If only we could bottle the collective spirit of Denver Scholarship Foundation scholars and alumni. Without a doubt it would include essences of education, hope, possibilities, hard work and gratitude—an ideal formula for success. At this year’s annual gala, smiles were plentiful and constant throughout the evening as these special students and alums mingled with a myriad of supporters.

Bhavana Acharya, Ge’Swan Swanson, Dulce Bueno, Victoria Vdovich

On Thursday, Oct. 11, the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center was the place to be for an evening that began with a pre-dinner reception and musical entertainment provided by the Gabriel Mervine Quartet. Guests then adjourned to the Centennial Ballroom for a dinner program emceed by Denver7 news anchor Anne Trujillo. Denver Scholarship Foundation’s CEO, Lorii Rabinowitz, addressed the crowd and pointed out presenting sponsors Patty and Mike Starzer in the audience. Rabinowitz also recognized event chairs Linda and Don Childears, Toti Cadavid and Luis Colon, and board chair Linda Bowman, as well as Tom Boasberg, who is stepping away from his post as Denver Public Schools superintendent. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined the VIP group onstage.

(l to r): CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell; Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kelly Brough; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and David Kenney, founder, The Kenney Group

An energetic procession of DSF scholars and alumni was capped with high fives from Hickenlooper and company, and the group took a moment to pose for pictures on risers at each side of the stage. Success stories were shared onstage by DSF alums Crystina and Brandon Blessing, as well as featured scholar Mena Hashim. After a short period for guests to text or hand-write donations, the evening was capped by a thoughtful talk by former U.S. Senator Hank Brown.

Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) makes college possible for thousands of Denver Public Schools graduates each year. The organization was founded in 2006 based on wide recognition that DPS students face multiple barriers to completing a postsecondary degree. Philanthropists Tim Marquez and Bernadette Marquez wanted to make a major gift to increase the level of college attainment in Denver, and they joined then-Mayor John Hickenlooper and former Superintendent Michael Bennet to examine how to make access to higher education possible for all DPS students today and for generations to come.

Gov. John Hickenlooper with group high fives

The Denver Scholarship Foundation has given more than $38 million in scholarships to students from Denver schools, who have demonstrated a 76 percent college success rate with 31 college partners. For more information, please visit DenverScholarship.org.