Chelsea Hutchison Foundation's Casino Royale Fundraiser


The Casino Royale Gala is the 8th Annual event benefiting the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation (CHF), a non-profit supporting individuals and families living with epilepsy, a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions.

The annual fundraiser was held Saturday, April 22 at the The Marriott Denver South in Lone Tree with emcee Deb Sheppard welcoming guests to the program followed by live auctioneer, Adam Kevil, and comments from Executive Director/Founder Julie Hutchison and board member Toni New. Speaker Jennifer Pressey thanked guests for their support and described how the organization guided and helped she and her husband cope directly with epilepsy in their family.

CHF is named after Chelsea Hutchison, who passed away April 19, 2009, at the age of 16 after suffering an epileptic seizure. Parents Julie and Doug Hutchison founded the organization to raise awareness of SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) and use it to provide comfort and hope to individuals and families living with epilepsy. The organization helps provide monitoring devices to kids living with epilepsy and also funds response dogs which provide vital support such as calling for help, bringing emergency medication to the patient & bracing a fall.

Special thanks went to the gala committee: Lindsay Armstrong, Ashlee Baldwin, Stacie Bowman, Sam Dudley, Shellie Jacobucci; and to event volunteers: Doreen Christian, Kathy Erdman, Sara Foster, Michelle Gorbatjuk, Paula Padavic, Michelle Smith, and Mary Stone.

An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy. It is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from prolonged seizures, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.
To volunteer, make a donation or support CHF please visit or by email:

Beaux Arts Ball Celebrates 20 Years With Revolutionary Flair


When you’re one of the most prolific fundraising events in town—one that typically raises $2 million—how do you celebrate your own 20th anniversary? This year’s Beaux Arts Freedom Ball rose to the occasion, infusing its annual big, bold bash with American Revolution spirit, to the delight of 1,200 guests—all supporters of the programs and services of beneficiary National Jewish Health. The evening included Broadway-worthy performances drawn from “Hamilton,” including costumed dancers, singers, rappers and flag-wavers, along with a dance-inducing live band. And that was just the call to dinner.

Spirit of ’76

On Saturday, Feb. 25, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum was transformed into a Colonial village for a cocktail reception full of period décor, live characters from “Hamilton,” servers in Paul Revere hats … all with red, white and blue touches, of course. One side of the room was bordered by a floor-to-ceiling tarp, hiding the dining area. Just after 7 p.m., it was dramatically lowered after a song-and-dance presentation, and guests followed performers to their seats. Several partygoers hit the dance floor with the Bobby Attiko Band blaring out a musical invitation, even as dinner service was beginning.

John and Carrie Morgridge, recipients of this year’s Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service

Board chair Blair Richardson began the program singling out well-known people in the audience, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Ken Salazar. Honorary chair Barry Hirschfeld was recognized onstage, and Michael Salem, M.D., president and CEO, talked about National Jewish Health’s singular programs and services. Carrie and John Morgridge were recognized as recipients of the 2017 Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service. The couple are vice president and president, respectively, of the Morgridge Family Foundation, which has supported major projects at NJH, as well as other noted Denver institutions. The award is the highest honor bestowed by National Jewish Health, and recognizes individuals who show leadership that has impacted the reputation, service science or mission of the institution. This year’s grand marshals were recognized from the stage: Debbie and Michael Feiner, Cathey and Richard Finlon, Mary Lou Blackledge Kortz and Donald Kortz, and Julie and Brent Morse.

The Bobby Attiko Band kept everyone dancing before and after the dinner program.

A live auction segment with auctioneer Christian Kolberg included a trio of package experiences: Bon Jovi and Faith Hill/Tim McGraw concerts, a trip to the CMA Awards in Nashville and an ultra-luxe excursion to Napa Valley. At the program’s conclusion, guests had the opportunity to once again take over the dance floor to kick up their heels, urged on by the Bobby Attiko until the building had to lock its doors.

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, NJH today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and a treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and their families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge comprehensive, coordinated care.

Salem writes: “Through your participation in this event, you share in (NJH) success, ensuring that important programs continue to transform lives, our scientists make groundbreaking discoveries to cure diseases and our physicians can care for all patients regardless of ability to pay. At National Jewish Health, we are focused on innovation and the future. The work we do today will shape health care tomorrow. And the future of patient care lies with the kinds of teamwork for which we are known. Pulmonologists consult with rheumatologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists and allergists to make the right diagnoses and to develop a complete picture and plan for their patients. As a result, we diagnose diseases earlier and we also focus on prevention and precision medicine.

“We would appreciate the opportunity to show you in person what makes National Jewish Health the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Please let us know if you are interested in a Behind the Scenes visit.” For more information, please visit

Colorado Ballet Firebird Gala Features Vivid Performances


Like the song says, “everything is beautiful at the ballet,” and it was epitomized by this year’s Colorado Ballet Firebird Gala. Moving dance performances, colorful décor, a sincere tribute to artistic director Gil Boggs, sumptuous food and beverages, and after-dinner dancing onstage at Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Each is a distinctive experience on its own. But everything combined into one evening? It was a fundraiser to remember.

Ballet mistress/choreographer Sandra Brown, with husband Gil Boggs, artistic director

The evening began with a cocktail reception at Chambers Grant Salon, before guests took their seats inside the theatre. There, after a short welcome from Boggs and Mayor Michael Hancock, they were treated to the dancing talent of Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov with Firebird Pas de Deux. Their lyrical performance was a bittersweet moment, as both confirmed onstage afterward that this is their last year. The anticipated debut of ARROW Five Years Out followed, as 10 dynamic dancers performed the work choreographed by Sandra Brown.

