2019 Denver Scholarship Foundation Gala: College. It’s Possible.
Story and photos by Lisa Perry
2019 Denver Scholarship Foundation Annual Gala
at Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center benefiting DSF scholarships, programs and services at 5:30 p.m.
The annual Denver Scholarship Foundation Gala continues to be a convivial event made up of an engaging mix of students, educators and supporters…and downright inspiring stories of success. But it’s a simple, signature move that always steals the show–and rightfully so. When spotlights hit the high-five, music-driven procession of scholars and recent alumni entering the ballroom, it’s three minutes of “wow.” Add dynamic speaker Geoffrey Canada to the mix, and this year’s fundraiser was a memory-maker.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock high-fives a DSF scholar.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, nearly 800 guests converged on the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Colorado Convention Center to celebrate the accomplishments of Denver Scholarship Foundation’s students and alumni. Listening to real-life stories of journeys made up of challenges conquered and the power of education is always an enlightening and inspirational experience. Additionally impactful is the tradition of seating a DSF Scholar or Alum at each of the 80 tables, giving supporters the unique opportunity to learn even more about these exceptional young people during the dinner hour.
Emcee Anne Trujillo, Denver7 news anchor and longtime DSF supporter, presided over the evening’s dinner program, and also was recognized as a new DSF board member. Those who addressed the crowd included: CEO Lorii Rabinowitz, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, DSF alumni Amy Faliano Hamill and Cara Faliano, and student speakers Lazarus West and Lawrence West. After their inspirational words, guests had the opportunity to make on-the-spot donations via text and old-school physical envelopes. The anonymous presenting sponsor covered all event expenses to ensure that every single dollar was given to Denver Scholarship Foundation, and Colorado Scholarship Initiative (COSI) doubled every onsite donation.The evening ended with a riveting talk by force-of-nature Geoffrey Canada, award-winning educator, author and activist, founder and president of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) since 1990.
Keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada and Denver’s Gloria Neal
The Denver Scholarship Foundation makes college possible for thousands of Denver Public Schools graduates each year. DSF’s unique, three-part program for college success has been nationally recognized for its effectiveness, working proactively with all DPS seniors at Future Centers located inside DPS high schools.
Each Future Center is staffed by a full-time DSF College Advisor who guides students through the college application and financial aid processes.Together with partners and DPS, DSF reached 2,827 seniors in 2017-18. The organization awards need-based scholarships that can be used over four years to DPS graduates attending a community college, university or technical college in Colorado. To date, DSF has awarded $38 million in scholarships to 6,376 Scholars, including 2,238 graduates. The organization partners directly with colleges to provide scholarship recipients with extra financial aid and ongoing support to help them succeed and ultimately graduate. Since 2012, 78 percent of all DSF Scholars have graduated or continue to succeed in their program. For more information, please visit https://denverscholarship.org.
