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Barnett Foundation Awards Initial Two Grants

May 26, 2005

                NIWOT - University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett and his wife, Mary, started their own foundation just over three months ago, and Thursday night the organization awarded its two initial grants of $5,000 each to support area youth programs.


                The Gary Barnett Foundation, with many of its 18-member advisory committee in attendance at Barnett's home Thursday evening, presented the two grants to the Boulder Valley School District and to the CU's Ralphie's Kids Roundup.


                "We're thrilled about this foundation and its work," said Katy Fleming, who was on hand to accept for the BVSD.  "Our number one issue in Boulder Valley Schools is depression and suicide prevention... from kindergarten through college.  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."


                The BVSD grant was in the name of Gabe Oderberg, the former CU offensive lineman who took his own life last September at the age of 23.  He was a member of the program from 1999 through 2003, with his career cut short due to a chronic back injury.


                "This is something we're not doing for one or two years, it's something for the rest of our lives," Gary Barnett said.  "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."


                Oderberg's parents, Bonnie and Nate, were present at the function.


                CU associate athletic director Chris May accepted the grant on behalf of the Ralphie's Kids 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," said May.


                Kevin Kaplan, present from Coaching Charities, summed the evening up by saying, "It's something that can make a difference."  Barnett added that he "wants to build an endowment for future grants, but as we accumulate donations, we are also going to award a certain percentage for grants annually."


                Mary Barnett announced that the foundation's next event will be a 5K fun walk/run on August 13 (details are pending).