JFS brings Shark Barbara Corcoran to Denver


Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes on the popular ABC TV series Shark Tank? Guests at the Jewish Family Service Executive Luncheon got to find out directly from  “shark” herself: Barbara Corcoran.

Corcoran charmed guests and supporters much as she does the audience of the hit entrepreneurial show. She talked about her upbringing and her “no problems, only opportunities” attitude, which has served her well as she has formed her multi-million dollar career. She actually wasn’t picked to be on Shark Tank at first, but instead of letting that get her down, she wrote the producer and told him her rejection was her “lucky charm,” and the rest is history. Her resilience and chutzpa meshed well with the mission of JFS.

Jewish Family Service works to reduce hunger and prevent homelessness, provides mental health services to children and families, offers job training and placement for people with significant barriers to employment, and provides support to help seniors maintain a quality of life. Each year, JFS benefits more than 22,000 people.

Find out more at www.jewishfamilyservice.org

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 debbiestafford@aumhc.org

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




6th Annual Empty Bowl Is Full of Support for Love INC of Littleton


When mountaineer Eric Alexander was in the midst of a terrifying fall off a high mountain ledge, he told the crowd at this year’s Empty Bowl fundraiser he was thinking of four-letter words: Stop. Help. Grab. “And a few others,” he added. Miraculously, his descent stopped on a small ledge the size of a speaker’s podium, and he said he knew God had other things planned for his life. Most certainly his stories of faith, courage and helping others inspired 400 guests at this year’s fundraiser for Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) of Littleton.

A show of friendship at the artisan-bowl table

A show of friendship at the artisan-bowl table

On Thursday, Oct. 15, supporters made the trek to The Wildlife Experience for a unique fundraiser that featured a soup buffet along with a message to fill each “empty bowl” with service. The evening began with a welcome table full of hand-crafted bowls created by Colorado artists and a sign asking guests to choose their favorite. The accompanying silent auction and reception spanned all of the gallery rooms with music provide by Close N Encounters. Guests got an early start on their holiday shopping with the option to buy mystery wine, as well as mystery gift cards for a modest donation. Soon, soup buffet stations opened with friendly volunteers serving delicious enticements prepared by Wildlife Experience chefs. Most popular selection? Jazzy jambalaya was a tasty treat to these guests, snapped up early on.

Father Sean

Father Sean

The dinner program was emceed by congenial, engaging host Father Sean McGrath, of St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church. “Giving a Hand Up,” the event’s theme, easily segued from Love INC’s mission of “bringing churches together, helping people in need and transforming lives” to keynote speaker Eric Alexander’s stories of literally giving a hand up to people with disabilities—while summiting some of the highest peaks in the world. Alexander had the crowd riveted with dramatic and humorous accounts of his adventures, some chronicled in his book: “The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest’s Death Zone.”

A spirited live auction led by Tom Kimball, featured an excursion led by Alexander and garnered identical bids by two lucky guests who will each be able to take advantage of the experience. At program’s end, Love INC’s executive director, Rev. Doug McKinney, was honored for his service.

Keynote speaker, mountaineer and author Eric Alexander (left), with Love Inc of Littleton's executive director, Rev. Doug McKinney

Keynote speaker, mountaineer and author Eric Alexander (left), with Love Inc of Littleton’s executive director, Rev. Doug McKinney

Love INC of Littleton is an affiliate of Love INC, a national ministry currently operating in over 30 states. The mission of Love INC, to mobilize the Church to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ, is carried out by more than 12,000 churches at over 155 affiliates across the United States. Church and community partners working together to meet needs forms the foundation of each Love INC affiliate.

Since opening at the end of 2008, the Love INC movement in Littleton has come alongside people in need and formed relationships to give a hand up. LOVE INC’s Transformational Ministries take the next step for those climbing out of poverty and despair who want real life change, guiding and equipping clients with knowledge and practice in changing habits and skills to help them recognize their value in God’s eyes and to humankind. One Love INC client wrote: “Love INC is kind of like a family. When they came into my life, it was like they were the light at the end of the tunnel while I was climbing a very steep mountain.” For more information, please visit: www.loveinclittleton.org.

Firefall Helps to Celebrate 30 Years of Love for DE Task Force


The Douglas County Events Center was rockin’ to the gills on Sunday night as the Douglas/Elbert Task Force brought the famous band Firefall to play some of their memorable hits. It was the celebration of 30 years for DETF, and Firefall did not disappoint, as they romanced the audience with favorites such as “You are the Woman,” “Mexico,” “Cinderella” and “Strange Way.”

The band claimed to be a little road weary as they arrived from a gig in Minnesota, but if that was the case then 100% to them must be warp speed. There was energetic toe tapping, clapping and dancing as the audience remembered the hits from the ’70s and since. Everyone agreed with with lead singer Jock Bartley as he marveled on how it could be 40 years since this music was introduced, and it was every bit, if not more, vibrant Sunday night as the band returned home to Colorado.

Before the concert, special awards were presented by DETF Executive Director Suzanne Greene, including FirstBank, Connie Huydts, Nani and Lee Lindig and New Hope Presbyterian Church. Douglas/Elbert Task Force works to meet the immediate needs of residents of Douglas and Elbert County who are in financial distress and at risk of becoming homeless. They help through troubled times, while maintaining dignity and respect.

