New CEO named for Catholic Charities of Denver

Catholic Charities of Denver announced Wednesday that Darren A. Walsh, an experienced executive in diverse industries and a leader in mission-driven Catholic organizations, is its new president and chief executive officer.

Walsh brings 30 years of executive experience in building and managing financial services and technology companies, as well as a deep commitment to his Catholic faith and faith-based apostolates. He will take the helm of Catholic Charities in late August.

“It’s a privilege and honor to step into and lead Catholic Charities of Denver and help build the future of an organization that provides vital charitable work in the community,” Walsh said. “Catholic Charities of Denver has a stellar reputation around the country for being exceptional and innovative in serving the poor and those in need. I look forward to applying my gifts and charisms to lead the organization and reinforce the excellent work that is already occurring.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver expressed his wholehearted support for his appointment.

“I am very happy to welcome Mr. Darren Walsh as the new CEO of Catholic Charities,” Archbishop Aquila said. “He has a deep faith, a love for the poor, and a wealth of experience that will assist the Archdiocese of Denver in this vital ministry.”

Catholic Charities has been led the previous two months by Amparo García, the acting president and CEO. García will assist Walsh through a transition. She will remain on the board of Catholic Charities, where she has served since mid-2017.

“I look forward to working with Darren over the next month and a half as he transitions into his new position,” García said. “I will provide support for him as well as to staff and our contributors. It’s been an honor to serve as the interim CEO during this transition. I’ve been so moved by the goodness and passion of the people at Catholic Charities, and I’m blessed to continue its mission by serving on the board.”

Walsh is the chief operating officer of the Augustine Institute based in Greenwood Village. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Mass. He began his career with Kenan Systems, rising to become Global Vice President of Operations and Services prior to the company’s sale to Lucent Technologies, where he also became a Global Vice President. He later held senior level positions with CSG Systems and Comverse before becoming President of OppenheimerFunds Services from 2007 to 2014. He became chief operating officer of the Augustine Institute in September 2015.

Walsh believes that his new role at Catholic Charities is a complement to his service at the Augustine Institute, whose mission is to help Catholics understand, live, and share their faith.

“It is exciting to have been involved with forming Catholics for the New Evangelization at the Augustine Institute and to now work with so many talented people at Catholic Charities to foster and grow its corporal works of mercy,” he said.

Augustine Institute President Tim Gray said, “I’m thrilled for the Archdiocese of Denver to benefit from Darren’s immense experience and talents, as we have here at the Augustine Institute for the past three years. I’m also very happy for Darren, who has been of tremendous service to me, as I know he has a heart for the poor and will be a terrific leader at Catholic Charities.”

Walsh is also the chairman of the board of Arrupe Jesuit High School, which provides economically disadvantaged students a college preparatory education. He previously served on the Seeds of Hope finance committee. He is a parishioner at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, where he previously served on the parish council.

He and his wife, Julia, live in Greenwood Village with their three sons who attend Regis Jesuit High School. An avid sports enthusiast, Walsh enjoys cycling, traveling and reading.

About Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver

Catholic Charities has served the Denver community since 1927 and now serves tens of thousands of people each year throughout northern Colorado in seven ministries: Marisol Services; Early Childhood Education; Shelter Services; Archdiocesan Housing; St. Raphael Counseling; Family, Kinship, and Senior Services; and Parish and Community Relations. Catholic Charities serves those in need with the help of hundreds of volunteers and through collaboration with Catholic parishes, other Christian churches, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, medical facilities and educational institutions. Learn more at

COMING UP: Catholic Charities CEO steps down, interim named

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Catholic Charities CEO steps down, interim named

Larry Smith helped to expand organization’s services greatly in five-year tenure

Larry Smith stepped down as President and CEO of Catholic Charities June 1 after an impressive five-year tenure with the organization. Replacing Smith as interim CEO is Amparo Garcia, who has served on the board of Catholic Charities since June 2017 and brings seasoned experience as a business executive to her role.

“Larry was a fantastic leader over the past five years, and we are grateful for his service,” Garcia said in a statement introducing herself as the interim CEO. “His impact in our community was significant, and he will be greatly missed.”

Smith was hired in 2013 and under his leadership, Catholic Charities was able to greatly expand the vast repertoire of services it offers to those in need, as well as become more of a staple of faith and charity in the local Catholic community.

“One of Larry’s mantras was ‘We can serve more of those in need,’ and he led Catholic Charites to do just that; he leaves a great legacy of faith in action that will guide Catholic Charities for years to come!” expressed Wayne Wolberg, Chief Financial Officer for Catholic Charities of Denver.

Highlights of Smith’s contributions to Catholic Charities include the launch of Marisol Health, expanded operations of the organization, and the conversion of the former Samaritan House men’s emergency overnight shelter into Denver’s first women’s homeless shelter. Catholic Charities expanded its services under Smith and now provides support through seven ministries including women’s health, shelter services, housing, early childhood education, family and senior services, parish and community relations and counseling services.

Amparo Garcia, board member for Catholic Charities for one year and parishioner of Holy Ghost Parish, has been named the interim CEO of Catholic Charities. (Photo Provided)

By providing comprehensive programmatic assistance, Catholic Charities fosters a structure for success to northern Colorado’s underprivileged. Donor Brent Osland explained that “Catholic Charities looks to give a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘handout’ so I feel that my contribution goes to teach sustainability and not just to provide one day’s meal.”

In a letter to benefactors, leadership from the Archdiocese of Denver praised Smith’s contributions to Catholic Charities and his integrity as president. “Larry Smith has been the face of Catholic Charities for half a decade and has worked tirelessly to promote its mission across northern Colorado,” the Archdiocese wrote. “[He] provided dynamic leadership … and fostered strong relationship with donors, government officials, civic organizations and the broader community.

“Larry Smith led Catholic Charities with a clear and articulate vision and a vibrant focus on our Catholic faith,” said Tom Wanzeck, Vice President of Operations for Catholic Charities of Denver.

As interim CEO, Garcia will continue to direct the great work carried out by Catholic Charities on a daily basis – none of which would be possible without its staff, and most importantly, its donors. Under Smith’s direction, donors from across the diocese jumped in to support the ministries and programs of Catholic Charities. Donations from Catholics and non-Catholics alike have totaled over $12 million in the current fiscal year.

“It is a privilege to steward funds from generous donors knowing that their support empowers the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Andrew Schaefer, Director of Development for the Archdiocese of Denver.

Echoing Schaefer’s sentiments, Catholic Charities donor Rich Todd added, “The Church does so much for the poor through Catholic Charities. We don’t ask them if they are Catholic before providing care, Catholic Charities serves them because we represent the Church of Jesus Christ and they need our help.”

Catholic Charities is in the midst of a comprehensive search to replace Smith as the President and CEO. “Given his charisma, vision and strong connections around the community, finding someone to replace Larry Smith will not be easy,” said Keith Parsons, Chief Financial Officer for the archdiocese.