Jewish Family Service Courtside Executive Luncheon


Jewish Family Service of Colorado has a history of bringing interesting and engaging speakers that epitomize their mission of making the world a better place.

Friday was no exception, as NBA Hall-of-Famers Bill Walton and Bob Lanier took the stage with moderator Jerry Schemmel to talk about everything from NBA rivalry to helping those in need.

Live wire Walton was not shy about bringing friendly jibes at his friend Lanier, but both also got serious when talking about what it means to help those who are lonely, desolate and in need of a friendly hand up. No one chooses to be in that place, but it can happen easily and JFS is there to help, with no judgement on who or why a family is in trouble.

Co-Chairs Scott Stillman, Jonathan Alpert and David Feiner, along with President and CEO Shepard Nevel and Board Chair Jane E Rosenbaum, took the stage at various times throughout the program to thank everyone for their support.

Jewish Family Service believes in strengthening our community by providing vital services to people in need. Every year, the agency benefits nearly 24,000 people of all faiths, races, ages and abilities. To learn more and how you can help, log on to

The Hope Center 5th Annual Community Carnival


On a bright Saturday morning kids and families ignored the scorching 95-degree heat and enjoyed several hours of pony rides, assorted toss games, and several huge bouncy castles featured at the 5th Annual HOPE Center Community Carnival in Clayton/Cole Neighborhood. This year’s event, held Saturday, July 16, brought neighbors together to chat, relax and enjoy snow cones, cotton candy and other refreshments.

Established in the 1960s, HOPE Center is a community-based non-profit agency focusing on Early Childhood Education and Care and Vocational Training for adults with developmental disabilities.  The Center also provides education for at-risk and gifted children, and kids with developmental disabilities for Denver families. This year the organization celebrates 54 years of service and serves some 200 students, of which 65 percent are African- American and 20 percent Hispanic.

The event attracts local families and businesses and hosts a dozen tents with representatives from local health and family non-profit groups and city government agencies. Fortunately, some tree shade was plentiful for Denver Zoo volunteer Patti Wells who showed off one of her larger lizards while around the corner Solome Morales patiently spinned some cotton candy.

Among the informational booths were the Denver County Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), The Center for African American Health, Lupus of Colorado, Mental Health Center of Denver, Connect for Health Colorado, Kids Choice Dental, Clothes to Kids of Denver, and Denver Health, to name a few.

President/CEO Gerie Grimes has led the organization for nearly 10 years, but has been with HOPE Center since 1982 rising through the ranks first as a bookkeeper and later Deputy Director before becoming Director in 2007. A Denver native, Grimes earned degrees in non-profit administration and non-profit management from Metro State College of Denver and Regis University, respectfully and currently working on her PhD

President/CEO Gerie Grimes with Ashia Grimes

President/CEO Gerie Grimes with Ashia Grimes

. Her grandchildren and several nieces and nephews are HOPE Center alumni and they can often be found serving as volunteers as well.

Besides the summer carnival event, the HOPE Center also hosts a highly successful Vintage Vegas Casino Night every spring. To volunteer, donate or learn more visit their web site at



12th Annual Aurora Mental Health Center Spring Luncheon


Movers and shakers from throughout the Aurora community gathered at the Crown Plaza Airport Convention Center for the 12th Annual“Living Life to the Fullest” Spring Benefit Luncheon held Thursday, May 5, 2016, to benefit the Aurora Mental Health Center.

Welcome & Introductions were made by AUMHC board member and Event Committee Chair Rachel Nuñez with emcee Charles Packard, Executive Producer of the Aurora Fox Theater, thanking sponsors for their support of the AUMHC PATH program for the homeless.

AUMHC CEO & Executive Director Randy Stith, Ph.D. described the importance of the of AUMHC’s PATH program that helps homeless adults and families with Drop-In emergency need items and services and the Street Outreach Team that seeks to identify the homeless walking the streets who may need help.

In addition to serving as Presenting Sponsor, Citywide Banks this year matched each dollar raised at the luncheon to boost donations at the spring event. This year’s Gold Sponsors were Metro Community Provider Networks, EON, WAVE Audio Visual and the Silver Sponsor was the Asian Pacific Development Center.

