Barnett Foundation Awards First Two Grants

CU football coach Gary Barnett and his wife, Mary, have awarded the first two grants from The Gary Barnett Foundation to support area youth programs, Barnett announced Thursday. One grant, earmarked for suicide prevention, went to the Boulder Valley School District, the other to the newly formed Ralphie's Kids Roundup.

The Barnetts started their foundation in February. Gary Barnett said at the time that he and Mary had for some time wanted to begin a foundation to be able to give back to the community. But it was the suicide of former Buff Gabe Oderberg that prompted the foundation's formation.

Oderberg, an offensive lineman and member of Barnett's first recruiting class at CU in 1999, took his own life last September. He was 23.

The $5,000 BVSD grant was made in Oderberg's name. Oderberg's parents, Bonnie and Nate, were present at the function.

"Our number one issue in Boulder Valley Schools is depression and suicide prevention — from kindergarten through college," said Katy Fleming, who was on hand to accept for the BVSD. "It's important to have the opportunity to train community leaders and mentors in what to do to work with the kids and try to prevent this.

"We're thrilled about this foundation and its work."

CU associate athletic director Chris May accepted the $5,000 grant on behalf of the Ralphie's Kids program, an program which was announced earlier this month by new Buff athletic director Mike Bohn. The program was made possible due to a donation to cover the cost of 1,000 area kids to attend five homes game this fall.

"We hope that this program can accomplish a lot of things for area youth, as we want to reach out and let young people be introduced to the University of Colorado," May said.

Barnett said the foundation's goal is to build an endowment for future grants, but as the foundation accumulates donations, it will award a certain percentage for grants annually. The next fundraising event for The Gary Barnett Foundation is a 5K walk/run Aug. 13.

"This is something we‚re not doing for one or two years, it's something for the rest of our lives," Barnett said of the foundation. "Mary and I had talked for a long time about doing something, and after Gabe took his own life, that was it for me. We were starting this. That's why it was important to us to make the first grant in Gabe's name."


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