DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Community last a child advocate who changed thousands of lives.  Dixie van de Flier Davis passed away on Monday afternoon after a long battle with cancer. Davis founded the Adoption Exchange, now known as Raise the Future, and started a partnership with CBS4 that has lasted more than 40-years.

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When it comes to children living in foster care, there was no better advocate than Davis.

“We believe at the Adoption Exchange that every child deserves a family,” she said in a 2012 interview with CBS4.

The walls of the old Adoption Exchange offices were covered with pictures of children, all a part of the foster care system, all in need of a loving home. Those children were Davis’s passion, and she shared her passion with every person who would listen to her.

“There isn’t any way that you are not just going to get up every day and do everything in your power, work as if your life depends on it, because their lives do depend on it,” Davis said in that same 2012 interview.

“The kids were the driving force for everything we did,” said Jacki Propernick, who served as Director of Development at the Adoption Exchange for 13-years. “She always made you want to do more… more, more, more, and she made you know  you could.”

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In the early 1980’s, Davis founded the Adoption Exchange, an organization dedicated to finding families for children in foster care, in particular, older children, children with special needs, and sibling groups. The children that most people overlooked, Davis championed. She literally changed the lives of young people who needed it the most. But, she also changed the lives of almost every person she met. Her passion for her work was infectious, and she inspired everyone around her.

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“I was asked if i would go to dinner with Dixie and just learn a little bit more about the organization, and see if it might be an organization I’d be interested in working with. I was warned that if i were to do this that i would instantly be connected to it and want to do it forever. And, of course, I said, ‘I really don’t think so. I’ll be fine. I just want to listen and hear what Dixie has to say.’ And, I would say 10-minutes into dinner,  I had tears running down my face. i was asking, ‘What could I do? When could I join the board? What projects could I do?’ That was probably my most memorable experience with her because of how convincingly she told the story of these children. and made you appreciate how you could make a difference by working with her,” said Tim Wieland, VP & General Manager of CBS4 and current Board Member of Raise the Future.

“She could walk into a room, a staff meeting, or anything; and, it just immediately wanted you to be at your best, listen, participate, and march forward with that mission,” Propernick added.

Early on, Davis had a clear vision of how to be innovative in finding homes for children living in foster care. She approached CBS4 with the idea of profiling them on television.

“She wanted to have the message reach as many people as possible, that we had children in the foster care system that needed families, and she felt that television was the best way to do it,” Wieland explained.

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CBS4’s Wednesday’s Child segments were born out of that vision in 1980, and continue to today. A more than 40-year partnership that has found homes for more than 10,000 children.

“We know that 70 to 75% of the children who are featured on Wednesday’s Child are going to find families,” Davis said in 2012.

Creating families, changing lives, giving children a chance at happiness, that is how Dixie van de Flier Davis will always be remembered.

“She will be missed by so, so many,” Propernick added.

LINK: Raise the Future

Libby Smith