Benny Samuels serves as Vice President of Programs for Rose Community Foundation where she oversees and directs the staff of the programs department in granting approximately $10 million annually in the seven-county Greater Denver area.
Samuels most recently served as the chief operating officer for Nurse-Family Partnership, which serves more than 36,000 young women and their babies in 41 states and 6 tribal nations in the U.S.
A native of Panama, Benny is a seasoned bilingual and multicultural executive leader with 25 years of experience developing and implementing communications campaigns and health programs that engage the hardest to reach populations; including teens, poor men of color, the underserved, Native Americas, and the working poor. Benny was the administrator of the Denver project to reduce unintended pregnancies (a 40% reduction in Colorado), and she led various campaigns to increase access to publicly sponsored health care (Medicaid, the Child Health Plan Plus and sliding scale discount programs) for the uninsured. Additionally, Benny has consulted with Denver Public Schools on campaigns to recruit teachers and administrators of color; and with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment on strategic communications to increase awareness of the new Marihuana laws with Latino families in Colorado. Benny also led the 125th anniversary celebration of the first United Way in the world, Mile High United Way in Denver.
In her free time, this social entrepreneur runs a style and fashion philanthropy that brings women from all walks together to shop for good at Project Style Denver’s seasonal pop-up shops, now online at www.projectstyledenver.com.
Benny holds a master’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an undergraduate degree from Denver University in Graphic Design. She is married to John Watson, a retired firefighter/paramedic. They have one son, Sergio, a senior in college. They live in Denver with their mutt, Oreo.