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Frances Owens is the 2012 recipient of the Invisible Disabilities Association Volunteer Honors Award. Frances was chosen based upon her lifelong long passionate volunteerism with multiple charities serving people living daily with illness and disability as well as for those recovering from tragedy. Frances’ current work with Developmental Pathways and the HeartLight Center is inspiring. Her volunteerism with Anchor Center for the Blind, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Autism Society of Colorado, Women’s heart health, and Denver Health’s Newborns in Need is an example to be modeled.

Frances became First Lady of Colorado on January 12, 1999. A native of Colorado, she spent much of her childhood in Texas, but returned to Colorado to receive a degree in Art History from the University of Colorado at Denver.

As first lady, Frances volunteered her time to many charitable organizations and projects throughout the State of Colorado, some of which include Samaritan’s Purse-Operation Christmas Child, the Colorado Historical Society and Habitat for Humanity. The former first lady chaired the Colorado Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission for Colorado’s quarter which was released in the summer of 2006.

Frances served as Honorary Chair for Early Intervention Awareness Day for eight years. She continues to champion efforts to encourage early intervention for children with developmental disabilities. Frances was actively involved with literacy and children’s programs throughout Colorado.

For six years, Mrs. Owens oversaw the privately funded long-term project of renovating and restoring the Governor’s Executive Residence which was originally constructed in 1908. Extensive renovations of the carriage house and lower gardens were completed in 2005.

Mrs. Owens is a seasoned veteran of political campaigns, beginning her career campaigning for former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong in the late 1970’s, as well as serving on Senator Armstrong’s House and Senate staffs.  She also served as Associate Director of the Colorado Council on Economic Education.

Currently, Frances serves as the Vice President for Community Affairs for a local consulting company, Galloway Group, helping to forge strategic partnerships in the Denver community. She continues to be very active as a volunteer for several local nonprofits. And she serves on the board of directors for St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, The Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund and HeartLight Center.