Denise Hoffman White – Board Chair & Founder
During Ms. Hoffman White’s entire career she has understood the importance of meaningful community involvement. In 2004, Ms. Hoffman White joined the Board of Directors of Family Tree, a Colorado based nonprofit organization where her dedication and leadership resulted in her nomination as Board Chair in 2009 and 2010. In 2010 she was asked to join the Board of Directors of the Colorado Garden Show, Inc., a nonprofit solely committed to providing college scholarships and grants in Colorado.
Inspired by the difference she was able to make through her volunteer service with Colorado Garden Show and Family Tree, in January 2012 Ms. Hoffman White identified her personal dream to make a greater impact. That dream turned into a plan: form a nonprofit organization that serves as a vehicle to propel young people toward their personal success through increased opportunities for higher education.
Nine months later, on October 18, 2012, the IRS granted 501(c)(3) status to CHOICE Education Foundation. Through CHOICE, Ms. Hoffman White can fulfill her mission to empower students from low-income households who share her dual passions for education and service to community.
Ms. Hoffman White earned her J.D. cum laude in 2000 from California Western School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University in 2001. In her law practice Ms. Hoffman White has extensive experience in the area of tax-exempt organizations and also represents individual and organizational clients in all aspects of tax planning.
S. Kato Crews
Mr. Crews is a highly respected attorney, community leader, and ambassador for diversity and inclusiveness. Throughout his career he has sought out meaningful ways to give back to his community. The Governor appointed Mr. Crews to serve a four-year term on the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees in December 2014. For several years he served on the Executive Committee of the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training (COBALT) Program. He has also served on the Board of Directors of some of Colorado’s most noteworthy non-profit organizations, including the Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region, Inc., and Colorado Humanities. He currently volunteers on the board of the CHOICE Education Foundation and the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF), and volunteers as a mentor with the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP).
In addition to these formal volunteer roles, Mr. Crews is personally committed to mentoring minority students and young people to help them navigate their educational and professional paths. He has done this in a variety of ways, such as presenting to classes of high school students from the Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, Inc. on the subject of personal integrity and the concept of developing your personal “brand” as a means of aiding a path to success, and general and informal mentoring. Mr. Crews frequently makes himself available to meet with young men and women that seek out his guidance and counsel as they make important life decisions. He embodies the idea of “Each One, Teach One.”
Madalyn McElwain – Secretary
As a recent law school graduate and passionate community activist, Ms. McElwain provides dual perspectives that benefit CHOICE’s mission and activities. Her recent graduate school experience is invaluable in the review and analysis of the criteria associated with scholarship awards to particular schools and programs. Ms. McElwain’s passion for, and dedication to, community activism provides a positive perspective as CHOICE works with our scholarship recipients to develop their community service plan and to later mentor and shape each recipient’s individual future endeavors.
Kelly Tyrer – Vice-Chair
As a mother of two school aged children and as a professional educator, Ms. Tyrer has a clear firsthand understanding of the issues plaguing the public education system in the State of Colorado. These hurdles frustrate the path for many students as they try to pursue the greater opportunities afforded through higher education. Ms. Tyrer’s passion for educating students and her experiential expertise allow her to effectively serve as CHOICE’s Vice Chair and public school liaison.
Ms. Vielma was born in Colorado, the daughter of a native Coloradoan and a Mexican immigrant who both worked as farm laborers. While growing up and also laboring in the fields during the summers, Ms. Vielma realized that a college education would be the only way to truly create options for her future and her family. When they moved to Mexico during her sophomore year of high school, her dreams of college were set back. Two years later, upon her return to Colorado, Ms. Vielma obtained a GED, worked for a few years to help support her family, and eventually went to Eastern Idaho Technical College, where she earned an associate degree in legal assistant studies. While working full time as a legal assistant and consistently engaging in community service, after 7 years she earned a B.A. in Psychology and Management, taking as many classes as she could afford at a time. Wanting to set an example for her nieces and nephews that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance, and that higher education is truly the key to creating endless opportunities for one’s own future and for broader community service, she went on to earn a law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis at the age of 37.
In many ways, the stories of CHOICE scholarship applicants are similar to Ms. Vielma’s story. Those similar experiences, her non-traditional educational path, and her life-long commitment to community service and education provide Ms. Vielma with a distinct perspective and opportunity to serve as a mentor to CHOICE recipients and as a resource to their parents. A public servant at heart, Ms. Vielma has served as a Law Clerk, Deputy and Sr. Deputy District Attorney, and is currently an Assistant County Attorney in Adams County, Colorado.
Mychael Dave dedicates his wealth of courtroom experience and conflict resolution skills to the practice of family law and criminal law. Before joining Hoffman Crews Nies Waggener & Foster LLP, he was a named partner in one of Colorado’s most established and respected family law firms. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Dave was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Denver, Colorado, where he was assigned to specialized units for the majority of his prosecuting career, including the Family Violence Unit and the Gang Unit. Mr. Dave has litigated high profile sexual assault, child abuse, and murder cases. His trial acumen was demonstrated on national television in a 2003 ABC documentary.
Mr. Dave was a member of his law school’s National Institute of Trial Advocacy trial team in 1996 and 1997. His team was invited to the Tournament of Champions in 1997 based on their competition success. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Dave counseled at-risk youth and their families as a licensed social worker in the state of Ohio. His social-work background greatly enhances his effectiveness during the course of settlement negotiations. He is able to work towards win-win solutions with the comfort of knowing his true expertise is in trial advocacy.
Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Dave is a highly involved community volunteer and leader. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the CHOICE Education Foundation, where he helps to steward the organization in its awarding of need-based, full-ride scholarships to deserving Colorado high school seniors. He also volunteers his time as a Facilitator and Youth Mentor to the young men and women of the Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, Inc., where he presents on the subject of personal integrity and the concept of developing your personal “brand” as a means of aiding a path to success.
Anna-Liisa Mullis has long been passionate about fundraising for scholarships to allow students to pursue higher education. While an undergraduate at first Colorado State University and then University of Colorado, Ms. Mullis worked in the fundraising arms of each university. Upon graduating from University of Colorado, Ms. Mullis continued to work in fundraising at the CU Foundation. Ms. Mullis is delighted to again have the opportunity to support the dreams of high school students of being able to attend college through her work with CHOICE Education Foundation. Ms. Mullis strongly believes that all students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
Ms. Mullis earned her J.D. in 2011. In her law practice, Ms. Mullis focuses on health care law, and she has represented health care professionals and organizations in a broad variety of litigation, regulatory compliance, and patient privacy matters.
Mr. Le is a founding partner of 3iLaw and focuses his practice in the areas of trusts and estates, probate, corporate, wealth and tax strategies. Mr. Le earned his B.A. from the Colorado College in 2000, a J.D. from the University of Denver in 2004, and recently went back to DU to receive his L.L.M. (Masters in Taxation) in 2013.