Mt. Plains Minority Supplier Development Council Holiday Party & Awards


This year’s Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council (MPMSDC) Holiday Party and Awards Ceremony was held December 14 at the Studios at Overland Crossing in Denver. The MPMSDC’s mission is to support greater participation of minority business owners in partnership with the public and private sector.

Among those present were long-time supporters and event sponsors including: the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Xcel Energy, CenturyLink, Dell EMC & World Wide Technology, Molson Coors, and ConocoPhillips.

Market President Belinda Hooks served as emcee for the evening, encouraging and coaxing winners and the audience to sing their favorite Christmas carols. President/CEO Stan Sena and Board Chair Walt Jennings wished everyone happy holidays and shared the many organizational successes from 2017.

Special thanks and recognition went to volunteer organization leaders Mt. Plains Minority Supplier Development Council Board Chair Walt Jennings and Loretta Lovell, Chair of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC). Jennings, Lovell and many other volunteers have devoted hours of their own time to lead and support the organization’s outreach, mission and programs.

Also present were members of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center’s Executive Director Randy McCall and Business Consultant Marjorie Williams.

This year’s award winners are as follows:

Corporation of the Year
Kaiser Permanente

Minority Business Enterprise of the Year
Software Engineering Services

Suppliers of the Year
CKB Enterprises
Faison Office Products
NM Industrial Services
Street Source Marketing

Advocate of the Year
Clayton Mitchell of Kaiser Permanente

Mt Plains MSDC Champion of the Year
Vernon Howard

The mission of the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council is to provide corporations and government entities with greater access to the goods and services of minority-owned business to develop mutually beneficial business relationships. To join or participate in the Council’s programs, workshops or other events please visit their website at or call (303) 623-3037.



5280 AIR Society: Party at Altitude


Dear 5280 AIR Society and National Jewish Health: You had us at “rooftop terrace.”

This year’s 5280 Party at Altitude definitely lived up to lofty expectations atop DaVita World Headquarters in downtown Denver. Organizers could have just served a few appetizers and wine along with the accompanying incredible view. But instead, they went above and beyond, with a handful of Denver’s trendiest restaurants serving up a top-notch lineup of tasty bites and beverages. Add some fun entertainment and great weather, and it was a terrific end-of-summer soiree.

CBS4 anchor Dominic Garcia presents a $20,000-plus check to Clem Connolly, NJH’s national events director.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, around 400 guests cooled off with a signature cocktail at registration before traveling up to the 14th floor, where festivities flowed seamlessly. The centrally located Sky Bar served up good spirits, food stations lined the space both inside and out, and Tone Play entertained musically before jazzed-up Soul X took the stage. In between, event co-chairs Brian Parks and Ross Chotin spoke about the evening’s beneficiary, Morgridge Academy at NJH, and group co-chair Daniel Feiner talked about the 5280 AIR Society. CBS4’s Dominic Garcia was on hand to present a $20,000 check to Clem Connolly, NJH National Director for Events (Western Region), from the news station for school computers and other necessities.

Matthew Moore and Samantha Rutishauser

From sunset till almost midnight, partygoers were able to mix, mingle and kick up their heels to celebrate summer’s end. The 2016 event raised $130,000, and this year’s party was predicted to top $165,000.

Soul X rocked the house.

One in four Americans suffers from a serious chronic or life-threatening respiratory disease. National Jewish Health is the only institution in the nation dedicated to researching and treating respiratory and related diseases, and continues to make groundbreaking discoveries. Located on the campus of National Jewish Health, 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 and cause frequent absences from regular schools. For many of these children, poverty and instability at home exacerbate an already-challenging medical situation. For more information, please visit

The 5280 AIR (Asthma, Immunology and Respiratory) Society is a group of young leaders in Denver invested in the National Jewish Health mission who want to make a difference. They represent a variety of industries and will lead the next generation of the institution’s philanthropy by sharing their ideas and vision to propel fundraising efforts, drive awareness, and pave the way for up-and-coming young leadership.

Members of the 5280 AIR Society pose for a group shot.

The 5280 AIR Society is modeled after the New York AIR Society, which started in 1991. Some of the members and their families had been treated for asthma, allergies and/or immune system disorders at National Jewish Health. Since the New York group’s inception, it has raised $4 million for the institution. Now, young leaders from across the country are coming together in their own communities to ensure that National Jewish Health is able to continue driving innovation that advances the treatment of respiratory and related diseases. Follow on social: #partyataltitude #5280AIRSociety #njhevents.

Car-nivale Theme Drives Denver Auto Show Preview Party


The Denver Auto Show Charity Preview Party has got to be one of the easiest fundraisers to attend. Step 1: Arrive. Step 2: Indulge in great food and beverages. Step 3: Check out the Denver Auto Show before anyone else. This year, an attack of April snow showers may have dampened a few guest outfits, but a little champagne lifted spirits before the ribbon-cutting opening ceremony.

Emcee Glenn Thayer leads a champagne toast to the opening of the 2017 Denver Auto Show.