The Capitol Steps performers entertained the crowd with a satirical and comical view of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections and the various candidates and politicians including President Obama, and VP Joe Biden, past President George W. Bush, and, of course, the current and past list of presidential contenders including over-the-top impressions of front-runners Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and visits from Sarah Palin and past Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The AUMHC continues to grow and expand to serve Aurora’s burgeoning population. In March, Mayor Steve Hogan joined with the Aurora Vistas Foundation to present more than $22,000 in grant money to support AUMHC children’s mental health programs. These funds support some 20 programs such as summer camp, a ski program, new playroom, grandparents groups, refugee children and a camping trip.

The Aurora Vistas Foundation raise most of their funding through its annual Mayor’s Cup Classic Golf Tournament attended by Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and usually by the other mayors throughout the Denver metro region. This year the Golf Classic will be held on Monday, August 22, at Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora. For more information, volunteer, donate or to register for this fun-filled event on the links, please contact Debbie Stafford at 303-617-2300 or email her directly at

For more information or to make a donation to the Aurora Mental Health Center (AUMHC) please call 303-617-2300 or visit:




Al Pacino visits Jewish Family Service Executive Luncheon


Who woulda thought that they could ever have lunch with the Godfather’s Michael Corleone or Scarface’s Tony Montana? More than 1,100 people got to find out at the Jewish Family Service’s “Up Close and Personal” event with Al Pacino on Wednesday.

Pacino demonstrated how he has the range and the talent to play these and so many other eccentric characters as he chatted with the audience, often flitting between his chair and standing at the stage edge. He reminisced about the start of his acting career and the colorful personalities he has come to know over the years, including Francis Ford Coppola and more recently Jessica Chastain. Pacino has had a career spanning more than fifty years, during which time he has received numerous accolades and honors both competitive and honorary, among them an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a British Academy Film Award, four Golden Globe Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the National Medal of Arts. He is also one of few performers to have won a competitive Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony Award for acting, dubbed the “Triple Crown of Acting”.

It was a great way to carry on the tradition of the JFS Executive Luncheon, which has been host to many dignitaries and celebrities. The crowd this year was the biggest ever, raising money for mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services and family safety net services. The ripple effect of those helped by Jewish Family Service reaches far and wide, with those who received aid during the toughest part of their lives often coming full circle to give back to JFS.

For more information, log on to


Jewish Family Service's Real Hope...Helping Real People


It would be a fun party any time of year, but Jewish Family Service’s Real Hope truly shines during the holiday season. On Thursday, Dec. 10, the 20th annual fundraiser attracted a spirited group of supporters to eat, drink and be festive on the United Club Level at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. December weather in Denver is often fickle, but partygoers enjoyed an unseasonably warm evening—perfect for those who traveled from out of town to attend the event.

The evening began by honoring the fifth night of Hanukkah, with songs and the lighting of a menorah by Rabbi Steven Foster. From there, guests went on to nosh on small plates and passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Epicurean Catering. Open bars and four serving stations with an array of delectable bites dotted the space, and a red-carpet photo area gave partygoers the opportunity to mark the occasion with smiles and sassy poses. Talented band members of Digital Pocket provided plenty of upbeat tunes to accent the atmosphere throughout the reception. Guests were then flamboyantly ushered into the awards program area by lavishly costumed performers of Traveling Performers.

Emcee Steven Peckar was a gracious host, reminding the audience that monetary contributions to JFS were welcomed by writing out his own check donation on stage. JFS president and CEO Yana Vishnitsky talked to the crowd about the good works of the organization, and introduced a short video presentation. Event honorees were Adam J. Agron, Kal Zeff Business Leader of the Year, and Andrea Stillman, recipient of the Jack Shapiro Community Service Award. The two were introduced by Vishnitsky and board chair Jane E. Rosenbaum, respectively. After the program? More party food, of course! Guests were able to relax with sumptuous desserts and coffee, as they continued to talk and enjoy the camaraderie and holiday mood of the evening.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado believes in strengthening the community by providing vital services to people in need. Every day, JFS helps people overcome life’s challenges to live fuller, more meaningful lives. Founded in 1872, JFS is a nonsectarian, nonprofit human services agency serving metro Denver and Boulder. JFS helps seniors lie independently at home, provides quality mental health counseling, offers training and job placement to those with developmental disabilities and other barriers to employment, and provides food and financial aid to people in crisis. Every year, the agency benefits nearly 25,000 people of all ages, faiths, incomes and abilities. For more information, call 303-597-5000, visit, and follow JFS on Facebook and Twitter.