Pristine beaches, crystal-blue Pacific water, and beautiful desert landscapes nestled against a quaint Mexican village on Baja California Sur.

No, Todos Santos is not your typical board meeting venue.

Then again, the Green and Gold Foundation is anything but your typical organization, so the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center was the perfect spot for members to share ideas about how to make a positive impact on the university they love.

“We wanted to build something unique with the Green and Gold Foundation,” said GGF board member Adam O’Leary (B.S., ’99). “We’re all proud CSU alumni, and we all want to make an impact that is most beneficial for the University. At the same time, we didn’t want to have typical get-togethers and networking sessions at a local bar. We try to meet in places that fit our mission.”

The Todos Santos Center certainly fits that bill. In addition to traditional classes focusing on agriculture, water conservation, and even marine biology, one of the primary goals is for visitors to immerse themselves in the local community, learning aspects of language and culture not found in textbooks.

“It’s such a great networking opportunity for our group but also just a really cool place,” he said. “We heard presentations from faculty about opportunities for grants, and we got to learn all about the experiential learning taking place. We’d like to make it a yearly trip so eventually all members can visit.”

Impact all over campus

GGF was founded in 2016 and already has made an impact. The College of Business is one of many benefactors, with GGF awarding a total $112,500 to fund scholarships, professional development, and other projects.

“We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to pitch new ideas and initiatives each year to the Green and Gold Foundation, and for their generous support,” said Beth Walker, dean of the college. “While they often invest in scholarships for students and prospective students to enhance our access mission, they also fund innovative new initiatives and programs that build CSU’s world-class reputation.”

GGF support in 2022 helped the college launch the First Generation Business Summit, a weeklong program that allows high school students across Colorado to experience college life on the Fort Collins campus, free of charge.

The organization has also supported initiatives in the colleges of Natural Sciences and Health and Human Sciences, the Alumni Association, the CSU Spur Campus in Denver, and athletics.

O’Leary stressed that the GGF’s work is not tied to the CSU Foundation or University Advancement as are many donor-supported initiatives. It is also not associated with the Green and Gold Guard, which focuses its support on athletics.

Big fan

CSU President Amy Parsons is a big fan of GGF. She fully endorses the group’s widespread support, especially including Todos Santos, a project she helped launch when she was CSU’s vice president of University operations.

“I am so impressed by the members of the Green and Gold Foundation,” Parsons said. “They are truly stalwart Rams, full of energy and commitment to CSU. Their creative approach to giving makes a huge difference for the programs they support, and they are making a significant, positive impact on CSU. I’m really excited to work with them in the years ahead.”

O’Leary said the GGF currently has 55 members but is always looking to expand. 

“Coming to CSU is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and getting involved in the College of Business was very transformational,” he said. “My senior capstone class with [former dean] Dr. [Ajay] Menon gave me a lot of direction and confidence that really launched me into my career. That cemented my love for CSU, and now I want to give back and help others have experiences like mine.”