March 7, 2019

‘Farmer’s blood’ sows success for Fry

2014 Women of Distinction - Nonprofit Human Services

Roxanne Fry doesn’t do anything in a small way. Whatever she takes on, she takes on with energy and dedication. Her background bears witness to that. 

Her leadership easily can be traced to a path began in Glenwood City (Wis.) High School, where she graduated as valedictorian. She completed a bachelor of science (law/paralegal) degree from Winona State University in Wisconsin, graduating magna cum laude and receiving President’s Honor and WSU Foundation scholarships. Then it was on to Colorado State University, where she completed a master’s in business administration. There, she received the College of Business Leadership Excellence and Academic Distinction award.

Fry took her knowledge and skills into the business world, first to the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce, serving in several leadership roles, then as executive vice president for the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce. After working as assistant director of development for the CSU engineering department, Fry moved on to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, where she first served as director of donor services. In 2006, she became the foundation’s chief operating officer, a role she continues to fill.


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While the nonprofit world was not initially in her career plans, Fry said, “Once I was in, I was hooked. No work day is ever the same as the previous one. There’s always more work to be done, and the impact of nonprofit work on a community is incredibly long-lasting.”

None of the roles she has filled can be considered light duty in any sense, and all require a heavy dose of energy. But Fry, 43, said it comes naturally.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin,” she said, “and I still have farmer’s blood coursing through my veins.”

Mornings are particularly productive for her, she said. “A quick morning walk and some quiet time charge me for the day. I’m a true believer that energy begets energy.”

She also is stimulated by those around her, she said. “I get energized when I’m around others who work really hard, look for the positive in any situation, and do everything they can to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Fry said she loves her work. “It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of an organization that partners with incredibly generous donors to do so much for the benefit of our region.”

She is proud of her accomplishments, but one that stands out happened shortly after she arrived at the Foundation.

“I led the charge to establish an internship program,” she said. “We pay these dedicated students, recognize that they’re a key part of the Community Foundation family, and we generally keep them as a part of our team for two to three years while they’re in college. Some have modified their career paths to specifically pursue nonprofit work. It’s inspiring to play a small role in mentoring and encouraging this next generation of nonprofit leaders.”

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