Thoughts on equity, advocacy, and LiveWell’s mission from our new board chair Barbara Grogan

Barbara Grogan has been a member of LiveWell Colorado’s board of directors since 2015, and recently became its new board chair. She is the founder and former CEO of Western Industrial Contractors, a leading national industrial services and construction company. Throughout her career and since her retirement, Barbara has been deeply involved in the local philanthropic community, working for many causes and advocating for public policies, especially those that focus on improving wellness and educational opportunities for children and young adults. We sat down with Barbara to learn more about her passion for this work and her vision for the future.

What led you to join LiveWell’s board of directors?

My focus in life and philanthropy has always been on child development, from prenatal through college. Nutrition and physical activity are critical for our bodies and brains to grow, so it’s a precursor to success in all areas of life. When children don’t get enough healthy food or exercise, it sets them back in life and sometimes that harm is irreparable. LiveWell’s original vision for improving the health of Colorado kids and families through healthy eating and active living was very well-aligned with my lifelong commitment to children’s causes, so it seemed liked a natural fit.

LiveWell recently announced its evolved mission and vision statements, values, and goals. As you step into the role of board chair, what’s at the top of your mind as the organization moves forward?

I’m very excited about who we are and where we’re at as an organization. The revised mission and vision statements represent LiveWell’s continued focus on the impact we want to have and where we want to have it. It’s so important for organizations to be clear about what they do, who they do it with and for, and whether they’re succeeding. I think that’s where LiveWell is at right now, and I am thrilled with our deepened focus and our commitment to health equity in particular.

Why is an equity lens so important to the work of LiveWell and the broader social justice movement?

Equity is such an important word in our country right now. There are tremendous disparities in access to food, health, and education, so LiveWell’s focus on access is more critical than ever. It’s really the way the world should work—with that kind of equity lens driving society. If we can’t commit to leaving no one behind in a country as wealthy and wonderful as ours, then what are we even doing here?

What is the role of public policy and advocacy for this work?

I believe successful civilizations either thrive because the majority of people are politically engaged, or fall because too many are divided, marginalized, and disengaged. So right now it’s imperative for every one of us to stand up for our values and be active participants in the future of our communities, schools, state, and nation.