Maria Mosina

Gala chair Denise Sanderson presided over a tribute to Boggs, honoring his first 10 years of guiding the success and growth of the Colorado Ballet as artistic director. Boggs was surprised onstage by family members from Atlanta, who traveled to Denver for the gala. A live auction, run by Doug Tisdale, included unique items such as a private dinner for 10 prepared by renowned Denver chef Frank Bonanno, as well as a stunning portrait of Maria Mosina, created by Darrell Anderson. After a paddle raise featuring generous donors, guests adjourned outside for a sumptuous dinner prepared by Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House. The evening ended with dancing on the Ellie stage with DJ Larry.

Reps from presenting sponsor ARROW Electronics

Gala chair Sanderson wrote: “Many of our dancers’ careers have been made possible through scholarship opportunities that allowed them to pursue their dreams to become professional dancers. Increased support of our Academy Scholarship Fund will help the next generation of dancers reach their potential as well.

With the mission of Every.Body.Dance, Colorado Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement department is our hidden gem. Far-ranging programs serve in-need students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners in Colorado. Student matinees have always been one of my favorites – imagine the Ellie Caulkins Opera House filled with 2,000 energetic and excited students, many of whom are experiencing their first live performance. One first-grade student commented to his teacher: “This is way better than TV!”

For schools that lack funds for transportation or that are located in rural areas precluding a field trip to Denver, Colorado Ballet has begun an innovative program to live stream performances directly to the classroom, thereby removing barriers to experiencing the arts.

Increasing the capacity of community engagement and opportunities for Academy students to be supported by scholarships are two ways Colorado Ballet is planning for the future – Five Years Out, as ARROW says. I hope you will reach deep and support these outstanding programs…” For more information on the Colorado Ballet, its programs and donor opportunities, please visit:

17th Annual Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala


When USTA Colorado honors its own, the event goes beyond an awards ceremony and live auction. It’s all about the tennis family sharing a great meal, along with stories of athleticism, integrity and generosity … and it concludes with a kick-up-your-heels party to cap off the evening. Anyone who still thinks tennis is an elitist sport should consider the guests at this year’s Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala, who represented the continuing growth of the game’s participants, spanning age, gender, ethnicity and physical ability. Throughout the event, guests and speakers expressed that in participating in tennis, they learn more than sports skill sets, but also acquire positive life skills. Game. Set. Match.

Hall of Fame inductees, Class of 2016 (l to r): Don Willsie, Dennis Ralston and Dave Benson

On Friday, Jan. 20, more than 400 tennis aficionados gathered at the Marriott Denver Tech Center to celebrate the induction of four luminaries into its Hall of Fame: Dave Benson, Mary Jane Metcalf Donnalley (whose posthumous award was accepted by her granddaughter Eryn), Dennis Ralston and Don Willsie. Others were honored for their feats on the court, from winning a national title to exhibiting sportsmanship and grace during competition. Off-the-court good deeds were singled out as well, from coaching underserved youth to promoting the game. Vicky Matarazzo received special recognition for her work coaching Special Olympics athletes.

USTA Colorado board member Angela Finan, with Lew Sowell

Andy Zodin and Christine Chang served as co-emcees for the awards program, and auctioneer Shelly St. John revved up the crowd during a live auction that included an opening and a closing weekend at the 2017 U.S. Open. Two high bidders were able to jump on the special opportunity. The evening ended with a lively after-party to the sounds of Saddle Rock.

Dollars raised at the annual gala benefit the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (a fundraising arm of USTA Colorado), which promotes the physical, emotional and social development of all youth to aspire to become active, productive and responsible citizens. The organization strives to put a tennis racket into the hands of any child who wants to learn and participate in the game. USTA Intermountain Colorado has been promoting the growth and development of tennis since 1955, and support of the CYTF enables USTA Colorado help create the next generation of tennis players in the state. The Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame display is permanently housed on the first floor of Gates Tennis Center in Cherry Creek, in Denver, and is open to the public during normal hours of operation for the center. For more information, and to read bios of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, please visit:

JFS Celebrates 38 Years With Iconic Yana, Raises $1.1 Million


You have to be extra-special to be known by one name—and to earn an exclamation point…well, that’s reserved for only a revered few. Over the span of a five-hour period during her farewell gala, retiring Jewish Family Service President and CEO Yana Vishnitsky heard Gov. John Hickenlooper declare Dec. 10, 2016 as Yana Vishnitsky Day in Colorado, and received the proclamation and the flag that flew over the State Capitol. She also was presented with an exquisite, custom award from JFS, received a standing ovation from 600 supporters and was told that the local headquarters will now be called the Yana Vishnitsky Administration Center. The celebration began in earnest after she was hoisted onto the chair prior to dancing the Hora with celebrating guests.

This scene was repeated throughout the reception as guests flocked to greet honoree Yana Vishnitsky.

This scene was repeated throughout the reception as guests flocked to greet honoree Yana Vishnitsky.

A must-attend event that took the place of the organization’s annual Real Hope holiday fundraiser, Yana! A Farewell Celebration was held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. The gala, full of warmth, sincerity and fun, not only celebrated Yana’s 38 years of service to JFS, but also became the organization’s first million-dollar fundraiser, with a $1.1 million tally.

