denver "North Sider" Pat served in public safety as a member of the Denver Fire Department. His current business venture involves support services within the air show industry (USN Blue Angels/USAF Thunderbirds). His passion remains serving on the board of Caruso Family Charities and a board member for Rocky Mountain Honor Flight. Bonnie, his bride of 44 years, remains the best decision he ever made. Pat and Bonnie have three grown children, Patrick, Kellie, and Chris. And the most amazing granddaughter ever, Ayla-Skye.

Ben Maxwell

Director, Board President

Ben is a third-generation developer and entrepreneur originally from Kansas City. He

has spent the last 20+ years in Denver developing residential and commercial real

estate projects. His primary background is in residential redevelopment, with over 700 projects completed to his credit.

His career has moved from general contracting to real estate development, real estate consulting, and private equity funding for redevelopment projects throughout the Denver Area. Ben has raised over $100,000,000 in capital since 2004 and has completed over $200,000,000 in real estate projects in the Denver Area. Ben truly believes in Caruso Family Charities mission, and as the president of the board of directors, is committed to growing the foundation to its fullest potential.

John Mcwilliams

Director, Board Treasurer

John is the Owner of Colorado Brokerage Group, LLC, a full-service brokerage and marketing organization based in Denver, Colorado. CBG provides solutions and the highest quality life insurance, annuity, and long-term care products to financial advisors and their clients. He is a native of Colorado and is married to his wife of 33 years, Theresa, and has two daughters – Gianna (who works with CBG) and Gabbie.  He loves spending time with his family and being outdoors playing golf, riding mountain bikes, and skiing. John is the longest standing board member of Caruso Family Charities and has seen first hand the growth it has had since its inception. Caruso Family Charities would not be where it is today without John.

Kelly Murphy

Director, Board Secretary

Kelly Murphy has lived in Colorado since 1992. She spent her first ten years in Breckenridge and moved to Denver in 2002. She has been a Sr. Mortgage Consultant for 24 years and loves working with her clients to help them achieve their financial goals. She also loves design and started a fix-and-flip company in 2015. She is very passionate about helping others and her community.

Thomas Smith M.D.

Director, Scholarship Committee Chair, Medical Liason

Dr. Tom Smith was a pediatric oncologist in Denver for 33 years before retiring in 2020. He currently works part-time at several pediatric oncology programs across the country, alternating his time between these ventures and his home in Littleton, Colorado. Tom grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, in the shadow of the Mayo Clinic. 

He attended Michigan State University, Mayo Medical School, did his pediatric training at Wake Forest University and then trained in pediatric oncology at the University of Colorado. His guiding words throughout his career, learned at Mayo, were "patient care always comes first." Tom's wife of 35 years, Karen, is a psychologist in Denver. Two of his children are in medicine, and one in reality television. Tom has been involved in numerous professional activities and serves on several non-profit boards focusing on pediatric cancer and homelessness.  He enjoys outdoor activities like skiing, climbing, and bicycling. He has summitted all of the Colorado 14ers and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Tom has been involved with Caruso Family Charities since its inception and considers his involvement one of the most important things he does.  He loves Caruso Family Charities because it is simply "good people helping others during their time of deepest need." Dr. Tom is the man behind the inspiration for Caruso Family Charities and the reason for its existence.