Fran Campbell has been a volunteer, advisor and leader in the Denver APIA community for nearly 30 years
Fran Campbell has been a volunteer, advisor and leader in the Denver APIA community for nearly 30 years

By Patricia Kaowthumrong | Asian Avenue magazine

Fran Campbell didn’t decide to join the Filipino-American community, she was born into it. The Denver native has been a volunteer, advisor and leader in the Denver APIA community for nearly 30 years.

“My parents have been members of the Filipino-American Colorado Community (FACC) since before I was born, so it’s always been part of my life,” Campbell says. “The FACC is my home—and my school. The skills that I use in all my volunteer positions I learned at the FACC: leadership, public speaking and volunteerism.

Campbell is senior clinical support at Jefferson Center for Mental Health and serves on the Cultural Competency Task force as APIA Community Liaison. She has served as commissioner on the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission for the past six years.

“I am ecstatically proud and privileged to serve on this commission,” said Campbell, who was appointed to the position by former Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Denver City Council.

“It has been such a great opportunity to work with my fellow commissioners in building the APIA ‘voice’ in Denver – to really be a bridge connecting city services with the APIA community and to advocate for the issues that affect us all.”

Although Campbell’s term on the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission has expired, she was recently appointed to the Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission by Mayor Hancock and the Denver City Council.

“My fellow commissioners are from Asia, Africa and Latin America and they all are so dedicated to enriching the immigrant and refugee experience,” Campbell says. “I can’t express how invigorating it is to be at the table with them!”

Campbell also has volunteered for the Filipino Heritage Camp for 15 years and serves on the Cultural Advisory Board of Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families (HCAF). Campbell and her daughter Taryn facilitate a program at 10 Heritage Camps called “This is Me,” which brings together middle school and high school adoptees with members of the cultural community in a lively discussion of ethnic pride and challenges.

Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families CulturalAdvisory Board
Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families Cultural Advisory Board

“My experience with HCAF was a natural progression for me and has been completely rewarding,” she says. “I have two adopted brothers and this is a way to honor their experience. Plus, I’m able to help others explore their ethnic identity, and my whole family is with me, and we’re in the mountains!”

It’s definitely not difficult to pick up on Campbell’s passion for Colorado’s Asian-American community.

“Every time I drive home from a Commission meeting I’m smiling, and every time I pack my car in the summer to get ready for Heritage Camp I’m smiling, or every time I share a joke or a meal with my FACC family, of course I’m smiling… That’s what inspires me,” she says.

“All these amazing people who have touched my life and make it fun, stimulating and meaningful! I’m also inspired by all these wonderful APIA youth and young adults!”

Other roles Campbell has served in the community include member of the Governor’s Asian Advisory Council, member of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Relations Advisory Board, ex-offico for FACC, and mentor for the CDBF Emerging Leaders Program.

She was also recently elected FACC first vice president, a position she will serve for the next two years.

Denver Asian Pacific American Commission with Mayor Michael Hancock
Denver Asian Pacific American Commission with Mayor Michael Hancock

In 2011, Campbell was awarded the Denver Foundation Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award. This month, she will receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Social Responsibility Award. Her accomplishments may seem endless, but Campbell says her greatest pride is without a doubt her daughter Taryn and her son Griffin.

“I invest everything I do and am in being their mother, and it’s their accomplishments as young adults that I’m most proud of,” Campbell says.

In her free time, Campbell enjoys hiking with her dog, Gus, and having delicious dinners with friends. She also likes playing Xbox (a little too much), and going to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra—all activities (besides Xbox) she pursues with her best friend and husband, Greg.