Co-chairs Michelle Hanley (left) and Heidi Hoyt
Dr. Tony Frank (left) and Nathan Ocadena
Saul Huerta and Patti Schwartzberg
(l to r): Renae Bellew, and Geoff and Susan Barker
(l to r): Adrian Mendoza, Fryda Faugier Ferreira, Esmeralda Rodriguez and Connie Jaime-Lujan
(l to r): Natasha Garfield, Michael Kelly and Janet McCall
Melvin Casillas-Munoz and Brianna Dimas
Mena Hashim (left) and Nabaa Hashim
(l to r): Shannon Stone, Joe Blake and Carol Carter
Event co-chairs: Bruce and Heidi Hoyt (left) and Michelle and John Hanley
(l to r): Lawrence West, Nathan Cadena and Lazarus West
Aline Muragizi and Benjamin Itangishaka
Keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada and Denver’s Gloria Neal
(l to r): Andy and Polly Frison, Irma Lockridge, Kathleen Stark and Frank Lockridge
(l to r): Naichen Zhao, Caren Press, John Vaughey, Rachel Kamnkhwani, Rona Press
(l to r): Sponsor Steve Woodward, Claudine Brandt and Anthony Paul
(l to r): Heather LaHaie, Shannon Peterson, Chrissy Holliday and Patricia Whitehouse
(l to r): Francisco Muniz, Jim Margole, Alexandra Soto and Rachel Muhawenimana
(l to r): Scott Long, Allison Johnson, Jim Chavez
(l to r): Cassandra Lamas Ortega, Juan Calvo, Jorge Armendarez, Jehovana Flores, Safiya Abdulhalzim, Lauren Koppel
Maren Stewart and Trey Rogers
Bill and Kristin Waters
Melanie and committee member Blake Fulenwider
Benjamin Brown and Esperanza Garcia (with Denver’s iconic Blue Bear in the background)
(l to r): David Aragon, Karel and Bob Boswell, and Linda and committee member Rich Schierburg
(l to r): Mike Johnston, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee, and Jerry Guck
(l to r): Nicole Cobian, Angela Cobian, Anthony Graves, Marisa Molina and Fryda Faugier Ferreira
A DSF scholar or alum was seated at every table.
Tables are set in the Centennial Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.
Mary Coleman (center) with young friends William Arney and Claire Arney
(l to r): Esmeralda Rodriguez, Gladis Gee and Lluvia Garcia
Nearly 800 guests settle in for dinner.
DSF’s CEO Lorii Rabinowitz
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock high-fives a DSF scholar.
Michael Hancock enthusiastically hugs Denver School Board member Angela Cobian after the scholar-alumni procession.
Anne Trujillo, emcee and Denver7 news anchor
Scholars and alumni, post-procession
Catching a segment of scholars and alumni leaving the stage
Anthony and Michelle Trail
DSF alumni Amy Faliano Hamill and Cara Faliano
Denver7 news anchor Anne Trujillo, also event emcee, acknowledges the announcement that she is now a DSF board member.
DSF scholars Lazarus West (left) and Lawrence West speak to the crowd.
Lazarus and Lawrence West received a standing ovation after their inspiring stories were aired in a video.
Zulema Sierra, DSF advisor at North High School; and DSF scholar Lawrence West
Guests could write on-the-spot checks or donate via text.
Texting a donation to DSF
Benjamin Itangishaka introduces keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada
Keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) president
Dynamic speaker Geoffrey Canada talks about his passion for college education for deserving students.
Keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada had the audience riveted.
Michelle and John Hanley; Heidi and Bruce Hoyt...Honorary Chairs: Governor Jared Polis U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and Ms. Susan Daggett U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Mrs. Jaime Gardner Representative Diana DeGette and Mr. Lino Lipinsky Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Mrs. Mary Louise Lee Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova and Mr. Eric Duran
Seth Belzley Linda Bowman, Ph.D. Lindsay and Bob Deibel Zoey DeWolf Barry Dorfman Bret Duvall Cathey and Dick Finlon Jayne Ford Blake Fulenwider Peter Hoselton Michael Kelly Dean Koelbel Evi and Evan Makovsky Scott Nycum Mike Pardun Rich Schierburg Don Silversmith Vanessa VandeBurgt
Lorii Rabinowitz, CEO
CEO Lorii Rabinowitz; DSF alumni: Amy Faliano Hamill and Cara Faliano; DSF student speakers: Lazarus West and Lawrence West; Keynote speaker: Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children's Network founder and president
