Medal of Excellence Finalists Receive Nearly Half a Million Dollars at Daniels Fund Inaugural Salute to Excellence Event

Over 500 guests gathered for the Daniels Fund’s inaugural Salute to Excellence celebrating grantees that exemplify the highest standards of excellence in leadership and impact. The event awarded the inaugural Medal of Excellence and a total of $450,000 between three exceptional finalists.

Step Denver CEO Paul Scudo accepts the Medal of Excellence from Daniels Fund President & CEO Hanna Skandera at the inaugural Salute to Excellence hosted by the Daniels Fund at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The Daniels Fund awarded Step Denver its prestigious Medal of Excellence, a $250,000 prize to honor excellence in nonprofit work and support the organization’s addiction recovery and homelessness programs, at its inaugural Salute to Excellence event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

The event recognized the work of three top-performing grantees: Climb Wyoming, Gold Crown Foundation, and Step Denver. Each advanced pioneering solutions and demonstrated community impact aligned with the Daniels Fund’s mission and founder Bill Daniels’ legacy.

“All three finalists impact our communities tremendously, and we’re confident Bill would be both humbled and thrilled to witness their transformative effects,” said Daniels Fund President and CEO Hanna Skandera. “Bill was very open about his struggle with alcohol addiction and embraced sobriety after seeking treatment,” added Skandera. “So, we’re pleased to support Step Denver’s effective approach to recovery, teaching men to live with integrity and hold each other accountable while getting their lives back on track.”

Step Denver is a residential addiction recovery program that offers men with nowhere else to turn the opportunity to rebuild their lives through sobriety, work, accountability, and community. Over the last three years, Step Denver served nearly 1,000 men, and program alumni reported the following outcomes: 80% sustained sobriety, 84% currently employed, and 91% independently housed.

“We are deeply honored to receive the Daniels Fund Medal of Excellence,” said Step Denver CEO Paul Scudo. “We are humbled that the Daniels Fund would recognize Step’s alignment with the values of Bill Daniels and are grateful for the Daniels Fund’s support in our mission.”

Medal of Excellence finalists Climb Wyoming and Gold Crown Foundation each received $100,000 to advance their work in the areas of job training and support for single mothers, and youth sports and enrichment, respectively.

The awards, totaling $450,000, are in addition to funding support the Daniels Fund has given to each organization over the past several years as longstanding grantees. The Daniels Fund has distributed more than $1 billion in grants and scholarships throughout its nearly 25-year history.