Yana’s retirement tribute began with a cocktail reception and red-carpet entrance, plus lively strings sounds by Spinphony. Guests had the opportunity for their own red-carpet photo experience before the Cossack Men dancers led everyone into the Centennial Ballroom for a casually elegant dinner setting served family style. Those who spoke onstage included: board chair Jane E. Rosenbaum, Rabbi Steven Foster, new JFS president and CEO Shepard Nevel, event co-chairs Geri and Meyer Saltzman, co-chair Andy Miller who took the mic to describe Gov. Hickenlooper’s “Yana Day” proclamation, and a short talk by Yana’s cousin Robyn Tsesarksy.

The Cossack Men performance had everyone grabbing their phone for photos.

The Cossack Men performance had everyone grabbing their phone for photos.

Yana urged the crowd to donate freely, especially with a matching-funds gift to $100,000 donated by Elaine and Max Appel. After Yana accepted the JFS award and spoke to the crowd, she was hoisted onto the chair before a spirited Hora dance. The evening ended with dancing and desserts, and guests were each given a bottle of Russian vodka to take home as a memento.

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. The organization helps seniors live independently at home, provides quality mental health counseling, offers training and job placement to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other people with 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 and incomes. Its mission: To enhance well-being to those in need throughout the greater Denver community by delivering services based on Jewish values.

Yana Vishnitsky and granddaughter Zoe

Yana Vishnitsky and granddaughter Zoe

Jewish Family Service is recognized as a premier human services agency serving metro Denver and Boulder by providing innovative and professionally delivered services that empower participants to overcome difficult challenges and live fuller, more meaningful lives. JFS exists to fulfill one of the most important Jewish values: that of Tikkun Olam, the obligation to make the world a better place. For more information, please visit:

Yana was interviewed by KOA Radio about her incredible story immigrating from the former Soviet Union to Denver via JFS. For the link to that broadcast, please visit JFS on Facebook:

2016 Heart of Hearts Gala: Crusade Against Cancer


The 2016 Heart of Hearts Gala: Crusade Against Cancer welcomed more than 600 guests to the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum to benefit programs provided by the Rocky Mt. Healthcare Foundation (RMAH) which encompasses five hospitals in the Denver metro region.

The annual Gala raises funds for Cancer Care Center programs at Avista, Castle Rock, Littleton, Parker and Porter Adventist Hospitals.

This year’s theme and dress attire featured the Indiana Jones adventure movies full of around-the-world exploration in exotic locales in Latin America, India, Egypt and other faraway places. Reflected in the menu buffet were a diverse selections of culinary favorites from South America, Egypt, China, India and Italy.

RMAH Director Christopher Carey and Parker Adventist Hospital President/CEO Morre Dean thanked guests for their continued support of the Foundation work. Later in the evening Sam Huenergardt, CEO of Parker Adventist Hospital, and  Leanne Hartford, COO of Parker Adventist Hospital, presented the annual award for the a pioneering physician named after Henry M. Porter who arrived in Denver in the 1860s and built telegraph and railroad lines to connect Denver to the East Coast. Porter also provided funding to build what would become Porter Memorial Hospital.

Honored this year with the Henry M. Porter Award was Dr. Christine Rogness, a general surgeon practicing at Parker Adventist Hospital.

Adventist hospitals strive to identify cancer symptoms early and provide awareness to post-treatment and care and compassion to those who live with a cancer diagnosis.  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:

Susan Ford Bales Highlights SSF's 40th Anniversary Gala


In 1976, the United States was celebrating its bicentennial year with patriotic pride (and some disco fever), led by President Gerald Ford and the nation’s First Family. At the same time in Denver, Stout Street Foundation, a comprehensive addiction-treatment center, was opening its doors to serve the recovery community. For Stout Street Foundation’s 40th anniversary gala, there was no better choice for a keynote speaker than Susan Ford Bales.

There were lots of hugs at the VIP reception.

There were lots of hugs at the VIP reception.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, nearly 400 supporters, all dressed to the nines, headed to Infinity Park Event Center for an uplifting evening displaying the reality, courage and successes of recovery from addiction. The evening began with a VIP reception with Susan Ford Bales, and as people continued to arrive, hugs and warm greetings multiplied all over the building. Guests had the opportunity to bid on an array of niceties at a silent auction table that remained busy from open till close.

An uplifting dinner program emceed by Joe Bevilacqua featured a short video covering 40 years of history and personal success stories at Stout Street Foundation, followed by one program graduate who spoke to the crowd summing up his own experience. Board chair Joe Girardi addressed the crowd and President/CEO Christopher Conway read two letters of hope and gratitude from a program resident’s 9-year-old daughter—one to her dad, the second to the venue.

Margaret McConnellogue (left) and Sara James

Margaret McConnellogue (left) and Sara James

Susan Ford Bales had the crowd riveted as she spoke with emotion about her beloved mother Betty Ford’s battles with both breast cancer as well as addiction, along with its impact on the family. She detailed Ford’s journey of addiction recovery, beginning with the family’s initial intervention. Bales told the crowd her mom (who passed on in 2011 from natural causes) would expect nothing less than a completely candid account of the experience, and she was happy to comply, especially if it would help even one person. Bales has gone on to numerous philanthropic and community-service endeavors, including work as ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and serving on the board of directors for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Teri Smith, vice president of development, vividly showed the audience an exercise in the infectious, positive power of recovery that had everyone on their feet. A group of lucky guests won prizes in on-stage drawings, and the evening ended with guests kicking up their heels to dance music and catching up with friends.

