Stacey James Danner died at the age of 46 from COVID-19 on Sunday, July 11, 2021. He is dearly loved and fondly remembered by friends all over the globe as a big-hearted, hard-working, globe-trotting night owl. Fueled by trenta-size cups of Starbucks, his grandparents’ work ethic, creative insights, and unconventional style, Stacey graduated from De La Salle High School, the University of St. Thomas, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. After graduate school, he went on to start a series of successful businesses. As he succeeded, however, Stacey remained a tireless champion for others. After Hurricane Katrina, for example, Stacey packed his bags for New Orleans and rolled up his sleeves to help rebuild the city.
When he wasn’t working, Stacey was traveling the world, collecting experiences that shaped him as a person. Whether he was in Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, or Thailand, he always looked right at home and he never seemed to meet a stranger who couldn’t become his friend. His travel bucket list was long, but he never forgot his Minnesota roots — he always returned to Minneapolis and the Vikings always got his unconditional support.
Against this backdrop of achievements and adventures, Stacey is perhaps best remembered as a loyal friend. He strove to surround himself with brilliant, witty, ambitious, woke people from across races, genders and nationalities. Stacey strongly believed in the potential of others and worked hard to help them achieve it. He was never too busy for anybody. No matter where he was, he never felt too far away. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, James “Jimmy” Danner and grandmother, Patricia Danner and his mother, Michelle Danner. He is survived by a diverse village of friends and chosen family who will carry forward his commitment to justice and his love for others.
Stacey had a love for water, swimming and championing equity. His loved ones asked YWCA Minneapolis to set up a memorial fund that will support our Swim for Change program, which helps teach the life-saving skills of swimming and water safety to youth of color.
There are significant racial disparities in self-reported swimming abilities and drowning deaths in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black children and teenagers are five times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. At YWCA Minneapolis, we are working to bridge this gap through our Swim for Change programming.
Swim for Change provides access to swim lessons, lifeguard training and swim team participation to 300+ youth involved in our programs each year. Greater than 80% of these youth live in low-income households and nearly 90% are youth of color. At three YWCA pools across Minneapolis, these young people participate in high-quality, engaging swim programming at no extra cost. The water safety and swimming skills they develop help encourage healthier lifestyles and a safer, more inclusive community. You can support this important work by making a gift in any amount to help children and youth of color learn important, life-saving skills.
$10 provides swim goggles for one child
$50 provides a swimming top and leggings for one child
$100 provides swim lessons for one child
$200 provides one lifeguard training class
$300 provides one water safety instructor class
$500 provides summer swim lessons for a YWCA youth group