$10 Million Gift Gets National Western Fundraising off to Strong Start
Denver philanthropists Cille and Ron Williams provide major gift to the $100 million Honoring the Legacy Campaign; The Yards to be named in their honor.
DENVER, Dec. 12, 2017 – Denver philanthropists Cille and Ron Williams today announced their gift of $10 million to the Western Stock Show Association’s Honoring the Legacy…Building the Future campaign. The campaign supports four major new facilities that will serve as centerpieces of the nearly billion-dollar urban renewal project to reinvigorate and expand today’s National Western Complex into a year-round National Western Center for education, entertainment and agricultural innovation.
The Yards, one of four new National Western Center facilities, will be named in perpetuity in the Williams’s honor. The other three facilities include the Legacy Building, the Equestrian Center, and the Livestock Center.
“Ron and Cille’s gift represents a big step toward making the National Western Center vision a reality,” said Pete Coors, chairman and chief customer relations officer of the Molson Coors Brewing Company, as well as chairman of the $100 million Honoring the Legacy campaign.
Ron Williams, a 2016 inductee into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, is former president and CEO of the Gary-Williams Energy Corporation and a vice-chair of the Honoring the Legacy campaign. “This major, named gift certainly builds the momentum for our campaign, and serves as an inspiration to other donors,” said Coors. “Ron was one of the early advocates of the National Western Center, and today, he and Cille have shown how deeply they believe in this project.”
Williams’s connection to the National Western Stock Show reach back more than a half century, to when he was a high school student in Nebraska.
“My friends and I used to skip school for the Stock Show,” Williams said. “I haven’t missed one since—and it’s been more than 50 years now. I view this as an investment to keep the Stock Show a rewarding destination for another 50 years or longer.”
Added Cille Williams, “We’re both passionate about Western heritage, traditions and culture, and couldn’t be more excited about what the new National Western Center embodies for Denver, the region and beyond.”
The Ron and Cille Williams Yards will represent a major upgrade from the current yards. Rather than today’s fixed pens, the new Yards’ nearly 800 pens will be defined by removable fencing, and the hard surface will make it convertible into space for concerts, events, festivals, or parking for 2,700 vehicles. The Ron and Cille Williams Yards will also include two, 1,000-seat arenas, elevated walkways (including the historic catwalk so familiar to Stock Show visitors) and a 3.8-acre plaza for outdoor displays, vendor booths and exhibits.
In addition to being a past chairman of the Western Stock Show Association, the nonprofit that oversees the National Western Stock Show and the capital campaign, Ron Williams is a longtime board director of Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Children’s Hospital Foundation, where he co-chaired the capital campaign that enabled the creation of the new Children’s Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Pat Grant, chairman of the Western Stock Show Association board, lauded the Williams’s generosity, as well as his friend and collaborator’s vision, adding “Ron’s leadership and wisdom has been indispensable to efforts to reinvent and modernize the Stock Show’s home.”
Paul Andrews, president and CEO Western Stock Show Association, agreed. “The impact of Ron’s work for the National Western can’t be understated,” Andrews said. “This gift is of enormous importance, and emblematic of the positive force he’s been for this organization and the community for many years.”
About the Honoring the Legacy Campaign
The Honoring the Legacy campaign focuses on the creation of four core facilities that will anchor the new National Western Center for the century to come: The Legacy Building, the Yards, the Livestock Center and the Equestrian Center. The expansion and development of these new facilities will greatly enhance the visitor experience, provide the capacity to host a wider array of events throughout the year, and support increased attendance at other National Western Center facilities, both existing and future. The $100 million Honoring the Legacy campaign will provide support for many of the buildings and outdoor spaces needed to help this landmark of the West reach its full potential. For more information, visit honoringthelegacycampaign.com.
About the National Western Center
The new National Western Center represents a visionary transformation of the National Western Complex into a year-round destination that will not only provide a home to the incomparable National Western Stock Show for the next 100 years, but also will expand and enhance this regional asset into a world-class hub for agriculture, education and innovation. For more information, visit www.NationalWesternCenter.com.