(l to r): Dave Spieth, Father Tom Dowd and Derek Espinosa

(l to r): Dave Spieth, Father Tom Dowd and Derek Espinosa

Stout Street Foundation was incorporated in 1976 by Bradley R. Lucero Jr., Lillian Potter and Jim Doyle. Lucero was in a halfway house in Denver when his good friend, Father Tom Dowd, recommended he visit a long-term drug and alcohol therapeutic community in California called Delancy Street. Impressed by what the program offered, Lucero set out to open his own version of a therapeutic community. From the start, Stout Street adopted the motto of “People Helping People Help Themselves.” Over the years SSF has grown and expanded from a small house in Denver on Stout Street with just a handful of residents to a newly refurbished hotel in Commerce City accommodating more than 125 residents in a self-contained community. Stout Street Foundation’s mission is to provide a supportive therapeutic community for addicts and alcoholics to help them help themselves so they may return to society as recovering, productive and responsible citizens. For more information on Stout Street’s array of programs and services, please visit, or call 303-321-2533.

Aurora Public Schools Foundation Gala


The inaugural opening of Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace was launched with the Aurora Public Schools Foundation Gala held Saturday, October 22, with more than 300 in attendance.

Educators, students and supporters gathered at The Stanley Marketplace, in the former Stanley Aviation headquarter, a beautiful mixed use facility located along the Aurora-Stapleton neighborhood border at 2501 N. Dallas Street.

The APS Foundation was established in 1987 to support Aurora area students pursue college and higher educational opportunities. The Foundation meets its goals through College and Career Centers for high school students, initiating direct philanthropic support throughout the Aurora Schools district, and administrating and generating support for scholarship programs.

The annual Gala featured an open-air cocktail reception with music by the Aurora Symphony String Quartet, live/silent auctions and a three- course meal by Kevin Taylor Catering. Aurora Superintendent Rico Munn and APS Executive Director Jay Grimm welcomed guests and supporters while remarks were made by CSU Global President/CEO Dr. Takeda-Tinker followed by comments by teacher/mentors and top college-bound students. The Rangeview High School Chromatics provided a lively singing performance during dinner.

The Title Sponsor was CSU Global Campus with National Honor Society Sponsors: Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Northrop Grumman, University of Colorado Hospital and Nurgan Palani. Special thanks went to Kevin Taylor Catering and The Stanley Marketplace for hosting at their spacious new venue in Aurora.

The mission of the Aurora Public Schools Foundation is to cultivate community investment to enrich student opportunity. For more information visit:


12th Annual Mapleton Education Foundation Gala


More than 500 guests attended the 12th Annual Mapleton Education Foundation Gala “Opportunity Knocks!” on Friday, October 21st at the Westin Westminster.
Special thanks went to Presenting Sponsor Mountain States Toyota and Media Sponsor Telemundo Denver as well as Lead Sponsors, Colorado Lighting and Crescent Point.

This year’s event featured a silent and live auction, dinner and inspirational stories from top Mapleton students. Emcee Neal Browne kept things moving with several speakers including Co Executive Directors Channing Puchino and Hilary Sontag and presentations by Board President Beth Yohe and Superintendent Charlotte Ciancio. Doctoral Candidate and Speaker Rebecca Vartuli described her educational path in high school with the help of mentors and teachers who helped her reach her PhD degree expected this Fall.

Event proceeds support Mapleton Education Foundation programs including awards merit-based post-secondary scholarships to high-need Mapleton students; ensuring exceptional classroom instruction for all students; mini-grants to teachers with a plan to inspire students awards grants to students and programs ranging from eye exams for uninsured student athletes to entrance fee waivers at games and performances.

The Mapleton Education Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of business and community leaders, parents, teachers, staff and alumni who generously dedicate their time and talent to ensure that every Mapleton student has the resources and opportunities essential for success. 

For more information visit:

2016 Children's Gala Raises $1.9 Million


Big Head Todd and the Monsters may have drawn in some of the guests, but an inspiring program featuring an engaging family turned the focus squarely on Children’s Hospital Colorado. Since it began 39 years ago, Children’s Gala has been known for outstanding entertainment, thoughtful insights and generous hearts, and this year was no exception. 9News anchor Cheryl Preheim and her family shared their positive experiences at Children’s Colorado, describing with grace and gratitude son Josh’s open-heart surgery and baby Joseph’s week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There were laughs, too, as Joseph grabbed the mic and continually marveled at balloons on the ceiling. Men around the room could relate as three-point basketball shooter Josh sheepishly admitted that maybe tux-wearing was a tad uncomfortable.

Big Head Todd, a photo opp and a big smile say it all.

Big Head Todd, a photo opp and a big smile say it all.

At the Hyatt Regency Denver (Colorado Convention Center), 1,400 guests began the evening with an elaborate reception that featured a silent auction, martini bar, appetizers galore and musical entertainment by The Beaus. Guests had the opportunity to donate a Bummer Bear to Children’s Colorado patients, and for a $100 donation could also select an envelope with a hidden surprise and the added bonus of sending an encouraging personal message to youngsters treated at the hospital. After a sit-down dinner, Children’s Colorado president and CEO, Jena Hausmann, and Steve Winesett, the foundation’s president and CEO, told guests about the praiseworthy work of the hospital. They were followed by event co-hosts Denise O’Leary and Kent Thiry, who spoke about their own personal experiences with Children’s Colorado. Preheim’s family charmed the entire building with their real-life success stories at the hospital, and Cheryl showed guests son Josh’s “Brave Conquers Fear” t-shirts, which the family plans to deliver to Children’s Colorado patients.

