The Foundation was originally established in 1965 to purchase a house for the first president of the University. In its early years, the Foundation functioned with informal bylaws and meetings "as needed." Following a period of dormancy during the 1970s, the Foundation resurfaced and developed the first set of formal bylaws.
In 1986, the Foundation began to define itself as an organization dedicated to promoting the University in the community and to raise funds for University departments, programs, and student scholarships. Each successive board has moved the Foundation toward greater prominence in University activities and within the Denver community. As the University has matured, so has the Foundation. Although it began as a board composed primarily of University alumni, the Foundation has grown to include community leaders, heads of foundations and CEOs from the most celebrated businesses in Colorado.