8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath benefiting F.A.C.E.S.


More than 200 guests attended the Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support nonprofit or F.A.C.E.S. 8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath signature event September 17 at the regal Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver.

A silent auction, appetizers and cocktails provided a back drop for enthusiastic supporters with music provided by solo musician Jimmi Nasi and a live auction led by Doug Tisdale.

Executive Director Rita Harding and Development Director Kendell Aitchison circulated throughout the night with support from board members and staff.

Among the highlights of the event was the live auction of an autographed hockey stick from Colorado Avalanche Forward Nathan MacKinnon‘s with the winning bid by Board Member and long-time supporter Sarah Stoneking.

F.A.C.E.S was developed to provide parenting education, support and advocacy services for the prevention of child abuse, neglect and family violence nearly 40 years ago.

The mission of F.A.C.E.S. is to prevent child abuse, neglect, and family violence. Since its founding in 1974 the organization has served more than 6,000 families in the Denver metro region through its home visitation program, community-based parenting classes and professional family counseling.

For more information visit www.facesonline.org


Aurora Mental Health Center's 11th Annual Spring Luncheon


The Aurora Mental Health Center’s 11th Annual Spring Benefit Luncheon, Living Life to the Fullest, was held at Friday, May 1 at the Radisson Hotel in Aurora. For some 40 years AUMHC’s team of psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, social workers, and peer advisors have worked to provide individual, group, and family counseling, as well as consultation and educational support.

More than 350 packed the ballroom to celebrate the organization and to raise funds for Aurora Youth Options (AYO), AUMH’s youth service and mentoring program that was singled out by Esquire Magazine as one of the Denver metro region’s 7 most successful mentoring programs and among the top 50 in the nation.

Board Member and Event Chair Rachel Nuñez took to the podium to describe how AYO works with middle and high school-aged at-risk youth and their families to navigate, connect and provide positive, individualized resources to help them succeed. The key to the program, she said, was recovery, prevention and wellness.

Emcee Charles Packard, Executive Producer for Aurora Fox Theatre, thanked donors, guests and acknowledged local city and county leadership before introducing Dr. Randy Stith, CEO & Executive Director. Stith reviewed the founding of the organization by a group of committed volunteers in the late 1960s who officially launched AUMHC in 1975.

Among those attending this year’s luncheon were: From the office of Congressman Mike Coffman Aurora Ogg, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Aurora City Council Members: Barbara Cleland, Brad Pierce, Molly Markert, Marsha Berzins, Debi Hunter Holen, Sally Mounier, Aurora Municipal Court Chief Judge Richard Weinburg, Aurora Municipal Court Adminstrator Zelda DeBoyes, Aurora City Manager Skip Noe, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, Aurora Fire Chief Michael Garcia, Arapahoe County Commissioners: Nancy Sharpe, Bill Holen, Nancy Jackson, Nancy Doty, and Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher

Founded in 2009, Aurora Youth Options Mentor Program brings caring adults together with a young person in need of mentoring and coaching, Homework Help and Tutoring creates a safe and open environment where youth interact with adult and peer tutors to get the assistance they need.

The AUMHC’s programs serve more than 17,000 people annually through 12 counseling centers, 8 residential facilities, in public schools, county human services departments and other locations. The Aurora Mental Health Center’s next fundraiser will be the Mayor’s Cup Golf Classic hosted by the Aurora Vistas Foundation on August 17. To donate or learn more visit: aumhc.org

CU School of Medicine's Bow Tie Ball honors Dr. Richard Krugman


cropped bow tie


Dr. Richard Krugman served as the Dean of the University of Colorado School of Medicine for 25 years. In his honor on Saturday night, November 15, 2014, (what looked like) the entire medical community came out to celebrate the man, who leaves behind him an insurmountable legacy to the state’s medical community and the CU School of Medicine.

Event Chair Jamie Angelich, created the lovely tribute evening to celebrate and highlight the charming, gregarious, kind, intelligent and generous man. Krugman’s league of friends and colleagues readily took to the podium to remember the many years spent in his company.

Emcee Matt Iseman led the accolades throughout the evening. Iseman, a former practicing MD and CU School of Medicine alumnus, left his medical career and headed to Los Angeles years ago.  The former doctor is now an accomplished working actor, writer, Emmy Award winner and host of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior…talk about a career change. His Hollywood presence and familiarity to Denver, and the school, served to keep the ball rolling with humor and well deserved respect for Dr. Krugman throughout the night.

