Denver Human Services Executive Director Stepping Down

Published on December 17, 2021

Mares, appointed in 2015, closes on seven years of service at department

DENVER – Denver Human Services (DHS) Executive Director Don Mares announced today he will be stepping down as head of the state’s largest human services department after nearly seven years of service. Mares will continue as Executive Director until the end of January 2022, where he will then transition to the interim President and Chief Executive Officer of The Colorado Trust, a foundation dedicated to creating fair and equal opportunities for Coloradans to lead healthy lives.

Mares was appointed Executive Director by Mayor Michael B. Hancock in July 2015. He was also named Deputy Mayor by Mayor Hancock in 2016 and 2021. Prior to serving as Executive Director of DHS, the Mayor appointed Mares to serve as the head of the city’s Office of Behavioral Health Strategies in 2015, and he was previously elected to two terms as Denver’s Auditor from 1995 to 2003.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the community and staff of Denver Human Services,” Mares said. “This hasn’t been an easy decision, but I am beyond thankful for everyone who has come along with me on this journey. We have built strong leadership at the department, and I truly believe we have all made a difference in the lives of the Denverites we serve.”

“In the more than 20 years I’ve known Don, he’s always been focused on doing what’s right for our city and Denver families,” Mayor Hancock said. “Under his leadership, he has revitalized Denver Human Services’ vision to ensure all people are connected, supported, safe and well. Perhaps my proudest moment in working with Don has been witnessing him spearhead a multi-agency effort to strengthen the child safety net for unsafe kids by improving coordination between safety net agencies and cultivating the agency’s outreach into communities. While I’m sad to see him leave the city team, I couldn’t be more excited for Don to take on this next adventure, and I know we will remain connected in that work.”


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