2016 gala co-hosts Kent Thiry and Denise O'Leary

2016 gala co-hosts Kent Thiry and Denise O’Leary

Karen Sorbo presided over a live auction that featured four coveted merchandise and entertainment enticements, and bountiful bids on those packages spilled over into more on-the-spot, high-dollar donations. All in all, the 2016 fundraiser garnered about $1.9 million for Children’s Hospital Colorado, adding to the previous $34 million total raised at galas over the past 39 years. Guests celebrated with a spirited concert by Colorado’s own Big Head Todd and the Monsters, followed up with tunes by DJ LO. Coffee, after-dinner drinks and sweet treats were served just outside the ballroom at evening’s end.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has defined and delivered pediatric health care excellence for more than 100 years. Founded in 1908, Children’s Colorado is a leading pediatric network entirely devoted to the health and well-being of children. Continually acknowledged as one of the nation’s outstanding pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and ranked on its Best Children’s Hospitals 2016-17 Honor Roll, Children’s Colorado is known for both its nationally and internationally recognized medical, research, education and advocacy programs, as well as comprehensive everyday care for kids throughout Colorado and surrounding states. The hospital’s family-centered, collaborative approach combines the nation’s top pediatric doctors, nurses and researchers to pioneer new approaches to pediatric medicine, providing treatment for a full spectrum of pediatric specialties. For more information, please visit and connect with Children’s Colorado on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

5th Annual Expressions of KINDness Gala


The Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND) 5th Annual Expressions of KINDness Gala was held Friday, Sept 16 at the The Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver. This year’s event was called “Denim and Diamonds” and included bolo ties, fancy leather vests, stylish cowboy boots and other western wear.

KIND is the oldest dental charity in the United States and the recognized leader in promoting the oral health of Colorado’s children. The evening featured auctioneer Gary Corbett and live music by the Narrow Gauge band with key Sponsors: UMB, Henry Schein, Dr. Jennifer Thompson, Commerce Bank, and Patterson Dental. Guests enjoyed a silent auction and an engaging cocktail hour before the event’s festivities.

Executive Director Julie Collett and Board President Kerrie Bunce– VP/Relationship Officer at sponsor UMB Bank thanked guests and sponsors for their support. The evening of celebration was dedicated to honoring individuals who have supported KIND’s mission through volunteerism, providing services, financial support and partnerships. The annual Gala also recognizes families who have benefited from KIND services in the communities the organization serves.

This year’s Award Honorees are:
Randy and Alexa Kowalczyk
Dr. Nellie Barr & Dr. Sean Whalen
Mental Health Center of Denver
MHCD-Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being
• KIND Family Award Winner Isaiah Alfonso with parents, Pete & Dawn

KIND is always looking for volunteers. Whether you’re a dentist that would like to spend a day in one of our clinics or a supporter that wants to give their time to helping with an event, please contact the KIND office at 303-733-3710 or visit the web site at

Rocky Mt. MS Center 2016 Gala


The Rocky Mt. Multiple Sclerosis Center 2016 Gala attracted more than 400 guests at the Denver Sheraton Downtown on Sept 10 with Keynote Speaker Kim Ball, who described her challenges with the disease that afflicts about half a million people in the U.S. alone.

RMMSC CEO Gina Berg, Event Chair Adrienne Fitzgibbons, Board Chair Brett Hanselman thanked sponsors and guests for a strong turnout with Presenting SponsorDenver Life Magazine– Publisher Kristin Miller and husband, Shawn, both on hand to enjoy the celebration.

MS is a progressive and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. The cause of MS is unknown and there is no known cure. The severity of MS varies from person to person and various treatments are available to slow disease progression.

Keynote Speaker Kim Ball was diagnosed with MS just as she was starting her family. Although she was warned by doctors that going through with a pregnancy could worsen her MS, she was determined to live her life as she had planned. Today, her daughter Sienna, 10, is by her side and together they share their story of living with the challenges of the disease day by day.

Special Thanks went to this year’s sponsors and supporters:
Title Sponsors
• University of Colorado Hospital & Rocky Mountain MS Center at University of Colorado
• Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
Platinum Sponsors
• Biogen
• Colorado State Bank and Trust
•The Denver Post
• Genzyme
• The Johnson Family

For more information about programs, volunteering or making a donation, please visit


National Repertory Orchestra Gala: Carnaval Night in Rio


This year’s benefit Gala for the acclaimed National Repertory Orchestra titled “Carnaval Night in Rio” was held June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel with nearly 300 music-loving guests in attendance.


NRO Guests enjoy the Carnaval in Rio event held Saturday, June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver

In recognition of the 2016 Olympics to be hosted in August in Rio de Janeiro, the dining and reception area featured a tropical theme executed by John Tobey Design and provided a colorful neon pastel spectrum of lights with palm trees and Rio’s legendary beachfront. Dancing entertainment was provided by Samba Colorado featuring Kebrina DeJesus and Jontae Piper.

Based in Breckenridge, Colorado, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) is an intensive fellowship that attracts the best of the best from leading conservatories and music schools. Among this year’s sponsors are: MDC – Richmond American Foundation, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Climax Molybdenum, First Western Trust.

Carnaval Event Chair Wendy King and Julie Chandler, NRO Director of Marketing and Development, were on hand with staff and volunteers as were NRO Music Director Carl Topilow, wife Shirley, and daughter Emily.

Reception P1070275 Reception

Guests enjoyed the silent auction

Welcoming guests were Orchestra CEO Doug Adams and wife, Pam, and several Board Members including President Patrice Lara, Nancy French, Janice Ward Parrish, Pam Wiegand, and Pam Piper Yeung. Also attending were long-time NRO supporters  Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake, Bonnie and David Mandarich, Lynn and Lisa Taussig, Karen Frisone, Steve and Carmen Wiest and many others.