Presenting Sponsor: Anonymous; Future Sponsors - $50,000: Anonymous; Scholar Sponsors - $25,000: Britney and Richard Weil, Jonathan and Aimee Coleman, The Anschutz Foundation; Access Sponsors - $15,000: Dana and Barry Dorfman, Roger and Linda Bowman Charitable Fund, Scott and Jody Nycum, DaVita; Impact Sponsors - $10,000: AMG National Trust Bank, Cathey and Richard Finlon, Colorado School of Mines, Councilwoman Kendra Black and Eric Black, David Scanavino, M.D., Davis Graham & Stubbs, Maffei Foundation, MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, OfficeScapes Group, Rich Schierburg / Peregrine Group Development, Robin and John Hickenlooper, The Madison Group and Steven M. Woodward, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Denver; Pathway Sponsors - $5,000: Alpine Bank, Ball Foundation, BBVA Compass Bank, Bellco Credit Union, Bow River Capital Partners, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, BuildStrong Education, Celia and Tom Wattles, Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado State University, Delta Dental of Colorado, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, Erin & Andy Miller and Copley Equity Partners, Extraction Oil & Gas Inc., FirstBank, Gyan-i Inc., Heidi and Bruce Hoyt, Irma Lockridge | CoorsTek, Jayne Ford, John and Michelle Hanley, JPMorgan Chase, Katie MacWilliam,s L C Fulenwider Inc., Liberty Global, Inc. , Merrill Aspin and Mark Fallon, Metropolitan State University of Denver, MorEvents, NAI Shames Makovsky Realty/Evi and Evan Makovsky and Jerry Glick and Shannon Gifford, Plante Moran, Ready Foods, Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio, P.C., Therese Ivancovich and Greg Sissel, U.S. Bank, University of Colorado Denver, Vectra Bank Colorado; Opportunity Sponsors - $3,000: ACM High Point VI LLC, Ash and Melinda Alankar, Colorado Community College System, Embrey Partners, First Western Trust Bank, Julanna Gilbert, Ph.D. and Robert D. Coombe, Ph.D., Koelbel Family Foundation, McGeady Becher P.C., Rachel Brady and Thomas F. Brady, Ph.D., Steven and Elizabeth Kris, Stewart Miller; Media Sponsor: Denver7 KMGH-TV
Individual: $250; Young Professional/DSF Alumni: $150
Board of Directors:
Board Members Bob Deibel - Chair; President & Owner, OfficeScapes Group Thomas G. Wattles - Treasurer; Executive Chairman of the Board, DCT Industrial Trust, Inc. John Elofson - Secretary; Partner, Davis, Graham & Stubbs LLP Cathey McClain Finlon - Retired Chief Executive Officer & Chair, McClain Finlon Steven Abelman - Shareholder, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck Jeff Allen - Chief Executive Officer, appli inc. Seth Belzley - Partner, Holland & Knight LLP Andy Boian - Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Dovetail Solutions Dr. Linda S. Bowman - Past Chair; Vice Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Colorado Denver Dr. Tom Brady - Chief Economist, Newmont Mining Corp. Jonathan Coleman - Portfolio Manager, Janus Henderson Luis Colón - Partner, Essencialize LLC Dr. Robert Coombe- Chancellor Emeritus, University of Denver Luella Chavez D’Angelo - Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, USOPC Barry Dorfman - President, Rocky Mountain Region, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. Mark Fallon - President & Chief Executive Officer, Envirocon, Inc. Jayne Ford - Vice President, Green Peak Partners John J. Hanley - Managing Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank John Ikard - Retired Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank Holding Company Irma Lockridge, Chief People and Systems Officer, CoorsTek Katie MacWilliams - Community Volunteer R. Scott Nycum, Jr. - Retired Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Mike Pardun - Chief Executive Officer, Standard Alcohol, Inc. Martin Pocs - Vice Chairman, DHR International Rich Schierburg - Owner, Peregrine Group Development Don Silversmith - Chairman, First Western Trust Bank, Denver Michael R. Starzer - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Fifth Creek Energy Company; Director, HighPoint Resources Corporation Anne Trujillo - Anchor, Denver7 News Martha Wofford - Group Vice President, DaVita Susana Cordova - DPS Superintendent - Ex-Officio Lorii Rabinowitz, Chief Executive Officer, Denver Scholarship Foundation - Ex-Officio