Sue Renner, Executive Director
Sue oversees the grant making and operations for the Merage Foundation, and is spearheading the development of the Foundation’s Early Learning Ventures initiative to increase the stability and productivity of Colorado’s ECE sector through market-based interventions. Prior to joining the Merage Foundation in 2006, Sue was the Executive Director of Early Childhood Connections, a nonprofit corporation providing early intervention supports and services to over 1,000 infants and toddlers and their families each year in the Denver-metro region. Sue also worked as a Senior Program Manager with the Colorado Office of Resource and Referral Agencies where she was responsible for launching Colorado’s T.E.A.C.H. program, a public-private venture to provide early care and education professionals with college scholarships.
Sue’s experience includes volunteer leadership roles with several community development, family support and early care and education organizations. In her tenure as President of the Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council she established several new initiatives including the Developmental Surveillance Project, a successful venture to engage pediatricians and parents in the early identification of developmental delays. Ms. Renner received her BS in Human Development from California Polytechnic University, and her MS in Child and Family Development from Colorado State University.
Judy Williams, Program Director
Judy is overseeing the launch of Early Learning Ventures Alliances in Colorado. She works directly with these new Alliances to develop the business plan, start-up operations, and implement the ELVA model. Prior to joining the David and Laura Merage Foundation she owned and operated successful private drop-in childcare centers in the Denver metro area; providing high quality early care and education to thousands of children and families. Judy is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a B.S. in Nursing. Judy also served as an Officer in the United States Army and has worked as a nursing instructor, a staff supervisor, and as a consultant in a variety of settings in the industry.
Zerrel Appel, Technology Project Manager
Zerrel works with Early Learning Ventures and is responsible for all aspects of technology as it relates to ELV projects. Zerrel is managing the development of the Early Learning Ventures Technology Resources, which is changing the way the Early Care and Education Industry does business. These resources include the ELV Platform and Alliance CORE, which are both critical components to the seamless work of an Early Learning Ventures Alliance. Additionally, Zerrel is responsible for the administration of The Merage Foundation database and he been the lead on the redesign of the Merage Foundation website and the newly redesigned Early Learning Ventures website. Prior to joining the Early Learning Ventures team, Zerrel worked as the Help Desk Administrator for Republic Financial Corporation, an investment and private equity firm in Aurora. He also spent time at Vail Resorts Inc. and Sun Microsystems working on numerous technology projects. Zerrel holds a B.S. in Information Systems Security from the Westwood College of Technology in Denver.
In addition to the five associates who work directly for the Early Learning Ventures, Consolidated Investment Group, an investment company founded by David Merage, offers an extensive in-kind support network. Consolidated provides a vast range of professional services to the Foundation team including accounting, human resources, legal and marketing, among others. This partnership allows the Foundation’s operating expenses to be kept at a minimum; therefore concentrating Foundation resources on program development and activities.