On Tuesday, April 4, guests were revved up at the Colorado Convention Center to get a first look at the largest consumer show of its kind between Chicago and Los Angeles … 400,000 square feet of the latest car and truck models. Simultaneously, their attendance at the party helped out The Denver Post Foundation, Clear The Air Fund and National Jewish Health nonprofits. This year’s Car-nivale theme was carried out with the sights, sounds and flavors of a Latin Carnival party, including calypso music, samba dancing, gambling stations, a lavish buffet and Caribbean-inspired cocktails.

Ready for Car-nivale: Bruce and Linda Erley, with Diamond DeJaynes (center)

Glenn Thayer emceed a short pre-opening program that included remarks from: CADA president Tim Jackson; Paul Williamson, of title sponsor UMB Bank; and auto show chair Anthony Brownlee. This year’s VIP chair, Bronco great Rod Smith, told the crowd he was doubly excited about the honor—it was his first time at the show.

VIP chair and Denver Broncos Ring of Fame inductee Rod Smith

Since 1899, National Jewish Health has been at the forefront of research and medicine. We are known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for ground breaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. For the past 20 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish Health the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation. For 118 years, people have traveled to Denver, Colorado seeking our expertise. Learn more at

As Colorado’s media leader, The Denver Post strives each and every day to improve and enrich the quality of life in the community. The newsroom does this by telling timely, relevant stories about people, issues and events that impact the world we live in—educating us and helping us to be informed citizens in our community. Then it’s taken a step further. 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 organization strives to make a significant difference in the community. Learn more at

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. Additionally, CTAF is supporting charities dedicated to helping Colorado’s citizens who suffer from environment-related health issues such as asthma and breathing disorders. CTAF also supports educational efforts for students interested in working in the automotive and technology area. Learn more at

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. For more information, please visit:

First-Ever Comics 4 Critters: Puppies, Laughs and a Prince


Cute puppies, a comedy show…and a prince? Comics 4 Critters knocked it out of the park with a Gotta Love It trifecta in its inaugural fundraiser for the Zoology Foundation and Animal Aid USA. Who says Tuesday nights are boring? On Nov. 15, more than 100 animal lovers made a beeline to Comedy Works South for an event that included a lively cocktail reception with puppies and a prince, auction items, tasty bites (that’s food, not puppy nips!), and heartwarming animal-rescue stories complemented by hearty laughter.

Sarah Bushong-Weeks chats with friends

Sarah Bushong-Weeks chats with friends

The evening began with adult beverages, a silent auction, and photo opps with rescue puppies and animal advocate/“The Bachelor” personality Prince Lorenzo Borghese. Guests adjourned to the showroom for supper favorites ordered off the menu, and comedian-emcee Geoff Young entertained with a spirited comedy set. Animal Aid USA co-founders Borghese and Karen Talbot talked about the organization’s beginnings and its concentrated rescue efforts and successes. A short video detailed the Zoology Foundation’s SBW Rapid Response Rescue program and animal sanctuary near Larkspur, and benefactor Sarah Bushong-Weeks was recognized onstage for her support. Young presided over a live auction, and event chair Sarah Tredennick and committee member/volunteer Elizabeth Baker were honored onstage for their hard work. The evening ended with lots of laughs from Denver-based comic Pam VanNostern, followed by headliner Brad Upton.

Comics inspired laughs like this all evening.

Comics inspired laughs like this all evening.

The Zoology Foundation’s mission is to promote and facilitate educational programs regarding animal respect and welfare, and to support those organizations that work for the betterment of animals. Its animal sanctuary is a safe haven for rescued and rehabilitated animals, and tours are offered for children and adults to learn about and engage with the various species there. Animal sponsorships directly benefit the care of a chosen animal and its friends. Legacy donors underwrite programs and they become an integral team member of the foundation. With more than 100 animals at the sanctuary, volunteer opportunities are available as well. Every donation, 100 percent, goes directly to the care of sanctuary animals and to many more across the nation who need a second chance. To learn more, please visit, or for information on how Zoology Foundation can enhance your life or your event, contact Executive Director Valerie Young at

Rebecca Crofoot and Scotter

Rebecca Crofoot and Scotter

Created in January of 2012 by a small group of animal lovers, Animal Aid USA is a 100-percent volunteer organization dedicated to helping animals. Through its rescue-and-relocation model, the organization has created a lifeline for unwanted, abused and abandoned animals in the southern states while also helping animals and their families in home communities. Each month, volunteers drive more than 1,600 miles from New Jersey to Georgia and back in order to relocate animals from high-kill shelters to receiving rescues and homes. To date, the organization has rescued and provided veterinary care to more than 14,000 pets. In addition, Animal Aid USA raises money to fund spay and neuter programs in low-income communities and raise awareness of the legal animal cruelties happening daily in the United States–such as the gas chamber, cardiac heart stick euthanasia and puppy mills. The members of Animal Aid USA believe that providing the proper education and resources can change the future of unwanted, abused and abandoned animals. To learn more, please visit: