Page 5 of 5

Best Cutting-Edge Philanthropy
Tommy Lazio
When Tommy Lazio took a gander at students in Grand County using printed mats to learn their way around a computer keyboard, he was appalled, to say the least. The education professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver was able to strike a deal with a firm that was upgrading and managed to have more than forty used computers sent to the county's modest school district. He's also rounded up software and other equipment and encourages volunteer Metro State students to help teach real computer skills to the Kremmling greenhorns. Enthusiasm apparently feeds the fire--Lazio now has his eye on schools in the San Luis Valley.

Best Charitable Slam Dunk
Walter Tharp
A recent Regis University graduate in communications, Walter Tharp had a dream. Several, to be exact. So he took the nest egg he'd been saving for a trip to Europe and instead hit the road, hoping to attend basketball games in every NBA arena in the country--all while interviewing players for a book and raising money for Boys and Girls Clubs in each city visited. If that sounds like a lot to juggle, it was. Tharp says he was met with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but he did manage--at great expense--to hit all the B-ball cities. And he did get to talk with players. He even managed to raise $3,000 for his chosen cause. Now he's back home in Louisiana, working on that book...and paying his bills.

Best Animal Philanthropist
Cajun the Cat
The Cat Care Society

Cajun, a handsome long-haired orange tabby, somehow manages to look perfectly dignified at all times, even if he's caught wearing a pirate hat or an artist's beret on the Cat Care Society's fundraising greeting cards and calendars. A gentle, leash-trained trooper who originally made his name in local schools and day-care centers as the star of the society's traveling Humane Education program, Cajun has helped thousands of people get in touch with their felines.

end of part 1

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.