Archway Housing Greenleaf Apartments Grand Reopening


Community Partners gathered November 17 for the Grand Reopening of Archway Housing’s Greenleaf Apartments located at 1571 Beeler St. in Aurora. The metro area’s first significant snow of the season signaled a good omen for the project which took three years and $2 million in community investments to complete.

Greenleaf is a 55-unit multifamily affordable housing community where the residents are enjoying new appliances, lighting, HVAC systems, low flow faucets and a new playground for children for a comfortable, safe and healthy homes.

Among those on hand for presentations was Archway Executive Director Joyce Alms-Ransford and Community Partners: Norman Wright-Adams County; Deb Bristol-City of Aurora; Kim Snetzinger-Colorado Division of Housing; Kirk Huggins-President of Citywide Banks; Mary Anderies-AHS Board President; Robinson Lapp-AIC Board Member.

The renovation project was made possible by the collaboration of Adams County, City of Aurora, CO, Colorado Division of Housing, JV DeSouza, ICast, Case Forensics, Citywide Banks, and Gilmore Construction.

For more information visit:


Spreading Wings Gala Honoring American Fighter Aces


More than 500 guests turned out for the 2016 Spreading Wings Gala Saturday, November 5 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Lowry to honor more than a dozen American Fighter Aces, extraordinary veterans who have distinguished themselves among the elite in aerial combat.

The event honored veteran aviators from all primary branches of the U.S armed forces. Throughout aviation history during World War II, Korea and Vietnam these heroic pilots possessed the skill, fortitude and courage to survive combat missions and return home.

Emcee Amelia Rose Earhart introduced the honorees who were presented with their awards by Wings CEO Greg Anderson. Their heroic stories are told in “Wings of Valor” a book that immortalizes the individual stories of the nation’s top aviators.
Among those honored were:
Col. Bud Anderson
Col. Abner Aust
Lt. Col. Henry Buttelmann
Col. Richard Candelaria
Col. Dean Caswell
Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland
Capt. Richard Fleischer
LCDR Fred “Buck” Dungan
Brig. Gen. Frank Gailer
Cmdr. Lester Gray
Cmdr. Willis Hardy
1st Lt. James Luma
Ens. Donald McPherson
LCDR Billy Watts
Capt. David Wilhelm

For more information visit:

Health Heroes at Work


Breakfast at the Studio Loft at the Ellie was an early morning start to recognize Colorado’s best health charities and also to acknowledge Colorado’s generous companies that support those charities.

The Sixth Annual Health Heroes at Work Breakfast was hosted by Community Health Charities and their generous sponsors. Cheryl Preheim from 9News emceed the event and helped Ed Pierce announce the 2016 Campaign Excellence Awards that were given to Great West Financial, Isle of Capri/Lady Luck Casinos, Johns Manville, Kaiser Permanente, King Soopers/City Market, Pinnacol Assurance and TIAA. Each awardee received a 2016,Super Hero award.

The prestigious Colorado Health Hero of the Year recipient was Dr. Marjorie Laird, co-founder of Second Wind Fund organization. Her mission for her organization, Second Wind was to ensure that children and teens at-risk of suicide always have access to professional mental health counseling. After fourteen years, the organization has served more than 4,000 children and teens.

Keynote speaker was Dr. Larry Wolk, the Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He spoke on children’s health and Colorado’s environmental health while emphasizing his mission, which is to simplify the health system for the citizens of our state.

The Recognition breakfast was an almost perfect event where breakfast was served promptly. The program began promptly and all guests were ready to leave by 9:00 A.M. The food catered by Kevin Taylor was delicious, healthy, and highlighted exquisite French pastries which gave guests all the calories needed for one day. The theme and message of the morning illustrated how dozens of organizations representing thousands of Coloradoans are making a difference in the lives of our neighbors who may be struggling with a chronic disease or disability.

To learn how you or your business can be a part of this organization contact Elizabeth Rosenblum, MPA Director. 303-758-0069. Community Health Charities, 1660 S. Albion Street, Suite 1004, Denver, CO 80222.


CNI Spotlight on Hope Awards at Ritz-Carlton


The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) this year combined its Hope Awards and Gala into one unique event held at the Denver Ritz-Carlton April 15th to honor surviving patients and dedicated advocates representing Denver’s neurological community. The luxury downtown hotel’s front entrance provided a red carpet experience with strobe lights from enthusiastic paparazzi photographers and loud cheers for guests and honorees entering the hotel’s main lobby.

More than 375 guests packed the hotel mezzanine to honor four special honorees affected by organic brain diseases requiring state-of-the-art surgical procedures, chemo therapies and other treatments.

Presenting Sponsor Radiology Imaging Associates made the annual signature event possible with support from Gold Sponsors— Swedish Medical Center, Bill & Leslie Volbracht, Dr. Richard and Mrs. Linda VG Kelley –and Silver Level Sponsors: Triple B, Craig Hospital, TEVA, Rick & Robin Fort, HealthONE and other individual and corporate supporters.

The annual fundraiser raises money to support patients, research, and education for CNI, a 501(c) (3) organization established to enhance the delivery of personalized, comprehensive, and state-of-the- art care through coordinated patient care, education, research, and outreach activities.

This year’s honored guests were:

Exemplary Neuro Patient: Rick Schwartz–afflicted with Parkinson’s–is a former FOX sportscaster who is active in the community through board leadership with Parkinson’s Disease of the Rockies, speaking engagements and the creation of the new statewide “Boxing for Parkinson’s” program.

Exemplary Neuro Patient & Caregiver (inpatient and outpatient): Mandy & Matt Banks were both impacted by brain health issues. At the age of 28 – 8 months pregnant with her first child– Mandy had a hemorrhagic stroke which nearly took her life. After nearly a year of rehab at CNI, Mandy is back at work and busy mothering her infant son. Mandy and Matt have raised more than $50,000 for the American Heart Association, and have been an inspiration to the Denver community.

