The real estate business began for Don Korets in 1995, when he left his firm to create a non-profit community foundation, not knowing how it would turn out, but he was confident that he could make it work.
Today, the Rose Community Foundation is managing $ 322 million in assets, distributing money across Denver to make a difference by providing grants to various non-profit organizations. And it all started with Korets.
“It took a unique commitment to community service to quit for something without a real understanding of what it could lead to, and likely to receive a pay cut. But it showed how committed Don was to the community, ”said his friend and colleague Andy Love.
Korz died Sunday night at the University of Colorado UCHealth Hospital from complications from COVID-19, his nephew Gary Korz said. Vaccinated Don Kortsz successfully fought brain lymphoma during the pandemic but was unable to defeat COVID when he contracted the virus in late May. He was 81 years old.
Korets is left with his wife Mary Lou Blackledge; his daughter Zoe Korts; and his brother Robert Korts and his family.
Born and raised in Denver, Korz made his mark in the business world as a lawyer and then CEO of commercial real estate firm Fuller and Company. He has been involved in over $ 2 billion in real estate transactions throughout his career, according to a video biography of his life on the Colorado Business Hall of Fame website.
Korz graduated from Eastern High School and then attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where he participated in the ROTC. He was promoted to a junior lieutenant in the US Army, eventually earning the rank of captain. He graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and then went to work at a Denver law firm.
As part of his legal work, Korz met with the president of Fuller and Company, who hired him as General Counsel. Korz eventually became president and CEO of the company, as well as chairman of the board of directors, including after the firm was bought by Colorado-based Cassidy Turley.
Korz was also the founder of Steele Street Bank and Trust in 2003, which was later sold to MidFirst Bank.
But it was his dedication to nonprofit groups, philanthropy, and mentoring others that impressed his friends and colleagues.
“By definition, a Mensh is a decent and honest person who personifies kindness; Don Korz was a typical person with fingerprints, thankfully, all over Denver, both in the Jewish community and beyond, ”said Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, President and CEO of the Rose Community Foundation.
Along with establishing the Rose Community Foundation, Korz has served on the boards of directors of Rose Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Metro Trade Chamber, Denver Water and others.
“Denver lost a leader who was willing to do anything without looking for money,” his friend Dick Robinson said. “He did it for the benefit of the people, the city and the state.”
Korz was chairman of the board of directors of Rose Hospital when its members decided to sell it to Health One, leaving the board with $ 170 million to invest. It was then that the idea for the Rose Community Foundation came about, and Korz agreed to take a leave of absence from Fuller and company to make it happen.
“He was confident that he could return to real estate whenever he wanted. He had a solid reputation, ”said Mary Lou Korz. “He wanted to do something incredibly important to this community that will last forever.”
Friends said that Korts never sought fame or recognition for his big projects and ideas. And he knew how to unite people and negotiate, overcoming conflicts and obstacles.
“Don was an incredibly thoughtful and fair guy,” said Norman Brovstein, chairman of the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. “He always found the right solution and answered the questions that presented itself to him, because he had a tremendous ability to be fair and understand every problem.”
Several people have described Korets as a “doer.”
“He just had the greatest instincts and vision. He was so confident and ethical in everything he did, ”said former House President and friend Joe Blake. “He understood the need. It’s one thing to understand and imagine it, and another thing to do it. “
Despite his busy work and philanthropic life, Korz was a devoted family man, often rejecting social invitations to spend time with his wife and their daughter.
“I knew he was a businessman, but it seemed to me that his number 1 was like a father,” said Zoe Korts.
According to Mary Lou Korz, the family enjoyed traveling together. According to her, Don Korts was looking forward to his daughter’s wedding and visited her when she and her husband moved to England.
Don Korts also loved his dogs, loved to travel with friends to historical sites, and always kept a book close at hand, she said.
“Don’s approach to life was laser. He could focus on an issue, person, or entity. He could immediately highlight what was important, what needed to happen, or what needed to happen to make him better, ”said Mary Lou Korz.
Korets’ funeral will take place at 10am Thursday at Temple Sinai, 3509 Glencoe St., Denver.