The evening honored the Dean by hosting a live auction, led by Iseman. Among the unique and beautiful items auctioned was a autographed painting of Peyton Manning by Malcolm Farley, bronze sculptures by Georgene McGonagle, an exquisite Lady Rolex diamond watch from Hyde Park, a dinner for ten at Elway’s Cherry Creek with Dean Krugman (Iseman added one more to the $1,000 dollar a pop dinner.) Eleven friends will sit down at Elway’s to enjoy a steak dinner. Last but not least, from Hollywood, tickets to the 2015 People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles at the NOKIA Theatre, January 7, 2015.

Sharing memories and respect for a long career were Darrell Kirch, MD, President and CEO, Association of American Medical Colleges. Lilly Marks, Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Colorado, Executive Vice Chancellor, Anschutz Medical Campus, and Donald M. Elliman, Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dean Richard Krugman’s family honored their father and husband by unveiling a beautiful portrait by Benjamin McCready.

Dr. Richard Krugman is a man who did his job with quiet ease for 25 years. He will be greatly missed in the Dean’s office at CU Medical School. Dr. Krugman thanked his staff, the school and Jamie Angelich for the wonderful send-off by adding,  “I’m not retiring. I’m going to finish the work I started 25 years ago.” Krugman spent the better part of a medical career, before becoming Dean, on efforts to ending child abuse.


CASA of the Pikes Peak Region Celebrates 25 Years


Sometimes (all too often) there are children out there alone with no one to advocate for them and no one to speak up for the truth. There have been times when a child tries to speak out about being abused and no one believes them, or, even worse, there is a room full of people supporting the abuser and no one to help the child. This is why Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was born.

In honor of 25 years and assisting more than 10,000 children, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region hosted a donor appreciation reception on Tuesday at the El Pomar Center.

Dignitaries such as Supreme Court Justice Brian Boatright, several other district judges, Attorney General John Suthers, past and present board members of CASA, politicians, fundraisers, case managers and some of the clients themselves were present for the heartfelt presentation. National CASA Association CEO Michael Piraino and his wife Carin were on hand from Seattle and it was the evident the level of admiration for the commitment and passion exuding from the Pikes Peak Chapter.

Executive Director Trudy Strewler Hodges had tears in her eyes as she recounted past experiences and thanked supporters and staff, as well as her family, who also had tears in their eyes listening to her.

Board Chair Heather Kelly did an excellent job in welcoming everyone and navigating the program. Earlier in the evening, special recognition awards were given to Mary Stark (fundraising), Ann Nichols (individual investor), Motif (small business partner), US Bank (corporate partner), the Helen K and Arthur E Johnson Foundation (foundation partner) and Michael Piraino (25th anniversary honoree).

CASA of the Pikes Peak Region was founded to train volunteers as advocates for victimized children and to educate the community about abuse and neglect. Through comprehensive training programs, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region educates a carefully screened and selected group of volunteers about child abuse, neglect, and domestic relations conflicts. They learn about the dynamics of child abuse and neglect, child development, advocating within the court system, the roles of the Department of Human Services, the judicial system, and many of the community resources available to children and families involved in these cases. 

CASA of the Pikes Peak Region educates the community about factors contributing to child abuse, neglect, and domestic conflicts, and how involved individuals can positively impact efforts to end this cycle.

As Trudy Strewler Hodges put it, we wonder who will be the advocates of the future, but there is a “vision to serve every child in need every day, every year, by the year 2020.” That no doubt will happen if the current effort is any indication. She quoted Henry Ward Beechen: “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”


The Kempe Foundation 2014 Annual Gala


Proclamation from Governor John Hickenlooper read:  
I Hereby Proclaim April 26, 2014, to be the Kempe Foundation and Walter Imhoff Day.

The 29th Kempe Foundation Gala honored Denver’s favorite man of the hour, philanthropist, Walter Imhoff, b.1931-2014. It all opened on a high pitch Saturday night, April 26, 2014.

People were raring to get started. Registration opened at 6:00 but the line started forming at 5:30 p.m. The Seawell Ballroom was a beautiful sight to see with elegant colorful spring flower centerpieces situated throughout the ballroom. Visitors were hit with color everywhere they looked from the stage, to the mountain greenery decor, to the tiny twinkling ceiling lights that set the evening’s gala tone. The event got underway before 6:00 p.m. as people started to register their auction numbers in their phone.  Yes, their phones. The under-50 set couldn’t have been happier. It gave the phone techies the best excuse ever to look at their phones throughout the evening. Between the bidding and selfies taking place, Walt would have been amused and proud to see the crowded room and rapid fire bidding. It is suspected at this time, to have gone over the goal of $100,000.

As the live auction kicked into high gear, auctioneer Paul Behr kept the guests on edge as he challenged them time and time again for bids of $100,000, $20,000, $10,000, and so on. When he called for a $100 bid from everyone in the room, the yellow live-auction cards flew like balloons into the air.