“Anything Can Happen” Award for a child who has courageously faced a neurological condition: Charlotte Varney is a 9-year-old brain tumor survivor who has undergone numerous procedures and chemo regiments over the past four years to finally reach her current “cancer free” status.

Neuroscientist of the Year: Multiple Sclerosis clinician Allen Bowling, MD, PhD speaks internationally and gives generously of his time and resources to CNI and the National MS Society. He has published extensively in the area of complimentary and alternative medicine for MS patients.

Established in 1988, CNI offers access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art care, support services, clinical trials, outpatient neuro rehab and counseling. CNI is home to 70 physician and research associates who all work to advance clinical trials into new treatments for MS, Parkinson’s and other brain conditions.

Visit, call 303-788-4010 or email for additional information, to volunteer or make a donation.



Hoops & Hoopla

Hoops & Hoopla was the perfect way for any basketball fan to watch the Final Four.  The Infinity Park Event Center featured 1600 square feet of monster screens for the Men’s NCAA Basketball Semifinals.  Guests watched both games, Villanova vs. Oklahoma followed by North Carolina vs. Syracuse, on full room wrap-around screens.  There were unobstructed views of the game no matter where you were in the room.

Presenting Sponsor Greiner Electric raised $60,000 for the event and received the annual MVP trophy.  Greiner Electric has been the title sponsor for ten years.  Tom Tarver, Business Development Director, Greiner Electric, was one of the ten Hoops & Hoopla 2016 coaches who worked hard to make this event a success.  “We look forward to sponsoring this event every year.  It’s very important, especially for the kids (at Morgridge Academy)” said Tom Tarver.  The 2016 Hoops & Hoopla coaches were Denise Cito (CED), Patrick Fairfield (UMB Bank), Peter Fox (Trautman & Shreve, Inc.), Craig Gallogly (CED), William Gregor (Mortenson Construction), Jerry Laflen (BKD, LLP), Elliot Rosenberg, Tom Tarver (Greiner Electric), Ryan Wilson (GE Johnson Construction Company), and Kris Wintroub (Greiner Electric).

450 guests enjoyed a gourmet buffet and open bar.  Forty items were up for bid in the silent auction including: a retreat to Mexico, a first-class ticket with United Airlines, best of Denver experience, tickets the Nuggets, Rockies, and Avalanche games and many more.  When they were’t watching the Final Four games, guests took part in activities including basketball pop-a-shot, air hockey, and arcade games.

The 2016 HOOPS & Hoopla benefits Morgridge Academy for chronically ill children on the campus of National Jewish Health in Denver.

  • Morgridge Academy is a unique, day school program for approximately 90 students in grades K-8 who require medical assistance during the normal school day. The school is approved by the Colorado Department of Education and is located on the grounds of National Jewish Health in Denver. Children who attend the school have medical problems, which have caused frequent absences from regular school.
  • The children at Morgridge Academy suffer from serious respiratory diseases, including asthma. Others have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia and heart problems. Because of their serious illnesses, these children require immediate access to medical attention. The majority of the children are from low-income and minority neighborhoods in Denver’s inner city.

For more information visit

Denver Auto Show Charity Preview Party

The 8th Annual Charity Preview Party is the premier event of the Denver Auto Show and benefits locally-based non-profit organizations.  Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/GM John Elway, and his wife, Paige Elway, were the 2016 VIP chairs. “The automotive industry has played an important role in my life. In fact, some of the first businesses I owned after my pro football career were my new car dealerships.” said Elway.

Ribbon-cutting with John and Paige Elway

Ribbon-cutting with John and Paige Elway

Guests at the exclusive event had private access to the entire Denver Auto Show floor prior to its opening to the public.  The event was held on the show floor at the Colorado Convention Center, which showcases 400,000 square feet of technological innovations of the latest car and truck models.  The 2016 Charity Preview Party provides the first glimpse of the Denver Auto Show, the largest consumer show of its kind between Chicago and Los Angeles.

This year’s theme was “Motown Meets Mile High” which captured the spirit of the Motor City and the sights and sounds of the 1960s-70s. The event began with a Chairman’s champagne toast & industry reception at 7 p.m. to kick off the evening, followed by live entertainment, and vintage cars from the Motown era.

More than 1,000 dealership owners, regional executives, general managers, sales managers, finance directors, service managers and allied suppliers attended this annual fundraising event benefiting CADA’s Clear the Air Foundation, National Jewish Health and the Denver Post Community Foundation.

  • Since 1899, National Jewish Health has been at the forefront of research and medicine known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for ground breaking medical research.
  • The Clear the Air Foundation (CTAF) represents the charitable and educational foundation created by Colorado’s new car dealers.  CTAF supports projects that include the removal of high-emitting, old vehicles from Colorado’s traffic ways to enable replacement with newer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient cars.
  • The Denver Post Community Foundation has invested a value of more than $6.5 million in local nonprofit organizations and events over the past year. Through the grants, sponsorships, in-kind advertising, signature events and volunteerism, the Denver Post Community Foundation strives to make a significant difference in the community.

For more information visit

2016 Ride the Rockies: Carbondale to Ft. Collins


Anticipation ran high for the unveiling of this June’s Ride the Rockies official route through Colorado, a mystery always of interest to amateur and professional cyclists.

The mystery was unlocked at The Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies Preview Party held Saturday, February 6 at the EXDO Event Center. The 2016 route runs from Carbondale to Fort Collins and will host some 2,000 cyclists.

Ride the Rockies Tour Director Chandler Smith, Community Relations Director Renee Wheelock, Event Coordinator Liz Brown, and Denver Post representatives led the proceedings featuring some 275 guests with support from event sponsors Suncor and Odell Brewing, professional cyclists, and various cycling companies. This year’s Presenting Sponsor is ViaWest Inc., a Greenwood Village-based IT and hosting company with 2,000 customers globally.

Now in its 31st edition, the 2016 Ride the Rockies event will run through Independence Pass, ascend Fremont, Tennessee, Vail and Ute Pass and finish through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park by way of Trail Ridge Road–the nation’s highest through-road and among the state’s most scenic byways.