Every year the NRO provides an opportunity for bright, young musicians to perfect their craft. Auditions are held for nearly 1,000 musicians between the ages of 18 and 29 in about 25 different cities across the country to fill the 88 tuition-free spots of the orchestra. Although few of the musicians have met or played together previously they quickly adapt and learn to play together in outstanding synchronicity as an orchestra.

During the eight-week season, NRO musicians perform more than two dozen concerts which is about the same as a full-time orchestra performs in a nine-month season. To review the this year’s season, purchase tickets, volunteer or to get more information visit the NRO web site at


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.



MCPN 12th Annual Green Tie Gala


The Metro Community Provider Network 12th Annual Green Tie Gala attracted more than 500 to the Hyatt Regency DTC, Saturday, March 12.

The evening started with a silent auction and cocktail reception in the Hyatt atrium. Later, Denver Broncos player Ebenezer Ekuban and John Reid, VP of Fund Development, welcomed guests and recognized MCPN’s continued health service to under-served individuals throughout the Denver metro region. Emcee Karl Mecklenburg, a popular speaker and 12-year veteran of the Denver Broncos, introduced guests to the evening’s festivities.

President and CEO Dave Myers thanked sponsors, presented awards and recognized the commitment and dedication of the MCPN board including Barbara Shannon-Bannister, Janis De Baca, Lynn Ramey, Carrie Reid, Jean Sisneros, Frank Taylor and Marion Walls.

Reid spoke about how he was grateful for the decades of support from individual donors and more than 30 corporate sponsors including title sponsors– Quest Diagnostics and Lutheran Medical Center, and premier sponsors: Community First Foundation, Cigna, CoBiz Insurance, Colorado Community Health Alliance, Colorado State Bank and Trust, CBS-Complete Business Systems.

In March the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded about $1.75 million to five Colorado health centers to expand the delivery of substance-abuse services, with an emphasis on Colorado’s prescription drug and heroin crisis.  As part of those federal funds, the Metro Community Provider Network received $310,000.

“As our family of supporters grows, so does our outreach to thousands of individuals, children, and families,” said Reid. “Today, we have grown to 24 health center locations and are slated to expand to four new locations in 2016.”

The evening ended with a boost of evening energy and with guests staying late into the night to enjoy one of Colorado’s best-known rock bands, Chris Daniels and the Kings.

Founded in 1989, MCPN partners with the community to provide medical and health education services to the under-served members of society. the organization provides medical, health-related services and health education services to residents of Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams and Park counties and the cities of Lakewood and Aurora.

For more information please visit

One Great Evening: Gatsby and Kenny G

Volunteers Lupe Reyther and Julie Collett cooed over the opportunity to see Kenny G. And tonight was their night! The artist would soon take the stage as the headline performer at Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation’s 35th annual Heart of Hearts Gala. Wings Over the Rockies proved the perfect venue for the Gatsby-themed celebration. Indeed, it was a party that could have been thrown by Gatsby himself.

“It’s all exciting,” said Laura Fitch, Director of Events for RMAHF/Centura Health, who was celebrating her 12th gala. “Every year it gets better and better. There is so much open space here. It’s a huge canvas on which to design the event.”

Go big is easily done at Wings, providing ample room to mix, mingle and decorate. Dramatically tall centerpieces and palm trees filled in the dining area, while the large stage fit the big sound that came from Spinphony, a band of four super-model beautiful virtuosic string players and their DJ. The women rocked violins and a cello, thus earning their description of offering an “elegant, high energy, rock, classical, pop” mix of music. Guests enjoyed naming the artists the band took on: Britney Spears, Pharell Williams, Pachelbel’s Canon, and Led Zeppelin, to name only a few. The Hewit Charitable Trust generously signed on as the evening’s Double Platinum Heart Sponsor and Entertainment Sponsor.

Prior to music there was mystery. The Mystery Boxes proved a popular fundraising draw as guest paid $50, $125 or $250 to pick a box tied to a hidden surprise.

“Sometimes we give people clues, which is fun for all of us,” said RMAHF Director of Annual Giving Cheryl Torres with a playful grin. “If someone hints they’d really like to find jewelry I casually say, ‘Maybe you want to pick from over there,’” referencing a particular spot amongst the nearly 100 boxes. Along with the mystery boxes, the silent auction table beckoned bidders with options on spa days, an array of tools, and other personal high-end items. After individuals claimed their reward, they could “Gift Check” it so they didn’t need to find room around their seat. “This is a great perk,” said one smiling patron handing over an enormous bundled basket.

Lynn and Dr. David Ehrenberger were honored with The Henry M. Porter Award. They are a dynamic duo in medicine. For more than a decade, the pair worked with the Centura Global Health Initiative (GHI) and established “Medicine in Motion,” a mobile clinic providing primary care services to homeless families in Westminster. Their work with GHI has focused on yearly medical mission trips to the Peruvian Amazon basin with teams of Centura associates, nurses and providers. Lynn continues to work at Avista, in both pre-surgical testing and as an employee health nurse, and is on the Avista Adventist Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. Over the past 15 years David has gradually transitioned from private practice to various leadership roles within Centura and, since 2004, he has been the Chief Medical Officer at both Avista and Integrated Physician Network.

The funds raised at the gala support the continued development of the unique breast cancer programs at Avista, Castle Rock, Littleton, Parker and Porter Adventist Hospitals. The funds also will be used to provide continued access to all men and women for high quality breast cancer screenings as well as diagnosis and treatment. Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed. Nearly 40,000 of those people will die from the disease. Next to lung cancer, breast cancer is the most deadly form of cancer for women.

