ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In honor of the Broncos' extensive community work in Denver and the state of Colorado, President and CEO Joe Ellis and the team will receive the 2021 Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award, the institute announced Monday.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will present the honor, which the state's most noteworthy philanthropic award that recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community and worked to significantly enhance the lives of others, to Ellis and the Broncos at the Mizel Institute Annual Event on Sept. 1 at Empower Field at Mile High.
"We are privileged to honor a leader and an organization that have indelibly shaped our community," said Larry A. Mizel, founder of the Mizel Institute. "Joe Ellis and the Denver Broncos demonstrate, time and again, that their family and team extend to the city and state. This past year, we have seen the most challenging of times, and Joe and the Broncos have helped lead the way in healing and unifying our community."
The Broncos' community work has been a central focus for the organization, as recently evidenced by back-to-back selections as a finalist for ESPN's Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award.
The team's community endeavors are grouped into five main areas: Youth Development, Quality of Life, Health & Wellness, Youth Football and Civic Engagement.
In 2021, the organization found new ways to stay involved and make an impact amid the challenges of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Broncos contributed more than $1 million to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund and other efforts, supported front-line health-care workers and first-responders, and players and staff utilized video conferencing technology to virtually visit with children from local organizations.
"Joe Ellis' leadership of the Denver Broncos and his passion for causes that promote health and wellness, youth development and civic engagement for Coloradoans make him genuinely deserving of the Mizel Institute Community Enrichment Award," Polis said.
Ellis will be the third person with Broncos ties to receive this distinction from the Mizel Institute, following late team owner Pat Bowlen (2013) and President of Football Operations John Elway (2017).
"During his 26 seasons with the club, including the last 10 with him serving as team president, Ellis' leadership and business acumen have helped the Broncos strengthen their reputation as one of the most successful, civically minded and fan-friendly franchises in all of professional sports," the Mizel Institute wrote in a statement. "He has earned significant recognition from his peers and throughout the Rocky Mountain Region for the Broncos' emphasis on community involvement and civic responsibility."