Rancher, businesswoman and philanthropist Sue Anschutz-Rodgers has made a major gift to the Honoring the Legacy…Building the Future campaign supporting the new National Western Center, and one of the redevelopment’s centerpiece facilities will be named in her honor, the Western Stock Show Association announced Jan. 16.
The new Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Livestock Center will be the hub of all livestock activities and provide multi-use, flexible indoor and outdoor facilities year-round. Those facilities will include a stadium with up to 5,000 seats; a free-span barn; a new junior market barn; an enlarged auction arena; and trade show and retail space, meeting rooms, suites and flexible conference space. It is no overstatement to say that the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Livestock Center will be among the most accommodating—and most-used—on the new National Western Center campus.
Anschutz-Rodgers serves on the board of the Western Stock Show Association, which oversees the National Western Stock Show, and as a vice-chair of the Honoring the Legacy campaign. For decades, she has made concerted efforts to support rural Colorado.
Her participation in a “Philanthropy Day” in Mesa County in 1991 introduced Anschutz-Rodgers to the stark disparity in philanthropic giving between rural and urban areas of the state. Her vision and efforts led to Rural Philanthropy Days, a twice-yearly event to connect urban foundations with rural nonprofits and the communities they serve in eight multi-county regions. By 2017, more than $400 million in grants went to rural Colorado, up from just $3 million two decades prior.
Anschutz-Rodgers is perhaps best known for her philanthropy as trustee, chair of the board, and president of the Anschutz Family Foundation, as well as for her service on many nonprofit boards. But she considers herself a rancher first. She grew up in a Kansas family whose ranching background harked back generations, and she owns and operates Crystal River Ranch, a prominent cattle and hay ranch in Carbondale, which she grew from a single bull and 33 cows in 1987 to a herd of 1,700 today.
“I grew up in the West, and Western heritage has always been a part of my life and who I am,” Anschutz-Rodgers said. “It should be preserved for all.”
In 2006, she was the first woman in her own right to receive National Western’s Citizen of the West award. Anschutz-Rodgers, inducted in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008 and in the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2017, has sought to foster and preserve the ranching way of life in a variety of ways. One of many examples is her key role in establishing and leading the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the prominent advocate and resource for voluntary preservation of ranchland in future generations.
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