A diverse selection of music was provided by Deja Blu Variety Dance Band led by songstress Liz Valles. And a collection of game stations including Guess the Route, Spin-Off, Silent Auction and Celebrity Bidding for a Big Wheel-style trike race kept guests entertained.

Emcee Dave Towle oversaw the celebrity trike race featuring champion cyclists Alison Dunlap, Timmy Duggan, Chris Carmichael, Ron Kiefel, and Nelson Vails. These cycling legends raced guests in various spin-off contests throughout the evening and served as bartenders serving suds from sponsor Odell Brewing Co. Tour Director Chandler Smith thanked sponsors and guests for their support and Wheelock called out raffle ticket numbers for winners of the door prizes and games. Donna Unger took home a high-end bike donated by Jose Rios from

Representatives from each of the six 2016 community hosts that help support and promote this event this year are:

  • Carbondale  – Andrea Stewart; Executive Director Carbondale Chamber of Commerce
  • Aspen – Sandra Doebler; Special Events Coordinator, City of Aspen
  • Copper Mountain  – Kimberly Trembearth; Copper Mountain Resort
  • Grand Lake – Town Manager Jim White and Samantha Miller, Executive Director of Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Estes Park – Lexy Jacobson, Event Coordinator Town of Estes Park & Elvis the Elk (aka, Matt Lemke)
  • Fort Collins  – Kim Palmer, Director of Business Development, Visit Fort Collins

The 2016 Ride the Rockies route was unveiled at 8:45 p.m. and features a trek from Carbondale to Fort Collins to be conducted over 6 days, 403 miles and 2,000 cyclists trekking through the state. The highlight of this year’s course features a route through Independence Pass, Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, Vail Pass and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Registration for Ride the Rockies are being accepted through February 28 at 5 p.m. MST to participate in this popular event held from June 11-17. All proceeds from Ride The Rockies go to The Denver Post Community Foundation (DPCF) which distributes funds to dozens of Colorado non-profits in the areas of arts, youth, education and human services. For more information visit

The 2016 Ride the Rockies Route Map

The 2016 Ride the Rockies Route Map

Representatives from 6 communities hosting the 2016 Ride the Rockies

Representatives from 6 communities hosting the 2016 Ride the Rockies

Chandler Smith, Chris Carmichael, Alison Dunlap, Ron Kieflin, Nelson Vails, Timmy Duggan

Chandler Smith, Chris Carmichael, Alison Dunlap, Ron Kieflin, Nelson Vails, Timmy Duggan

Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council Holiday Party

The Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council celebrated its Holiday party on Thursday, December 10 at Zio’s.  Guests enjoyed live music, food from Tony P’s Pizza and won raffle prizes.  American Facility Services Group President/CEO Jerry Natividad was the sponsor of the event.  “What I love about this organization is this is about business, when we network and interact and we’re able to share business cards with one another. At the end of the day, we end up doing business with one another, that’s what is phenomenal about being part of the Council.” said Jerry Natividad, President/CEO of American Facility Services Group.

Jerry Natividad talking to the guests

Jerry Natividad talking to the guests

The mission of the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council is to provide Corporate America and Government entities with greater access to the goods and services of Minority-owned business in order to develop lasting and mutually beneficial business relationships. As an affiliate regional council of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) serving Colorado, Kansas, Western Missouri, and Nebraska we provide a direct link between Corporate America and Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American owned businesses.

The Mountain Plains MSDC was originally incorporated in 1974 as Minority Enterprises, Inc. after executives from corporations in the Rocky Mountain region came together at the Denver Chamber of Commerce to discuss the future of minority business in Colorado. Meeting on a monthly basis, these individuals formed the Executive Task Force, which eventually became the Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council.

(l-r) Ron Montoya, Jerry Natividad, Stanley Sena, Preisdent/CEO Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council

(l-r) Ron Montoya, Jerry Natividad, Stanley Sena, Preisdent/CEO Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council

Today there are over 130 local corporations and government entities involved with the council, and over 500 minority-owned businesses certified with the Mountain Plains MSDC. Several of these certified MBEs have grown to the level of Fortune 500 companies and achieved Corporate Plus status with the NMSDC. Through the extensive certification process, corporate member support, free networking events, educational programs and supplier diversity initiatives MPMSDC strives to develop minority-owned businesses to their full potential. For more information, please visit:

Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Awards 2015


Minoru Yasui was most well-known for his courageous stand against military orders that resulted in the forced removal and imprisonment of over 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II, but his entire life was committed to the defense of human and civil rights, and justice for all.

Eight recipients throughout the year receive the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer award, due to their stellar contributions in the spirit of Minoru Yasui’s vision and commitment. Values include Vision, Integrity, Passion, Courge, Perseverance, Advocacy, Inclusion and Compassion.

A program of the Denver Foundation, the Minoru Yasui award recipients are honored each year-end with a presentation and celebration, which this year was at the Marriott Denver Tech Center on Monday, December 7.

The 2015 recipients are:

  • January: Frank Doerger
  • March: Sheila Benintendi
  • April: Deana Lehman
  • May: Vikki Stevens
  • June: Dick Wisott
  • August: Janis Mourer
  • September: Gary VanderArk
  • October: Abelardo “Abe” Herrera

The program was supplemented by some angelic songs by Denver’s First Lady Mary Louise Lee. Awards were bestowed on recipients by Derek Okubo, Minoru Yasui’s successor and Executive Director of the Human Rights & Community Partnerships for the City and County of Denver, and Committee Chair Jaclyn Wilmot.

Congratulations to all recipients and thanks to them for all of their volunteer work.