In 2012, DE Task Force served 15,684 people–half of which were children. Crisis situations can come swiftly and mercilessly, and volunteers are there to help with a safe environment, a listening ear and a smile.

The Task Force began in 1984, when local parishioners of several Castle Rock churches joined forces to create a centralized location to send people in need. Volunteers were encouraged to help those less fortunate.

Now, 30 years later, $761,491 in food, hygiene and household supplies was distributed last year, with food bank and housing assistance being provided as well. There are also utility assistance programs, emergency overnight lodging, “Santa’s Sharing,” and thrift store projects, a medical mobile van, and much, much more. Task force volunteers provided almost 31,000 hours of service; the equivalent of 23 full-time staffers.

9th Annual PJ Day


Denver’s sub-zero night-time temperatures did not hinder the celebration at the Mayor’s Pajama Day in downtown Denver. In fact, nearly 400 guests attended the 9th annual PJ Day benefiting Denver’s Road Home held Thursday, February 6 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center, 1725 Champa St.

Denver’s Road Home Executive Director Bennie Milner described the goals and successes of the program before introducing Governor Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. The Mayor’s PJ party was launched about 10 years ago by Walter Isenberg, president and CEO of Sage Hospitality and Evan Makovsky, co-founder of NAI Shames Realty.

“The city cannot do this important work alone,” the Mayor said. “The more we stand together, the more powerful of an impact we can make on the community.”

The Mayor’s PJ Day continued a long tradition of guests wearing a wide variety of distinctive, colorful pajama outfits, fuzzy slippers, nightgowns and t-shirts featuring the PJ Day logo or representing supporting non-profits, businesses and organizations. This year, about 80 schools and 70 organizations supported the event by wearing pajamas to school and work.

Among guests on hand were Melanie Lewis Dickerson, Jon Luper and Deb Gray of DRH; Alexxa Gagner of the Denver Rescue Mission; Jim Guttau and Jolinda Cohavi from the Four Seasons; Lenee Koch of LEI Companies; Ramonna Robinson, Jim Licko and Jon Woods from GroundFloor Media; staff from Mile High Behavioral Healthcare; Denver metro area politicos including Arapahoe Commissioner Bill Holen, Aurora City Councilmembers Molly Markert and Debi Hunter Holen, Englewood Mayor Randy Penn and others.

Established in 2005, Denver’s Road Home (DRH) was launched by the Denver Commission to End Homelessness and Denver Human Services with the mission to end homelessness through a variety of programs and partnerships with churches, foundations, non-profits, businesses, government agencies, individuals, and other institutions.

The PJ Party featured a martini luge sponsored by Jim Beam with hors doeuvres, appetizers, cupcakes, and other treats provided by Snooze, the Rialto Café, Second Home Kitchen + Bar and The Corner Office.

Jazz musician Nelson Rangell and his band entertained guests well into the evening as patrons waited for photos at the Black Diamond photo booth or tailor-made gifts produced by the 3D Printing Store.

According to figures from Denver’s Road Home:
An estimated 64% of Denver’s homeless are people in families with children;
One-third of the homeless are working;
The most reported reasons for homelessness in Denver are loss of a job, housing costs and a breakup of a family.

For more information regarding this annual event visit www.pjday.org. To volunteer, donate or support homeless programs and initiatives contact Denver’s Road Home at 720-944-2508 or visit www.denversroadhome.org

Golf and Build: 9th Annual Habitat Golf Classic Shines

Brian Patton and The Jets

Brian Patton and The Jets

With proceeds going toward building homes for deserving families, more than 100 big-hearted golfers also spent the day building friendships—and of course a winning score—at the 9th annual Habitat Golf Classic. Under blue skies with summery temperatures and some winds that could help boost a drive, the tournament was held at gorgeous Glenmoor Country Club on Monday, June 3.

Volunteers from Habit for Humanity of Metro Denver were on hand early to give out tournament gifts and set up grab-and-go breakfast treats to get golfers on the course with confidence and a little caffeine. Foursomes negotiated the rolling hills and occasional sparkling waters, with hole-in-one enticements that ranged from cash to a new car donated by H.M. Brown & Associates. They also had the opportunity for on-the-spot donations buying a long drive from heavy-hitter Rob Oristaglio—his personal fundraising goal for the day was $8,500, and generous golfers stepped up to the monetary challenge.

While a few foursomes were focused on low scores, everyone was able to enjoy a relaxing day—and some hilarious antics—on the course. After their 18-hole rounds, golfers met up at the clubhouse to bid on an array of silent auction items, and sit down to a cool-and-comfortable buffet lunch in the dining room with program and awards emceed by Rich Shube.

Funds from the tournament were earmarked for Habitat for Humanity Denver Metro’s Globeville Redevelopment Project and the newest local Habitat owners, a family of six. Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone, everywhere deserves a decent place to live. The program gives people a “hand up,” not a handout. The organization empowers families who are willing to work hard to achieve their dream of homeownership. Each Habitat homeowner invests hundreds of hours to help build their home, and then purchases it with an affordable, zero-percent interest mortgage. Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver has been building homes and helping area families for 11 years. For more information, please visit www.habitatmetrodenver.org.