A retired University of Northern Colorado professor, Dr. Max Shirley, organized the Greeley/Weld Senior Foundation (GWSF) in 1991. The GWSF was formed for the purpose of ‘honoring’ senior citizens for their achievements. They have recognized many seniors, distributed thousands of dollars to Weld County senior facilities through grants, scholarships, and stipends.
The purpose of the foundation was to honor the achievements of local senior volunteers. By September 25, 1991, the foundation was established and gained non-profit corporation status with the purpose of “honoring senior citizens.” January of 1998 the group became affiliated with the Community Foundation serving not only Greeley, but also Weld County.
The mission of the GWSF “is to support the promotion and development of senior recreation activities, events, programs, equipment and/or facilities in Weld Senior Centers.” The Foundation’s Board of directors accomplishes this mission by having annual goals, raising funds for worthy senior center projects and activities, offering grants annually to support senior center programs, and providing student scholarships and stipends related to work with seniors. The original funding for the Foundation came from the Greeley Senior Centers’ Senior Club. An endowment from Dr. Albert Winchester, UNC professor and Director on the GSWF Board, added to the funding of the foundation.
Each May the group holds its annual Senior Hall of Fame Banquet to honor individual seniors and senior centers that have made outstanding contributions to the Weld County Community. The first Senior Hall of Fame Banquet was held in 1993. Through the banquet, the GWSF honors and recognizes senior volunteers, awards grants to senior centers, as well as scholarships to UNC students majoring in gerontology or senior related fields. Senior centers, neighbors, friends, and family members nominate the volunteers. A committee consisting of Foundation board members and community leaders of Weld County selects the inductees.
In order to fulfill the mission GSWF relies heavily on the financial support from local Weld County businesses and individuals. The Foundation is a philanthropic organization that holds open monthly meetings. Currently the group meets on the second Friday of each month at 11:30 am at The Bridge at Greeley. The Board members welcome any interested individual to join them for lunch and business meeting. The Board also encourages individuals to support their local senior centers, attend the banquet and volunteer their time to senior activities and projects.