Coach and former Denver Nuggets player Bill Hanzlik believes in the power of sports and STEM to change lives. In 1986, during the prime of his NBA career, he co-founded the Gold Crown Foundation, a one-week basketball camp for girls held at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Today, the Lakewood-based nonprofit that Hanzlik runs along with Denver business leader, Ray Baker has grown into a youth-sports- and education-focused foundation serving nearly 18,000 youth, especially those who are 6 to 20 years old in Colorado and surrounding states. Its basketball, volleyball, and golf programs are held at the 56,000-square-foot Gold Crown Field House in Lakewood and the Gold Crown Junior Golf Learning Center at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Broomfield.
With 15,000 participants, 1,600 volunteers, and 32 programs offered throughout the year, Gold Crown Foundation has become one of the state’s leading youth sports organizations. Gold Crown Foundation also assigns more than 15,000 basketball games throughout the year through its officiating program, while offering multiple academies for area officials. Gold Crown Enrichment (GCE) is a free, drop-in program that operates throughout the year at two locations; the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in Lakewood, CO and the Gold Crown Clubhouse at Edgewater. GCE has seen more than 6,000 youth come through its doors since opening in 2004. Today, GCE has more than 750 active members and 30 mentors.
The Gold Crown Foundation operates three sports complexes, including Coca-Cola All-Star Park, Gold Crown Field House, and Junior Golf Learning Center. Each year, the 56,000-square-foot Field House welcomes approximately 450,000 people and is booked for more than 300 days. The basketball court complex contains six full-size basketball courts and eight full-size volleyball courts. In 1998, Coca-Cola All-Star Park opened in conjunction with the MLB World Series. The field is 90% to scale of Coors Field and serves as the home field for Colorado Christian University’s baseball team. ASP also hosts the CHSAA state baseball playoffs every spring.
Meanwhile, the Junior Golf Learning Center can be found right next to the first tee at Eagle Trace Golf Club. Opened in 2007, this three-acre facility hosts Gold Crown Junior Golf Camps and Tournaments. Additionally, Gold Crown offers free facility use to several community partners, including Special Olympics Colorado, National Sports Center for the Disabled, Jeffco Adaptive Athletics, Sample Supports, Colorado Wheelchair Basketball, Adam’s Camp, and more. The Gold Crown Foundation is dedicated to teaching a set of life skills that can be learned through sports: teamwork, character, commitment, and responsibility, according to Hanzlik. And the organization does that with the help of community partners, including MSU Denver coaches and students.
In 2019, Gold Crown Foundation launched the Health Huddle, a program that addresses the physical and mental health of youth in the community. With a specific focus on mental health, healthy habits, and sports performance, the Health Huddle expands the Gold Crown Foundation’s reach beyond the playing field with help for parents, coaches, and patrons to address the “whole child” in mind, body, and spirit.
Over the years, Gold Crown Foundation has evolved as a foundation with a focus on affordability and low-income support, offering almost $500,000 per year in scholarship opportunities.
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