When you’re one of the most prolific fundraising events in town—one that typically raises $2 million—how do you celebrate your own 20th anniversary? This year’s Beaux Arts Freedom Ball rose to the occasion, infusing its annual big, bold bash with American Revolution spirit, to the delight of 1,200 guests—all supporters of the programs and services of beneficiary National Jewish Health. The evening included Broadway-worthy performances drawn from “Hamilton,” including costumed dancers, singers, rappers and flag-wavers, along with a dance-inducing live band. And that was just the call to dinner.

Spirit of ’76

On Saturday, Feb. 25, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum was transformed into a Colonial village for a cocktail reception full of period décor, live characters from “Hamilton,” servers in Paul Revere hats … all with red, white and blue touches, of course. One side of the room was bordered by a floor-to-ceiling tarp, hiding the dining area. Just after 7 p.m., it was dramatically lowered after a song-and-dance presentation, and guests followed performers to their seats. Several partygoers hit the dance floor with the Bobby Attiko Band blaring out a musical invitation, even as dinner service was beginning.

John and Carrie Morgridge, recipients of this year’s Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service

Board chair Blair Richardson began the program singling out well-known people in the audience, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Ken Salazar. Honorary chair Barry Hirschfeld was recognized onstage, and Michael Salem, M.D., president and CEO, talked about National Jewish Health’s singular programs and services. Carrie and John Morgridge were recognized as recipients of the 2017 Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service. The couple are vice president and president, respectively, of the Morgridge Family Foundation, which has supported major projects at NJH, as well as other noted Denver institutions. The award is the highest honor bestowed by National Jewish Health, and recognizes individuals who show leadership that has impacted the reputation, service science or mission of the institution. This year’s grand marshals were recognized from the stage: Debbie and Michael Feiner, Cathey and Richard Finlon, Mary Lou Blackledge Kortz and Donald Kortz, and Julie and Brent Morse.

The Bobby Attiko Band kept everyone dancing before and after the dinner program.

A live auction segment with auctioneer Christian Kolberg included a trio of package experiences: Bon Jovi and Faith Hill/Tim McGraw concerts, a trip to the CMA Awards in Nashville and an ultra-luxe excursion to Napa Valley. At the program’s conclusion, guests had the opportunity to once again take over the dance floor to kick up their heels, urged on by the Bobby Attiko until the building had to lock its doors.

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, NJH today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and a treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and their families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge comprehensive, coordinated care.

Salem writes: “Through your participation in this event, you share in (NJH) success, ensuring that important programs continue to transform lives, our scientists make groundbreaking discoveries to cure diseases and our physicians can care for all patients regardless of ability to pay. At National Jewish Health, we are focused on innovation and the future. The work we do today will shape health care tomorrow. And the future of patient care lies with the kinds of teamwork for which we are known. Pulmonologists consult with rheumatologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists and allergists to make the right diagnoses and to develop a complete picture and plan for their patients. As a result, we diagnose diseases earlier and we also focus on prevention and precision medicine.

“We would appreciate the opportunity to show you in person what makes National Jewish Health the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Please let us know if you are interested in a Behind the Scenes visit.” For more information, please visit NationalJewish.org.