Who's Who of Top Executives

Les Franklin

Title: Founder and Chairman of the Board
Company: The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Les Franklin, founder and chairman of the board at The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in philanthropy.

With over 25 years of experience, Mr. Franklin has dedicated himself to philanthropy, notably founding and chairing The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth in 1990. The foundation emerged following the tragic loss of his son, Shaka Franklin, to suicide. Driven by a passion to combat the increasing rates of youth suicide, he uses this platform to offer educational support, awareness programs, and scholarship endowments at various universities.

One of the most defining moments in Mr. Franklin’s career was the establishment and growth of The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, providing critical support and educational initiatives for youths facing mental health challenges. Before establishing the foundation, Mr. Franklin worked as an executive at IBM for over 26 years and served in the U.S. Air Force. His profound commitment to community service extends to his involvement in numerous boards for banking institutions, hospitals, and organizations like AmeriCorps and the Civil Service Commission. 

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Mr. Franklin authored “Love, Les,” a book chronicling his life’s challenges and triumphs while actively participating in numerous community-based initiatives and organizations. He initiated the Shaka I.C.E. program, providing equipment and funds for youth hockey players in need. Throughout his career, Mr. Franklin has been recognized for his unwavering commitment, receiving awards such as the Colorado School Counselor Association Advocate of the Year, The John Elway Foundation’s Hometown Hero Award, and the El Pomar Foundation’s Shine as a Sun Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Management. 

Mr. Franklin received an award from the FBI for his diligent work in the community. Additionally, he was inducted into his high school and college’s Hall of Fame for his sports and community service contributions. Looking ahead, Mr. Franklin aims to continue the impactful work of his foundation while aspiring to support more youths and expand their scholarship programs. His commitment to serving others and giving back to the community remains his primary focus.

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