John Farnam, Morgridge Child Welfare Fellow

John Farnam has served the Morgridge Family Foundation for 12 years, administering more than $150 million in grants, first as chief of staff and now as managing director. John builds relationships and catalyzes connections with partners at every level, resulting in transformational change across all social sectors in Denver and beyond. His expertise has been sought out as an Aspen Institute Fellow, a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network, and an advisor to the Governor’s Leadership Committee on COVID Relief. In 2022 he earned an executive certificate through the prestigious Chief of Staff Fellowship at the University of Oxford, and in 2023, he was one of just 60 leaders from 20 countries to complete the inaugural Chief of Staff Association Program through Harvard Business School Executive Education. He now serves as the Morgridge Child Welfare Fellow for the Common Sense Institute.

In his earlier career, Farnam served as vice president of marketing for Goodwill Industries of Denver where he played an integral role in establishing the Goodwill Endowment Fund, which raised an ambitious $10 million. During his time as executive director of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project, Farnam was recognized with the DoSomething Award celebrating leaders whose work transforms the community. His work in education and philanthropy began when he raised $6.5 million to build Vanguard Classical School in Denver.

Farnam is chairman of the board of MindSpark, an education organization dedicated to K-12 transformation through upskilling teachers to effectively use technology and design thinking. He also served as chairman of the board of Excelsior, a mental and behavioral health organization serving young people ages 11-21 in Aurora, Colorado.

John and his husband Paul Heitzenrater, a certified recreation therapist at National Jewish Health in Denver, grow and donate more than 2,000 pounds of produce every year. They volunteer at Metro Caring, Hunger Relief Center, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and their church, Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church. They have received the Firefly Luminescence Award as well as the Georgia Imhoff Philanthropic Award.