That all Colorado youth and families have opportunities to thrive.
To invest in people, programs and movements that benefit Colorado's youth and families.
Compassion, Humility and Learning
We recognize we are neither the experts nor the authority on the issues we work on, and we enter every partnership and conversation with compassion, humility and in the spirit of learning.
Respect and Trust
We respect and trust our colleagues, partners and the communities we serve and recognize them as the experts on their experiences.
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
In pursuit of equity, we honor and value diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds and are committed to inclusive practices to ensure decisions are made and informed by diverse colleagues, partners and communities.
We are committed to prioritizing positive social impact as well as financial return across our investments to support the communities we serve wherever possible.
Named after three of her grandmothers, Alece is hardwired to advance a more just, creative, and abundant future for everyone, especially communities that have been minoritized and whose voices have been ignored or silenced. As a teen mom who dropped out of high school then went on to be the first in her family to complete college with a master’s degree, Alece is honored to bring her life experiences and professional skills to the esteemed work of the AJL Foundation. She deeply understands the power in authentically bridging community and philanthropy to create people-centered change and she has lifted that change up on various boards and committees she’s served on including The Funders Network, PLACES Fellowship, Philanthropy Colorado, and more. She deeply respects the integrity of what John and Amy built with the AJL Foundation and the legacy their family carries on today.
Alece has served community throughout her entire career including city and county planning, Air Force planning, a large urban school district, and was an original developer of and instrumental in scaling up Community Heart & Soul, a rural community building model now being implemented in over 100 towns across the US. She holds a bachelor’s degree from CU Boulder in Environmental Design, Urban Planning with two minors, Sustainable Environments and Human Geography and a master’s from CU Denver in Public Administration with an emphasis on Environmental Policy, Management, and Law. She is a proud recipient of numerous awards ranging from The Gift of Life from a local fire department to Core Value from the International Association of Public Participation. Alece has been a speaker and panelist at many conferences ranging from the American Planning Association, Aspen Ideas Festival, Grantmakers in Health, Rural Philanthropy Days, and more.
As Executive Director of the AJL Foundation, Kristi recognizes that working within philanthropy is a privilege and responsibility. She is honored and committed to ensuring John and Amy’s spirit of philanthropy lives on by investing in people, programs and movements that benefit Colorado's youth and families while also acknowledging and addressing the contradictions and power dynamics inherent to philanthropy. Kristi previously served as Grants Manager for the AJL Foundation and is personally passionate about holding herself and AJL accountable to the communities we serve and the triple bottom line - people, planet and profit. She serves on the steering committees for Colorado Funders for Inclusiveness and Equity and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and on the Board of Directors for Philanthropy Colorado.
Prior to working in philanthropy Kristi worked for marketing agencies in Denver, Los Angeles and Madrid specializing in digital and print marketing, public relations and events planning for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 300 companies across the nonprofit, tech, consumer goods, healthcare and aerospace industries. She also spent time as a freelance writer and intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a travel guide in Ecuador and various other online and print outlets. Kristi holds a master's degree in Journalism and a bachelor's degree in Marketing both from the University of Colorado - Boulder.
As Community Investments Manager of AJL Foundation, Dianne understands the impact and importance of her voice in a traditionally white space. Dianne's passion is within the realm of equity. Her goal is to ensure that all stakeholders' voices are heard, honored, and respected. Dianne spent the early part of her career in HR as a teen mom. She focused her efforts on not being a statistic and giving her two children access. She says that her life has prepared her for the roles she has today as the Community Investments Manager for AJL and the owner of Dope Mom Life, a creative content agency that specializes in diversity marketing. Dianne grew up understanding there were two worlds. The world she lived in with her mom on the north end of town where there was access to wealth and opportunity and the other world on the south side with her dad, where access, resources, and opportunities were limited. Dianne understands that the only way to create a world for all to thrive, more specifically, non-white communities is to recreate systems that were created to oppress. Dianne is a graduate of Emily Griffith and Community College of Aurora, where she studied video production and editing, as well as entrepreneurship.
Having spent most of her life between the Middle East and the United States, Allia has experienced a multitude of cultures throughout her life. She appreciates the multidimensionality of humanity in that no person has a singular identity, or a singular experience. Her identity as being both Kuwaiti and American, and having family and friends all over the world, has taught her how to navigate cultures as part of both the in-group and out. She has taken her lived experiences with her into her studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she is expected to graduate in May 2023 with an interdisciplinary dual degree. Allia is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Middle Eastern and African Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Arabic Studies.
Allia is a highly motivated and adaptable individual who is passionate about intentional anti-racism work; using her voice and experiences to make real and tangible change within the spaces she occupies. She has seeked out opportunities that allow her to fulfill her passions, some of which include working as the Non-Traditional Student Liaison at CU’s Student Government, and founding the Non-Traditional Student Organization on campus. She spent Fall 2022 working as a fellow for YouthRoots, where she was paired with AJL Foundation. Through this experience, she discovered her passion in philanthropy and human-centered work and hopes to continue this work as Community Investments Coordinator at AJL Foundation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Darrell Schulte is owner of DJS Financial Solutions, LLC, which is a commercial loan broker company specializing in creating strategies for business success. Prior to that he was Sr. VP and Senior Business Development Officer of CoBiz Private Bank, a bank dedicated to assisting high net worth individuals with all their investment needs. Previously he served for 30 years as President of Colorado Business Bank of Littleton. As a business leader during this time, he served on numerous civic and non-profit organizations that provided services to a wide array of clients. He actively gives back to the community with his involvement in the many programs and projects for youth by the Littleton Optimist Club. Darrell's terms are 9/22/2022 - 9/22/2025.
Amy & John Lawton
The AJL Foundation was established on March 17, 2011 by Amy S. and John E. Lawton.
Philanthropy is part of the heritage of the Lawton family that has been passed down through the generations. The Lawton family has given freely to charities, groups and the community where such gifts provided support for those in need and never had an expectation of receiving anything in return other than the knowledge that it had given back to others.
They believed every person deserves respect and the opportunity to be empowered to improve his or her life.
It has been the philosophy of the Founders to offer a hand-up, rather than a hand-out. In order to continue the Lawton family’s philosophy and beliefs in philanthropy, AJL Foundation was created to invest in the people, programs and movements that benefit Colorado's youth and families.