The Piton Foundation on Thursday announced the exit of two top officials who have helped set the social agenda in the Denver area.
Piton founder and Denver oilman Sam Gary told colleagues that the 37-year-old organization's president, Terry Minger, and its chief of staff, Meredith Miller, announced they were leaving their positions "to pursue other opportunities."
Effective Thursday, Dave Younggren, co-chairman of the Piton Foundation Board, began serving as interim president, Gary said.
Gary said organizations that have been around a long time experience staff turnover.
"Talented people are in high demand, and we understand that," Gary wrote in a statement posted to the foundation's website.
Minger and Miller couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
Gary also said that in 2012 — after the sale of the Gary-Williams Energy Corp. — they created the Gary Community Investment Co. and "started down the path of exploring opportunities for impact investing."
He said the changes signaled a new chapter in the story of the Piton Foundation, named for the steel spike used by mountain climbers to secure their lifeline in difficult terrain.
The foundation's stated mission is to provide children and their families pathways to move out of poverty to self-reliance. It has developed and funded its own programs and awarded grants to other organizations playing strategic roles.
Piton spokeswoman Diane DiGiacomo said the funds available with the sale of the energy company are opening new doors but don't signal a different direction for the foundation.
"It's business as usual for us and for all the commitments we have made," DiGiacomo said.
A major programmatic initiative of the foundation is the Children's Corridor, a plan to provide medical care and to ensure high school graduation for more than 30,000 children living in poverty or otherwise at other risk within a 40-square-mile strip of Denver and Aurora.
DiGiacomo called the decision of Minger to leave the foundation "a totally mutual decision" between him and Gary. She said they have been friends for many years and have "the utmost respect for each other."
"I appreciate all the hard work they have done on behalf of the community and The Piton Foundation," Gary wrote of Minger and Miller. "Both of them were critical to the conception and development of The Children's Corridor, as well as many of the other elements of the broader social agenda to create a better future for Denver's low-income families and children."
DiGiacomo said Miller had led Piton for five years. She said she didn't know what Minger or Miller is planning to do next.
Gary said the board and staff of Piton and the Gary Community Investment Co. are taking this time to reflect on how, working under common leadership, they will strategically allocate their financial and social capital.
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