"Be Beautiful Be Yourself" Fashion Show Gala

Celebrated actor/musician Jamie Foxx joined a host of celebrities at the nation’s single largest fundraiser for Down syndrome in Denver.  Foxx and his sister DeOndra Dixon, who happens to have Down syndrome, joined actors Beau Bridges (Masters of Sex), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), John C. McGinley (Scrubs), Terrence Howard (Empire), Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story), Supermodel Beverly Johnson, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson, players & cheerleaders from the Denver Broncos and Nuggets teams, and several other VIPs as they escorted brilliant and beautiful models with Down syndrome on the runway. 

Howard with DeOndra Dixon, Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador

Howard with DeOndra Dixon, Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador

Emceeing the evening’s festivities was EXTRA correspondent and syndicated DAYTIME host Jerry Penacoli and Kim Christiansen of Denver’s 9News. Other stars who have supported the gala include Quincy Jones, Alec Baldwin, Helen Hunt, Laura Dern, Kyra Phillips, Tim Shriver, Patrick Kennedy, and Jeff Probst, among many others.

The 7th annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fashion show gala is a fundraiser for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, benefitting the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome on the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  1,300 attendees enjoyed dinner, a star-studded fashion show, red carpet interviews, and a live auction boasting a trip to the Super Bowl, an OMEGA Ryder Experience, a Viennese Getaway and many more.

Each year, Global presents the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award to an individual who has tirelessly advocated for the rights of the differently-abled. This year’s recipient was American Horror Story actress and Down syndrome self-advocate, Jamie Brewer. Past self-advocate award recipients include Luke Zimmerman, Karen Gaffney, Tim Harris, Sujett Desai, and Brad Hennefer.  And other past award recipients have included Quincy Jones, Jamie Foxx, John C. McGinley, Beverly Johnson, Kyra Phillips, Tim Shriver, and Patrick Kennedy.

Jamie Brewer accepting the 2015 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award

Jamie Brewer accepting the 2015 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award

Global’s self-advocates who strutted their stuff on the runway included: 2015 Ambassador Clarissa Capuano, Jamie Foxx’s sister, aspiring dancer and former Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy recipient  DeOndra Dixon, aspiring model and internet sensation Gigi Cunningham, and 18-year-old Devon Adelman who attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Beating the Odds” summit at the White House earlier this year, among several others.

Celebrity Escorts & Models on the runway at the end

Celebrity Escorts & Models on the runway at the end

Down syndrome is the least-funded genetic condition by the National Institutes of Health. The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest single fundraiser benefiting people with Down syndrome, aims to change this statistic. Last year’s event raised $1.9 million, and the funds help support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home focused on improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research and medical care.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself fashion show is the single largest fundraiser for Down syndrome in the nation. Held annually each October in observation of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, the celebrity gala attracts over 1,200 guests each year, and has raised nearly $10M since launching six years ago. For additional information, visit

Follow Global Down Syndrome Foundation on Facebook & Twitter @GDSFoundation.

Blacktie HYM party


Since it’s inception Blacktie has interviewed over 450 philanthropists for its popular Have You Met Feature.  Every two years, Blacktie throws a party to honor these individuals and to present the Georgia R. Imhoff Volunteer Extraordinare Award.

The 2015 incarnation of this event was held at the Lime Restaurant at the Pavilions in downtown Denver.  Thanks to the generosity of hosts Curt and Pam Savage Sims, guests were treated to a complimentary margarita when they arrived and great appetizers and a taco bar.  Lime has a wonderful space for events, the tv screens were showing pictures of the individuals that have been featured as Have You Met interviewees over the years.

At 7:30 Blacktie chief Kenton Kuhn introduced the Blacktie team and introduced the prior recipients of the Georgia R. Imhoff Award.  Ryta Sondergard was given the award in 2009, Beth Klein in 2011 (Beth was unable to attend)  and Paul Tamburello in 2013.

Stacy Ohlsson then talked about the many charitable activities that the 2015 honorees were involved, and it’s several pages long.  She then presented the Gerogia R. Imhoff award on behalf of her late mother and Blacktie co-founder,  to John Farnam and Paul Heitzenrater.

John Farnam spoke to the crowd about their philosophy of involvement.

New this year was a financial gift made to two of the organizations that Farnam and Heitzenrater support:  Excelsior Youth Center and Metro CareRing.  Kudos to Maureen Regan Cannon, Nancy Koontz and Stacy Ohlsson for their financial gift that Messrs. Farnam and Heitzenrater are matching.

Nancy Koontz, Blacktie’s ace reporter who has personally conducted over 300 Have You Met interviews then introduced the musical entertainment;  chanteuse Pam Savage Sims (wow, can she sing) and well known keyboardist Eric Gunnsion.

Seen in the crowd……  were a boat load of people!  Too many to mention individually here, but see the pictures below to get an idea.  Thanks to photography supervisor Pam Cress for the work she has done over the years to make sure that nonprofit stories are told in such a meaningful way.

As with prior events, lots of fun and new connections were made.  People were buzzing about how to harness all of the power and productivity that was in the room.

Walk of Dreams Gala

Operation Walk Denver is restoring the joy of walking.  It began with a small team doing a small number of joint replacements and evolved to today’s team of over 100 healthcare volunteers who have cared for over 1,200 patients.  This is the 10th annual Walk of Dreams Gala.  Operation Walk Denver is remembering the hundreds of patients whose lives have been touched during the 16 mission trips to countries such as Panama, Guatemala, and Honduras.  “Operation Walk Denver is the dream of a group of healthcare providers committed to providing free surgical care for those with debilitating arthritis in developing countries. Our missions have provided us with great personal satisfaction and the ability to give back to those in need.” said Dr. Douglas A. Dennis, Executive Director.

“Our biggest reward on these mission trips is the patient’s smiles.  I would say most of the patients have never seen a doctor at all and they are just crippled with a debilitating arthritic disease,”  said Jim Boyle, Medical Coordinator of Operation Walk Denver.

Operation Walk is a not-for-profit volunteer medical services organization that provides free surgical treatments for patients in developing countries and in the United States. These patients suffer from debilitating bone and joint conditions, such as arthritis, and do not have access to medical care. Operation Walk also educates local orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other health care professionals on the most advanced treatment of hip and knee joint diseases. Founded in 1994, Operation Walk teams have operated on hundreds of patients in Russia, Cuba, Nepal, China, the Philippines, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico and the United States.

