Gratitude Inspires Philanthropy and Impact

Gigi Meinhardt and Kirby

Gigi Meinhardt and Kirby

Kindred souls is the best way to describe Gigi Meinhardt and Dr. Edie Best (DVM '95). They bonded over their love of animals and later discovered they also shared a desire to give back to a place that holds a deep and special meaning.

Gigi grew up on a farm and owned dogs her entire life. "I think dogs are the best thing ever made," Gigi says. "I'm a sucker for them. They make me complete."

When her beloved dog, Kirby, was battling terminal cancer, Gigi entrusted Dr. Best with his care.

Dr. Best's story began at Colorado State University, where she fulfilled her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

"I had the time of my life at CSU," Dr. Best says. "I had some of the most wonderful encounters and experiences that a person could ever have."

After graduation, Dr. Best began practicing at an animal clinic in Montana, which she eventually bought. It was that clinic that brought the two together.

Although the loss of Kirby was extremely difficult for Gigi, it was Dr. Best's compassionate bedside manner that helped to ease her grief. That same compassion, along with the respect Gigi felt for Dr. Best, inspired her to create a legacy at CSU with an impactful estate gift to One Cure in Dr. Best's honor.

Dr. Edie Best and friends

Dr. Edie Best and friends

One Cure, an innovative program at CSU, finds cures for pet cancers and applies the same research to find cures for cancers in people.

Throughout Dr. Best's career, she has given back to her alma mater by donating to CSU's veterinary communications department when she euthanizes a pet. In 2019, Dr. Best and her husband, Les, decided to create their legacy at CSU with a personal estate gift to the same department.

"A lot of why I made a gift was how I was raised—it's a mindset of being helpful and kind," Dr. Best says. "When I can help financially, or by supporting people, I try to pass it along."

Shortly after the Bests created their planned gift to CSU, Dr. Best was told about the transformative gift Gigi made earlier that year to the University in her honor.

"My mom died of cancer, too. She loved Kirby," Gigi says. "The DNA of a dog and a person aren't far apart. If CSU can help both species that would be wonderful."

"She's a remarkable lady," Dr. Best says of Gigi. "It's nice to know the impact you have on people. It's very inspirational to me."

You, too, can honor a loved one or a program important to you when you make a future gift to CSU. Contact the Office of Gift Planning at or (970) 491-4254 to learn about your giving options.