The mission of the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation is to raise funds, manage assets, invest endowment funds to maximize their value and administer gift fund accounts in accordance with the donors’ wishes for Avista, Littleton, Parker, & Porter Hospitals and for Porter Hospice.




Spreading Wings Gala 2015: Honoring the Legacy of Apollo 13


This 2015 Spreading Wings Gala honored the Apollo 13 astronauts and Flight Director Gene Kranz and recognized several other astronauts and aviators at the annual signature event held November 14 at Wings Over the Rockies Museum at Lowry.

Emcee and Aviatrix Amelia Earhart of 9News welcomed some 800 guests and oversaw a live auction during the evening with music provided by Spinphony, a 5-member pop fusion string group. Guests heard the story of NASA’s finest hours in overcoming challenges and reaffirming America’s destiny to explore space.

Wings Over the Rockies President/CEO Greg Anderson and board member John Barry, CEO of Denver Metro Boys & Girls Clubs, thanked the crowd for their support and provided an update of new construction of the Exploration of Flight facility to be built at the Centennial Airport in Englewood and have experience- and flight-based activities, including a “tower of flight” and four levels of observation decks.

Jeppesen CEO Mark Van Tine introduced aerobatics pilot Sean Tucker, who later in the evening oversaw a question and answer session with Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz and Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise. Near the stage stood a replica statue of their Apollo 13 comrade Jack Swigert, who passed away of cancer in 1982.

The Apollo 13 mission was commanded by James Lovell with Jack Swigert serving as Command Module Pilot and Fred Haise as Lunar Module Pilot. It was intended to be the third moon landing for the US. The spacecraft launched on April 11, 1970, at 1:13 Central Time from Kennedy Space Center but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later making a moon landing impossible. Thanks to the training, quick thinking, ingenuity and perseverance of those in Houston and in space, the astronauts returned to earth safely on April 17, 1970.

Gene Kranz’s infamous words of “Failure is not an option” pretty much exemplified Houston mission control’s efforts to rescue the astronauts who were losing oxygen after an oxygen canister exploded well into the spaceflight. As told in books and a popular movie the three astronauts used the lunar module as a lifeboat and improvised objects within the spacecraft to help filter carbon dioxide and maintain a dwindling supply of battery life to function.

Guests were shown movie clip moments from the 1995 “Apollo 13” movie with astronauts Lovell and Haines and Kranz recounting their thoughts and feelings during those stressful days.

Through Saturday, February 13, 2016, Wings Over the Rockies will be hosting the Apollo XIII exhibit which honors the legacy of the Apollo XIII mission through a vivid, historic journey of artifacts and pictures selected by curator Matthew Burchette and research librarians. Items include a battery charger and a 70mm Hasselblad film magazine flown on the Apollo XIII mission and many artifacts from the Apollo XIII movie starring Tom Hanks. The exhibit is free for Wings Members but General admission rates apply for non-members.

For more information visit

Bright by 3 - Goodnight Moon


Over the Moon

For twenty years Bright by Three (formerly Colorado Bright Beginnings) has been helping parents and other loving caregivers of babies and toddlers ages 0-3.

This year’s 20th Anniversary Goodnight Moon Gala was a celebration to recognize the success in the community and the on-going efforts of Denver’s bright babies who benefit from Bright by Three. The Denver organization has strived to make parenting less stressful and small children happy since 1995.

Thanks to many in the last 25 years, especially Brad Butler and Roy & Bea Romer, who believed that learning begins on the first day of life. Children throughout Colorado have been set on a path to successful learning and living as their parents learn the importance of good nutrition, health care, developmental stages and language development; talking and reading, beginning at day one.  The funds raised through donations have reached nearly 250,000 families annually. Bright by Three works through visits bringing parents books, resources and support to succeed in the most important job they will ever have.

Dr. Christopher Ott received the Community Leadership Award for his dedicated goal of working with at-risk families

Dr. Stephen Berman, known for his contributions to pediatric education, has been an integral cog in the wheel of Bright by Three since its beginnings, formerly known as Colorado Bright Beginnings.

The evening was a dreamy event for the hundreds of supporters who gathered at the Seawell Ballroom. The ballroom created a Peter Pan moment with twinkling stars, a full moon backdrop with subtle lighting to recreate a time-for-bed closeness for a little one’s sweet dreams.

Auctioneer Don Martin lead the live auction while guests planned their next vacations and outings with exciting auction items such as the Dr. Scott Dinosaur Tour, Weekend at Bernie’s, Italian Evening of Eight, the Wine Cellar (stocked with wine from the Board of Directors), A night at the Four Seasons Hotel with Colorado Symphony tickets, Nuggets Tickets, Aspen Weekend Package, Log Home Retreat, Vail Summer Escape and many more.

The evening wrapped with music and dancing by Homeslice – after all the children were put to bed.

Bright by Three is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization that provides parents and caregivers of children aged 0-3, with the tools needed to promote a child’s readiness for lifelong learning and success. To learn more about BB3, visit their website,












Pawpurrazzi! You're a Star at Puttin' On the Max


Denver’s party animals were out in full force at this year’s Puttin’ On the Max gala to benefit MaxFund…and it went beyond the furry, four-legged participants in the pet parade. With a “Pawpurrazzi” Hollywood theme, 350 fun-loving guests hit The Brown Palace Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 7, for a glitzy gala to support Denver’s respected no-kill animal shelter and adoption center.