At 7:00 p.m. Cheryl Preheim took to the stage to introduce the first of the night’s entertainment. It couldn’t have been more appropriate or more color coordinated. The young performers were dressed in white chinos and polo shirts of spring pastel colors such as blue, yellow, green, coral and pink. The Children’s Chorale opened the evening’s entertainment bringing smiles to the high energy kick off for the celebration.  Special was a  tribute to Mississippi Blues legend Robert Johnson from Big Head Todd (Todd Park Mohr).  And last but not least, the guests  on the floor were boot scootin’  and dancin’ with music from The Bucksteins, Denver’s popular country-western band. What a party night for the loyal supporters of the Kempe Foundation.

Business was up front as Cheryl and Kempe Foundation volunteers announced this year’s awards. All honorees were from within our community and are dedicated professionals working diligently to protect children from abuse and neglect. The first award of the night was the Imhoff Family Community Award to David Savitz. He is a seasoned trial lawyer who advocates zealously for perpetrators and victims of abuse. It’s not widely known that he proudly holds the title as one of the longest standing Kempe Foundation board members.

Kathyrn Wells, MD, FAAP, was the recipient of the 2014 Professional Award for creating a foster care clinic at Denver Health. The clinic provides an emphasis on mental health screening and treatment. She works tirelessly to improve services for pregnant women with addictions and to create a better system for detection of substance abuse.  Kathryn is on the Colorado State Foster Parent Association Board and President of the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

State Senator Linda Newell received the 2014 Child Advocacy Award. Serving her second term for Arapahoe County, Newell has made child warefare a top priority. She was appointed Vice Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in 2013, and serves as a solid advocate for all abused and neglected children of Colorado.

By the time Big Head Todd stepped onto stage the guests were ready. He performed without flaw a medley of Mississippi Blues from the legendary Robert Johnson. Then as the party wrapped up,The Bucksteins took the stage and stomped out the finale for the 29th Annual Kempe Foundation Gala.

Look out, next year is the 30th Annual Kempe Foundation Gala.




FACES 6th Annual Grapes Against Wrath


FACES held the 6th Annual Grapes Against Wrath at the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management on Friday evening. The event occurred in the beautiful Tuscan Wine cellar at the Hospitality school, which is one of the few hospitality schools in the world housed within a business school.

It was an evening of wine testing, food, and music and a silent auction. The guests enjoyed fine wines, appetizers and cooking, and dessert by Denver’s top chefs from Nova Catering, Lola, City Bakery, Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar of Glendale, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Linger, Knoebel Events, Mile High Spirits, Root Dawn and The Vineyard Wine Shop. Dave Devine on guitar and Jean-Luc Davis on upright bass provided acoustic jazz music.

FACES’ mission is to prevent child abuse, neglect and family violence.  Nearly 11,000 children are victims of child abuse or neglect each year in Colorado. For 39 years, FACES has been providing services to protect children and families.

FACES has accomplished their mission through their home visitation program, community-based parenting classes and professional family counseling. FACES has served over 6,000 families.

All proceeds benefit FACES.

FACES is a 501c3 non-profit organization that believes prevention programs are effective, that programs must focus on the family, that positive parenting skills promote safe and healthy families, and that each member of the community shares responsibility for strengthing families and protecting children.

For information about FACES: www.facesonline.org 1325 So. Colorado Blvd. Suite B-509, Denver, Colorado 80222-3320, 720-570-9333.

Art Thrives Child Safe


Formed in 1986, ChildSafe is a Fort Collins based community organization which works with victims of child sexual abuse and their families. ChildSafe therapists provide individual and group therapy for victims, both children and adults who were abused as children, and their non-offending family members.

Supporters of ChildSafe gathered at the Fort Collins Country Club for dinner and an art auction last Friday evening.

Emcee Scott Beasley welcomed the crowd and introduced members of the ChildSafe staff.  Valerie Macri-Lind, MS, LMFT spoke to the crowd about ChildSafe services.

During the dinner Senator John Kefalas introduced his friend Tom Wilberton, who had most of the audience members in tears as he discussed the sexual abuse of his daughter by his brother.  His family members blamed Tom’s three-year-old daughter and cut Tom’s family off from other family members.  Despite therapy, Tom’s daughter committed suicide and devastated Tom, his wife and children.

Hence the efforts of ChildSafe. Artists throughout the Fort Collins area donated art in a variety of media and guests bid for both silent auction and live auction items.  Auctioneer Jeff Sweeney warmed up the guests with a paddle raiser and then engaged them in a lively live auction.

For further information about ChildSafe, please check out their website at http://www.childsafecolorado.org