The Idea Changes the World


From this unprecedented gathering of people from all stripes of life, whose ideas, concerns and energies informed the early vision of oilman and philanthropist Sam Gary, a new group emerged. This group—funded by an unprecedented collection of 26 foundations, businesses and individuals and led by a board of 13—called their organization The Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation. ​Its quest was to maximize the benefits of redevelopment of Denver’s Stapleton Airport for the people of Denver. In March of 1995, the Foundation, together with the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB), the Stapleton Tomorrow Committee, and the City and County of Denver, mapped out its dreams, plans and strategies in a document officially named the Stapleton Development Plan. Bound in recycled green coverstock, it soon earned the nickname “The Green Book.” ​The Foundation, its community partners and the ideas in the book were called Visionary. Utopian. Even potentially Disastrous. ​But today—20+ years later—what you will find in and around those 4,700 acres of old Stapleton is nothing short of miraculous: thousands of jobs created, countless new businesses, homes and apartments for every income level, chart-topping schools, acclaimed parks and open space, innovative sustainability programs and health and wellness programs that connect new and old communities. Truly, the reality of Stapleton today is, as The Green Book predicted two decades ago, “a model for addressing the economic and social needs of people while respecting the natural world.” Of course, it’s not perfect. Much remains to be done, changed, and created. And that’s where The Stapleton Foundation of today is hard at work. 

The redevelopment vision, known as the “Green Book,” was approved by former Mayor Wellington E. Webb and Denver City Council in 1995 and laid out four principles to guide redevelopment: Healthy Living, Lifelong Learning, Neighborhood Connections and Sustainable Development. 

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