In addition to giving many people a new hope and ability to walk again in other countries, Operation Walk Denver also strives to help people in the Denver community who have few resources and are in desperate need of joint replacement surgery.  During the last three years, the Denver chapter has performed 47 free hip and knee replacements through the partnership with Operation Walk USA.  Through the generosity of donors, their dreams have come true.

For more information visit


"Born To Be Me!" Arc Thrift Stores' Gala Event

“Born To Be Me!” is Arc Thrift Stores’ annual star-studded gala.  The event honors the spirit and individuality of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – as well as the individuals and businesses who support this important community.  This year’s theme is “Starstruck!”  “It’s a fun way to get the word out about the great work that we’re able to get done through our stores and the donations we collect,” said Arc Thrift Stores President and CEO Lloyd Lewis.

Cocktails, an elegant dinner, fashion show, live music, and a silent auction made for an amazing night.  Former Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez and his wife Claudia are co-chairs of the event and were on hand to MC the live auction.  KUSA’s TaRhonda Thomas is the event’s emcee.

Three “Heroes of the Year” – each with a disability and each nominated by their peers – were honored. This year’s Heroes are:

  • Vicky Kaiser, a fitting room attendant at Arc Thrift Stores’ Hancock store in Colorado Springs.
  • Dusty Lee Miles, a men’s clothing hanger at Arc Thrift Stores’ Pueblo store.
  • Garret Ringie, a donation attendant and unloader at the Green Mountain Arc Thrift Store in Lakewood,

As the major fundraiser for arc Thirft Stores, this event gives the children and adults served by The Arc Chapters an opportunity to lead independent, fulfilled, happy and productive lives in our community.  All of the items sold at the auction were refurbished from items purchased at Arc Thrift Stores. These items are purchased for mere dollars at one of the stores and then up-cycled and given new life and new purpose.

Since 1968, arc Thrift Stores has been the funding arm for thirteen Arc Chapters across the State of Colorado. Arc Thirft Stores currently own 22 thrift stores along the Front Range, and employ more than 200 individuals with disabilities, making it one of the largest integrated employers of people with disabilities in Colorado.  Arc Thirft Stores offer enrichment programs, job training and placement, as well as social activities for our employees with disabilities, known as Arc Ambassadors.




Pikes Peak United Way 2015 Community Celebration Luncheon


The Pikes Peak United Way in Colorado Springs held its Community Celebration Luncheon June 4 at the Broadmoor Hotel International Center to honor its supporters. More than 650 attended the event to listen to keynote speaker Rich Harwood, president and founder of the Maryland-based Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, and to officially recognize key volunteers, individual and corporate donors from throughout the Colorado Springs metro region.

KKTV/Channel 11 anchors Dianne Derby and Don Ward emceed the event with presentations made by Pikes Peak Board Chair Kent Fortune followed by organizational program updates by PPUW President/CEO Jason Wood who thanked presenting sponsors Federal Express and U.S. Bank. As part of its mission in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak United Way serves more than 35 partner agencies. This year the PPUW annual community campaign raised $5.7 million.

Keynote speaker Richard Harwood enthusiastically advocated for a more entrepreneurial attitude in dealing with community challenges. He urged leaders, politicos and guests to focus on three things including engaging people around shared aspirations, learning to build things together, and “paying close attention to stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our communities.”

This year’s award winners are:

• Volunteers of the Year: Dr. Lance Bolton, Jerry Forte, Tom Neppl, Jan Weiland
• Spirit of Caring Award- Small Company: Nor’wood
• Spirit of Caring Award- Medium Company: Peoples Bank
• Spirit of Caring Award- Large Company: USAA
• Leaders in Collaboration Award: Sarah Tracy, Bob Hughes

Award-winning actress and community advocate Sally Hybl received the S. Jerrard Smith Award which honors individuals whose work changes the lives of many and improves the quality of life in the community. Last year’s recipient of the Smith Award–Pam Shockley, Chancellor at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs–introduced Hybl who thanked her colleagues, guests and family for their support. Hybl is a lifelong Colorado Springs resident and President of the Cheyenne Mountain School District’s Tradition of Excellence Foundation.

Founded in 1922, Pikes Peak United Way is dedicated to addressing the underlying causes of problems and creating lasting change throughout El Paso and Teller counties. Through its Successful Kids, Strong Families, Tools for Living and Community Wellness programs PPUW targets the most immediate and critical problems to provide support in lasting and meaningful ways that benefit the Colorado Springs community.

For more information visit:



All Prepared for the Derby in Denver

Guests at “A Night at the Derby” channeled their inner southern belle and gentleman style. The Ritz-Carlton ballroom was bursting with women wearing hats as beautiful as the many services Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains provides to the region. In addition to festive attire, the Mint Juleps were as tasty as any served at Churchill Downs.

“Originally were we going to have the event on Derby weekend, but plans changed. We loved the theme and here we are,” said committee member Karla Kalahar, who wore an adorable dark hat with pink and white roses.

From the podium, 9News personality Denise Plante, who emceed the event, gushed about the opportunity to dress in Derby style as she showed off a stunning ivory hat.

Director of Refugee and Asylee Programs for LFS in Colorado Springs Floyd Preston looked dashing in his Derby wear. He also extended enthusiasm for the evening on another level. “Without this type of fundraising it would be impossible for us to walk with the vulnerable. It’s vital to our work. I am so grateful to everyone who came out to support LFS.”

The more than 230 guests eyed an enticing array of silent auction items. Shelly St. John skillfully led the live auction, soliciting bids for diamond earrings, a night at the Ritz, and a trip to Africa, among others. World-renowned musician, and Denver native, Gayle Leali played beautifully during the cocktail hour and dinner, mixing in jazz, blues and R&B.

