DENVER (CBS4) – The University of Colorado Denver has received a scholarship donation from Les and Marianne Franklin through the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth which will benefit Denver students at the university.
The donation was announced Wednesday morning.
The Franklins, through their foundation, have devoted substantial efforts and resources to helping underserved metro Denver youth develop self-esteem, life skills, and the goal of pursuing higher education.
The donations will establish three scholarships and programs for at-risk youth.
The hope is the commitment will total $1.5 million.
“We’ve seen so many young people who didn’t think they would go to college. Nobody ever encouraged them to do anything,” Les Franklin said in a statement. “Our life’s work is about saving our children, loving our children. What the University of Colorado brings to this state and to the community is so important. We didn’t go to CU, but this is our community, our city. And we want people to know that our work continues.”
The three scholarships will be awarded to Denver-area students “who might fall through the cracks of traditional scholarship awards,” according to the foundation.
“Students with B-/C+ grade point averages, who could not otherwise afford tuition, who are willing to mentor adolescents in similar circumstances. This sort of scholarship might once have gone to Les Franklin, who as a schoolboy had a D average but went on to become an executive at IBM,” according to the news release.
“The work of Les and Marianne Franklin has given hope to thousands of children throughout Colorado, and has saved many lives,” said Donald Elliman, CU Denver chancellor. “We’re honored that they have chosen CU Denver as the place to further their goals, and we are grateful that these scholarships and programs will open doors for promising youth going forward.”
The Franklins started the foundation in 1990 to address the problem of youth suicide, and were motivated to do so after the teen suicide of Les’s first son, Shaka.