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Hitting the Big Time

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Lately, the reputation of Colorado Springs Big Mac mogul-turned-social entrepreneur Steve Bigari (pictured) has become super-sized. First, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce gave him the 2006 Business Citizen of the Year Award. Next, he scored a $250,000 grant from venture philanthropy fund New Profit for his nonprofit America's Family organization. Then, last week, the

Colorado Springs Gazette

published a very flattering


about the "famed entrepreneur," noting that he was "one of McDonald's most successful and innovative owner/operators" and that "what fills his heart this day and every day is the plight of the 39 million working poor in the United States." Finally, as the ultimate toy in Bigari's media-attention Happy Meal, the Sunday, February 4,

New York Times

splashed a detailed


of him on the front page of its business section. The piece maintained that a fast-food business in politically conservative Colorado Springs is an odd incubator for such a forward-thinking social entrepreneur.

But, as Bigari points out, "Westword started it!" To read our take on his strange evolution from burger king to champion of the downtrodden, check out "Mr. Big," "McDogooder," and "Book Him." -- Joel Warner

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.