Career of Accomplishments

Growing up in some of Denver’s toughest neighborhoods, Michael’s vision for a better tomorrow has always been fueled by a fierce commitment to community. As City Council president, CEO of the Urban League or head of a foundation, Michael has proven himself as a strong leader, skillful problem-solver and inclusive consensus-builder. He believes that together, because we are all Denver, we can build on our past and create an even greater world-class city for the future.

City Council

The people of northeast Denver’s diverse and fast-growing District 11 first elected Michael to the City Council in 2003. Now in his second term, Michael served for two years as Council president and has driven initiatives to create private-sector jobs, improve public safety, reform schools, strengthen neighborhoods and balance the city’s budget. He has:

  • Led efforts to support businesses and expand economic opportunities citywide, including downtown, at Denver International Airport and Stapleton.
  • Helped initiate statewide innovative-schools legislation, after-school programs and the Denver Pre-School Program, which are ensuring that Denver’s youngsters get off to a smart start in life.
  • Guided the Better Denver neighborhood improvement program – nearly 300 projects and thousands of jobs in every part of Denver!
  • Strengthened neighborhoods by ensuring fair and equitable services and facilities such as libraries, rec centers, road repairs, police protection and trash collection.
  • Helped create the Office of Independent Monitor to oversee public safety officers.
  • Fought to end the foreclosure crisis by aggressively addressing predatory lending schemes and mortgage fraud.

Urban League of Metropolitan Denver

Michael joined the Urban League in 1995 as program director at a time when the economic-empowerment and civil-rights organization was struggling. Michael rose through the ranks, developing a strategic plan, overseeing day-to-day operations and leading fundraising efforts. He became executive vice president, interim president and then president in 1999.

At 29 years old, Michael was the youngest leader of an Urban League chapter anywhere in America. He turned around an organization that lacked focus, relevance or a strategy. He developed a talented staff, created a nationally recognized and award-winning job-training program, and built private-sector partnerships with companies like Qwest, Comcast and AT&T.

A Career of Accomplishments

  • In 2004, Michael helped establish the Foundation for the Next Frontier. This nonprofit organization raises private funds to support neighborhoods and other charitable organizations, improve residents’ quality of life and expand educational and economic opportunities.
  • Michael and former Colorado Senate President Peter Groff co-authored “Standing in the Gap: Leadership for the 21st Century,” a 2004 guidebook that provides insight and instruction for future leaders in politics, government and civics.
  • In the early 1990s, Michael started his career at the Denver Housing Authority and the National Civic League. At DHA, Michael designed, implemented and oversaw the first-ever athletic, cultural and leadership-training programs for 11,000 inner-city kids living in public housing. At the National Civic League, Michael worked with the late John Parr helping communities, nonprofits and other clients craft and enact strategic plans to solve economic and budget challenges and increase civic participation.
  • Michael graduated from Denver’s Manual High School in 1987. He was class president his first three years, statewide student council president as a junior, and Manual Head Boy as a senior. Michael graduated from Hastings College in Nebraska in 1991 with honors and a degree in political science. Every summer he came home to Denver and worked in then-Mayor Federico Peña office. Michael earned his master’s degree in public administration management from CU-Denver in 1995.