The Colorado Independent,2020
All Right Reserved.
Damian Thorman, president
Damian is the son of a newspaper publisher and former Knight Foundation executive who has a deep passion and commitment to journalism. Damian has held leadership positions in all three branches of government, higher education and the nonprofit sector. He was director of the White House Social Innovation Fund during the Obama administration and was a congressional aide for the U.S House Education and Labor Committee where he drafted landmark early education legislation. As a former prosecutor, he led efforts to strengthen and innovate to increase the collection of child support and expand programs that kept fathers engaged in their children's lives. As the Chief Innovation Officer for the nation's largest college, he developed innovative programs to provide new pathways to higher education for low-income students. Damian also serves on the Metro State University Community Advisory Board.
Melissa Milios Davis, secretary
Melissa is a former journalist and now Vice President for Strategic Communications and Informed Communities at the Gates Family Foundation. She also serves as Acting Director for the Colorado Media Project, which Gates helped to launch in 2018 in partnership with the University of Denver, business and community partners, and local and national funders. Melissa earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in journalism followed by a decade working professionally as a journalist in print, digital, and public radio. She also has over a decade of experience in nonprofit and government communications, public policy, fundraising, and management. At Gates she manages the foundation’s journalism portfolio and partnerships, and works with peers and grantees to bring greater visibility to the issues of equitable public education, sustainable natural resources, and vibrant communities. She also currently serves on the leadership team for ComNetworkDENVER.
Jill Farschman, treasurer
Jill gained her first experience in journalism as calendar editor and publicist for a San Francisco-based performing arts magazine. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech communication, Jill enjoyed a fulfilling career as an adjunct college professor and non-profit leader. She then held communications, training and organizational development positions at several fast-growth companies. Until recently, Jill and husband Jay published the award-winning community newspapers Life on Capitol Hill and Washington Park Profile.