President and CEO of LFS Jim Barclay had the honor of recognizing all those who received awards at the event. Award recipients included Saint Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM; True Value Regional Distribution Center, Denver; Peak Vista Community Health Centers at Myron Stratton, Colorado Springs; and Emmett and Katherine Cruson.

LFS does huge work in the Rocky Mountain Region. Their services encompass adoption, care for the elderly, foster care, prevention services, refugee and asylee programs and disaster response. The faith based, non-profit human service agency helps children and families during their most challenging times and has been committed to serving all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or age since 1948. Highlights of the many lives touched by the organization last year include refugee resettlement and asylee services to 1,362 individuals, foster care to 233 domestic children through 147 therapeutic and traditional foster homes, respite care to 72 children in 47 families, services to 317 older adults and caregivers, adoption placements of 45 children and services to 50 adoptive and waiting parents.

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in traditions, such as the beautiful garland of roses presented to the winner. LFS, through its 67 years of endurance, deserves a garland of roses. From the starting gate until today, they faithfully race to provide compassionate and meaningful care to those most in need.

Colorado Automobile Dealers Association


The best and brightest–automobiles and people–were on hand at the 7th annual Colorado Automobile Dealers Association Charity Preview party on Tuesday night.

The Colorado Convention Center was abuzz with automobile dealers, aficionados, sponsors and supporters. Preview party Chair TJ Ward of the Denver Broncos, Denver Auto Show Chair Gregg Stone and CADA President Tim Jackson were on hand with other dignitaries to cut the ribbon to kick off the show. Proceeds benefit three charities: The Denver Post Foundation, National Jewish Health, & Clear the Air Foundation.

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association was founded in 1933 by a small number of Colorado dealers organizing to protest a federal excise tax that would raise the price of vehicles for their customers and hurt what relatively few sales were present at that time. The association was officially incorporated in 1938 and has grown considerably since then. It now represents 260 new car and truck dealers throughout the state to their various publics, including: the United States Congress, the Colorado General Assembly, various federal and state regulatory agencies, city councils, the media, and the public.

If you would like to attend the show, it runs from April 8 through the 12th, and information and tickets can be obtained at

The Adoption Exchange 27th Annual Fantasy Ball


On November 22nd, the 27th Annual Fantasy Ball, benefiting The Adoption Exchange, drew the who’s who of Denver to the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. It was evident that guests were passionate about supporting the cause, as the room exuded a feeling of eagerness to make a difference.

Governor John Hickenlooper addressed the crowd, recognizing National Adoption Day and commending The Adoption Exchange for its work to connect children in foster care with loving families. His positive words affirmed the critical role the organization plays in Colorado.

This year’s honoree was the Regal Entertainment Group. Since 1998, Regal Entertainment Group has made a difference in the lives of children waiting in foster care for homes. Ray Nutt, Regal’s Senior VP of Business Relations, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.

As the silent auction closed, bidders kept a close eye on their favorite items. There were over 150 items, including jewelry, get away packages and sports memorabilia. Popular items included a bib autographed by Lindsay Vonn and a stunning 14k gold, peal and diamond ring by William Crow Jewelers.

The live auction was led by Auctioneer Sean Allen. Allen animated the crowd with enticing packages like a one week stay in the village of Seillans in Provence, France and a fireside chat at The Fort Restaurant with Dr. Jonathan Kedrowski, a legendary mountaineer.

The Adoption Exchange recruits families for children who have survived abuse and neglect, supports adoptive families throughout every phase of the adoption process, and trains child welfare professionals. To learn more, please visit

Traveling the Silk Road

Exquisite, Exotic, Intriguing: Words to describe this year’s Museum after Dark Gala. The theme, Traveling the Silk Road, also celebrated the opening of Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s newest exhibit which takes visitors on an extraordinary journey along the legendary trade route stretching from China through Central Asia to the Middle East and the Roman Empire.

Event Co-Chair Susan McIntire weaved through the room, her glowing smile as beautiful as her gold gown. She and her co-chair husband Lee McIntire, along with super supporters, threw a fantastic party for 700 people.

“I only had one sleepless night since we started planning last February,” shared Ms. McIntire. “The Board of Trustees involvement was amazing. They all played a part in making tonight such a success.”

Décor Chair Merrill Shields and her team did an incredible job creating the sense of stepping into Asia. From the very first steps, everything tied back to traveling the Silk Road. Abby, a tremendously big-eyed, scrumptiously soft camel, greeted guests. Next, attendees wound their way down a silk curtained hallway, passing belly dancers, a graceful, twisting contortionist and a sword swallower, who made onlookers impulsively gulp, before stepping into a beautiful bustling “marketplace” of sorts. These travelers bartered the modern way, using tablets to place bids on a vast collection of unique and interesting silent auction items ranging from alluring adventures to gems and minerals similar to the museum’s own.

What humbly began more than 100 years ago has grown tremendously. The museum’s newest wing provides thousands of additional square feet, thus allowing the museum to showcase more than one temporary exhibit at a time. The public can expect more of that from one of Denver’s most notable attractions.

“In 2015, we will have five traveling exhibits in one year,” explained Director of Marketing Amanda Bennett. “That just couldn’t be done in the past. It’s exciting.”

The goal for the evening was to raise $800,000 with 100 percent of the funds going toward educational programs. The mission of the museum is to be a catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science envisions an empowered community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world.


Colorado National Philanthropy Day


The National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon held November 14 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts honored a dozen individual and organizations devoted to philanthropy throughout the state of Colorado.

Award winners for the annual fall event presented by the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) enthusiastically gathered to honor award winners in a dozen categories.

Governor John Hickenlooper praised the award winners for their commitment to philanthropy and told of his own families early belief in donating 10% if possible and volunteering for the less fortunate whenever possible. Hickenlooper emphasized the strength of what he called the 3-legged stool of philanthropy that requires partnerships between civic groups, businesses and government.

Representing the Presenting Sponsor this year was Sheila Bugdanowitz, CEO of the Rose Community Foundation, who welcomed guests to the event along with comments from Event Chair Aleah Horstman. AFP Colorado Chapter President Luanne Williams engaged with supporters and described AFP’s history and goals for 2015.

7NEWS Emcee Mitch Jelniker kept guests entertained with humorous editorial commentary throughout the luncheon including thanks to Outstanding Small Business Award winners Bachus & Schanker for their generous TV advertising.

The Outstanding Youth Award went to Allison Winn who described her launch of The Stink Bug Project, a program of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation which provides well-trained, loving companion dogs to the families of children with serious illnesses. Winn, a cancer survivor herself, received a standing ovation for her commitment to others and inspirational story.

The Award Winners are as follows:
Outstanding Large Business
Ball Corporation, Broomfield
Outstanding Small Business
Bachus & Schanker, LLC, Denver
Outstanding Foundation
Community Foundation of Northern Colorado
Fort Collins
Outstanding Philanthropist
Conrad Nelson, Buena Vista
Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy – Fundraising
Jan Weimer, YMCA of Metropolitan Denver
Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy – Grantmaking
Sheila Bugdanowitz
Rose Community Foundation
Outstanding Service Organization
Hugo Improvement Partnership Hugo, Colorado
Outstanding Volunteer
Arden (Denny) Gray
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
Jamie Angelich, Greenwood Village
Outstanding Youth
Allison Winn, Denver
Outstanding Youth Group
Parker Kids’ Club, Parker
Lifetime Achievement Award
Charles D. Latuda, Trinidad

For more information regarding the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Colorado Chapter please visit



Aspire. Act. Achieve

CWEE is the best thing that could have happened to me.”

Alicia Ramirez, CWEE 2014 Outstanding Alumnae Award Recipient

Alicia Ramirez is endearingly bashful. She doesn’t want to share about herself, especially in a boastful way. But, she does not hesitate to credit The Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) for dramatically changing the course of her life. She was one of three 2014 Outstanding Alumnae Award Recipients who shared their stories at CWEE’s Annual Awards Luncheon and Fundraiser. The gathering, aptly titled Act. Aspire. Achieve., inspired all of its nearly 300 guests.

Award honoree Effie Henderson shared how CWEE helped her step on a path of sustainable self-sufficiency and home ownership. She radiates grace and gratitude as she talks about being able to buy her home. And she is ready for whatever life deals her. Her motto: “Every obstacle in your life prepares you for greater things.”

Honree Kathy Mojica courageously revealed that “being poor wasn’t the worst of it. It was watching my children experience it.” Today, she lights up as she talks about how well her children and grandchildren are doing and she credits CWEE for helping her put the pieces in place for that success. She spoke about an exercise she had to do when she first enrolled in the program. “We had to look in the mirror and say ‘I love you’ to our reflection. That seemed so weird. I didn’t want to do that. The other women and I looked at each other, all thinking ‘What did I get myself into?’ And yet, what a difference it made! Little did I know I would learn so much more than just about employment. I learned I had value.”

Becca Treece summed up the emotion of the day. “To hear firsthand the strides these women made to achieve self-sufficiency in sustainable ways is inspiration to us all.”

Brandi Miller put it another way. “These women are warriors, powerful, triumphant and action-oriented. CWEE’s participants are not ordinary. They have a hunger, a drive to succeed. I believe our participants can accomplish anything. Then, they move further forward by giving back to their community.”

The Honorable Elbra Wedgeworth, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer at Denver Health And Hospitals Authority, inspired everyone in attendance as she spoke about her journey, which includes being the only person who has served in all three branches of city government: City Council, City Auditor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office. “I never thought the world would be waiting for me, but it is. And it’s waiting for you too.”

Other honorees included Volunteer of the Year: Chamber Connect Leadership Program; Employer of the Year: Christian Living Communities; Community Partner of the Year: WorkLife Partnership; Corporate Partner of the Year: KeyBank; Foundation Partner of the Year: Season To Share, A Campaign of Denver Post Charities, A McCormick Foundation Fund

Since 1982, The Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) has been fostering personal and professional transformation for low-income individuals through integrated services designed to build confidence, develop customized skills, and facilitate career advancement. CWEE’s program combines services such as: adult literacy, intensive case management, family support, job readiness training, and job placement: to remove barriers to becoming successfully employed, and to place individuals in jobs long-term. CWEE’s holistic program is a solution that reduces generational poverty in our community through cultivating an educated and skilled workforce and self-sustaining families.




SofTec Invitational Golf Tournament Full of Fun and Adventure


The phrase “snake in the grass” took on new meaning for golfers at the second annual SofTec Invitational Golf Tournament with a den of rattlesnakes to negotiate (i.e., avoid) on one hole. But all managed with flying colors during a day of great golf, giveaways, hearty chow, refreshing adult beverages, prizes and a little hula-hooping thrown in for good measure. More than 100 supporters hit Lone Tree Golf Club on Friday, July 18, to play for the benefit of OpenWorld Learning (OWL).

(l to r): Mike Torian, Chad Michaels, Jennifer Lewan and Jeff Pelot...BEFORE Hole No. 15!

(l to r): Mike Torian, Chad Michaels, Jennifer Lewan and Jeff Pelot…BEFORE Hole No. 15!

The day began with a breakfast buffet on the patio before an 8:30 shotgun start. Each foursome included a high-level business executive, offering a chance for some professional networking during the round. Word quickly spread about sponsored holes with giveaways, as well as those with free alcoholic concoctions to battle the summer sun.

Hole No. 15 was party central, complete with freshly made Moscow Mules, a couple of hula hoops and 1980s tunes blasting from an adjoining house—not coincidentally, the home of SofTec CEO and OWL board member Hemal Jhaveri. OWL’s CEO Piep van Heuven took to the golf course to welcome golfers and thank each one for participating.

(l to r): Neil Sanderlin, Ben Barnett, Clint Marley and Troy Oaks

(l to r): Neil Sanderlin, Ben Barnett, Clint Marley and Troy Oaks

Golfers were also buzzing about Hole No. 14, one that came with a warning about rattlesnakes hanging out in some brush just off the fairway, about 200 yards from the tee. When one golfer hit into the spot, his teammates jokingly reminded him of the snakes and he came back with, “I’ve always wanted a pet.” But when he went to look for his golf ball, it was with club in hand.

Taylor Costello blasts a drive down the fairway.

Taylor Costello blasts a drive down the fairway.

Golfers received a boxed lunch on the course and their 18 holes of play was followed by an informal cocktail reception. There, low scores and pro-worthy shots were rewarded, and “…missed it by this much” stories abounded.

OpenWorld Learning is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports children’s school success by tapping the power of digital technology and peer teaching to develop leadership and ignite a love of learning. Using interactive technology developed at MIT, programs help children invent, engineer, create and design through fun and challenging, project-based learning. The organization is committed to bridging the digital divide and developing a community of energized learners.

OWL was founded by Chris Myers in 2000 to provide a fun and challenging after-school educational program centered on teaching advanced computer technology to Denver area students. Since then, the organization has proudly served more than 5,000 students with over 550,000 contact hours, including 523 students who received more than 66,474 contact hours during the 2011-2012 school year. For more information, please visit:

Mi Casa 2nd Annual Women's Empowerment Luncheon


Recognizing and acknowledging Latina founders and program alumni were one of the themes at this year’s Mi Casa Women’s Empowerment Fund Luncheon. 7NEWS Anchor Anne Trujillo, a former Mi Casa board member, welcomed more than 150 guests for the 2nd Annual Women’s Empowerment Luncheon at Mi Casa offices in Denver’s historic Baker neighborhood.

Executive Director Christine Marquez-Hudson reviewed the history, achievements and challenges during her six-year tenure and announced a new 3-year $690,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation to integrate business and career training programs.

Marquez-Hudson recognized early founders and directors including Carol Hildebrand and Ermalinda Monge. Among others in attendance were: Veronica Barela, Patricia Barela Rivera, Angelena Gleason, Roweena Naidoo, and Mary Ricketson, Teri Chavez, Jeri Barajas, Martha Rubi Byers, Angela Montoya Bricmont and Mi Casa board members Benita Duran, Amy Kahn, Debbie Trujillo.

Keynote speaker Kim M. Rivera shared her immigrant journey from Latin American orphan to global Fortune 500 corporate executive.

Needless to say, it wasn’t easy. Without friends or family with intimate knowledge of higher education scholarships, grants and student loans, she had to figure things out for herself. Arriving fresh off an airplane in North Carolina the wide-eyed freshman asked the cab driver to drop her off at Duke University. The driver scoffed and explained that the 9,000-acre campus was comprised of more than 200 buildings.

Thanks to family support and many helpful mentors along the way she navigated the campus, class work, and workload to compete with the best of the best, eventually graduating from Duke and Harvard Law School.

Today, Rivera serves as the Chief Legal Officer for DaVita Healthcare Partners, and has remembered the men and women throughout her life who helped her through the undergrad and law school maze of competing priorities. Rivera told the audience to learn quickly how things work, set goals, and strive to “pay it forward” and lend others a helping hand when possible.

Mi Casa works to advance the economic success of Latino and working families by expanding opportunities for educational, professional and entrepreneurial advancement. For more information on Mi Casa visit




May the 4th Be With You

May 4 is officially Intergalactic Star Wars Day. In Denver, the place to be for the celebration is Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Count on it like wisdom from Yoda, each year the site will host Star Wars Day at the Hangar. This year 2,500 people came out — many in costume — to honor the saga, take a few cuts with the event’s own version of a light saber, blast a few shots at a storm trooper, and take their place behind the controls of an authentic X-Wing Fighter.

“The first year we hosted a thank you event for 30 people. It’s now grown to thousands coming through the door today,” confirmed Mathew Burchette, curator for the museum.

He then gave all the credit for the success of the day to three groups: Rocky Mountain FanForce, The Rebel Legion and 501st Legion. The first is a social group for Star Wars fans to collectively share their affinity for the series. The other two are official Lucasfilm approved costuming groups. The Rebel Legion is recognized as the world’s premier “Good Guy” Star Wars costuming organization. The second, well, as you can guess, represent the “the dark side.”

One dedicated parent braved the 80-degree day to come as Chewbacca, the gaint hairy Wookie from the movie. This was his second time attending with his son. “It’s a super father-son thing to do. We did it last year and this year we decided to dress up. It’s a lot of fun,” smiled the man as he hugged his miniature Hans Solo partner.

One mother, son duo took in all the sights and beep-beep sounds. “He’s a huge Star Wars fan. He has posters in his room from when he was very, very young.” Her now full-grown son even took a lesson from an X-Wing pilot on how to stun the character.

The whole Wasinger family came out decked for the day. “We look forward to this each year,” replied the costumed-clad mom.

Rocky Mountain FanForce, the guiding organizers of the event, generously gave out “play” light sabers to fans only after they successfully answered a trivia question.

“I’ve watched Star Wars since the day I was born,” expressed 10-year-old Kyala, in between casting questions to those wanting to earn the saber. “My dad still collects Star Wars action figures.”

Maureen Kiefer explained her two girls, Lucy and Kate, were set for all photos with pre-defined movie scene poses. “They are obsessed with Star Wars. One day we watched and they’ve been hooked ever since.”

“How many people can say they worked on a real X-Wing?” said Jeff Rodriguez referencing the rare and rewarding opportunity of maintaining the craft. He, along with 10-15 other volunteers, donate hours to keep the craft in top shape. His group works to preserve the space vehicle along with keeping it up-to-date with electronics.

As Yoda would say, “Patience you MUST HAVE my young padawan.” The event will come back around next year and when it does, entertain your inner Storm Trooper with a trip to Wings Over the Rockies.

May the 4th Be With You.