The 27th annual fundraiser began with a red-carpet cocktail reception and an extensive array of live- and silent-auction items amid splashy décor worthy of any star-studded celebration. Guests were equally as stylish in black-tie attire, with some taking up the “dress as your favorite movie star” suggestion.

"Johnny Depp" and "Audrey Hepburn"

“Johnny Depp” and
“Audrey Hepburn”

The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Denver’s favorite CBS4 weather and news anchor Ed Greene. MaxFund co-founders Bill and Nanci Suro told the crowd about the organization’s successes and monetary needs and thanked supporters, singling out Dr. Edward Eisner, vet tech Mario Alba (and Hercules the cat). With help from his grandson, Bill presented a tribute to sponsors with a series of skits. The program continued with a costume contest followed by a witty comedy set from veterinarian-comic Kevin Fitzgerald. The grand finale: a short pet parade featuring a group of MaxFund’s adorable, adoptable residents. Naturally, felines were the cat’s meow and canines were all top dog.

Dora awaits her red-carpet appearance.

Dora awaits her red-carpet appearance.

MaxFund is a true no-kill animal shelter and adoption center that challenges the traditional methods of animal sheltering by leading the no-kill movement in Colorado. The organization strives to give animals—including the injured, abandoned and abused—a second chance at life. MaxFund is committed to develop and implement education programs pertaining to animal care, with emphasis on the importance of spaying and neutering…and to be a voice for the animals on issues of animal welfare. The organization cooperates with other animal facilities and shelters to accomplish these goals. For more information, please visit

I Have a Dream Foundation


“Meet Me on Dream Street, the hippest street in town”

The Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation was founded in 1988, as a long-term academic and social mentorship program for youth who live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Today the CIHAD Foundation has impacted the lives of over 810 Dreamers who were selected and adopted in kindergarten and continued through post-secondary pursuits.

The expectation for all Dreamers is that they are prepared for college, obtain a degree and have a viable path for entry into the workforce. They accomplish these goals with tools designed in five-key focus areas: Academic Enrichment & Discovery, Cultural Access, Success & Financing, Career Readiness.

This year’s gala, themed “Dream Street,” embodies the organization’s mission in helping metro Denver’s most underrepresented youth stay on the road to achieving their dreams. CIHAD paves the way for students from kindergarten thru college with an award-winning, multi-year program of mentoring, academic assistance, life-skills development, cultural enrichment and partial scholarships for higher education. Over 90% of the Dreamers graduate from high school and in collaboration with our partners – the teachers, administrators, volunteers, and others – they move beyond the threshold of high school into the next chapter of their lives.

The gala recognized one of CIHAD’s founders, Chris Romer, who has helped pave the road for hundreds of Dreamers since the program began in 1988.  A former Colorado State Senator and this year’s recipient of the McHugh Award, Chris was honored for his exemplary efforts in leveling the playing field in education.  Also, the annual Dream Maker Award will be presented to Robert Hottman, chief executive officer of EKS&H for his countless contributions and commitment to quality education.

With entertainment by the charming Denver Chorale’s gaggle of children (and adults not in costume), and Reggie Rivers working it as the gracious and successful host, the evening was a bonafide success. Rivers kept hitting the audience up for more and they responded by buying over the top live auction items as well as cash donations. He didn’t have the auctioneer’s yodel but, he definitely displayed a magical persuasive tongue.

The evening wrapped with a performance by the newest name in jazz. Pianist Joey Alexander, with his band (from New York City), performed an original composition that blew the audience away. Alexander was recently introduced on the “Today Show,” and was scheduled over the weekend for a performance at the world famous Dazzle Jazz Club.

For more information on how to support the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation please check out the website:, or visit 1836 Grant Street, Denver, CO 80203.


Denver Scholarship Foundation: The Power of the Possible

“So many things in education are hard to do, and when you discover something that works you want to be a part of it. Denver Scholarship Foundation works.”

— Cathey McClain Finlon, Chair, Denver Scholarship Foundation

In 2020, 74 percent of Colorado jobs will require post-secondary education. Dymond Ruybal is one of 4,500 Denver Scholarship Foundation scholars now ready for this wave. She’s already earned her bachelor’s degree in integrated physiology and is moving onto her master’s degree. She did it through a lot of hard work and by earning an academic full-ride scholarship to University of Colorado Boulder.

“I am not only very proud, but also so grateful,” shares Phyllis Ruybal, Dymond’s mother. “My daughter always worked hard in school and now she has the chance to go after her dreams. I couldn’t have done this for her.”

Solidifying dreams is strengthening our state for the future. “Colorado is an extremely educated state, but that statistic comes from people moving here. All our scholars stay in Colorado. We are building the base within the state,” said Angrith Na, DSF advisor at East High School. In his role, he helps students navigate the college application process. “The process can be daunting. We help make students aware of their options and of various funding revenues. It’s incredible how lives can be changed through this guidance.”

Lance Hostetter, also with DSF, echoes Angrith’s sentiment. “It’s about workforce development. We are strengthening our future by helping students get to, and complete, college. We know this work is vitally important.”

He’s not alone in showing his confidence in the program. The Ed. Gala earned $1.2 million for Denver Scholarship Foundation coming from an incredible array of sponsorships, ranging from $200,000 to $2,500. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Denver Scholarship Foundation’s (DSF) mission to inspire and empower Denver Public School (DPS) students to achieve their postsecondary educational goals by providing the tools, knowledge and financial resources essential for success. All this proves to be a worthy investment as every dollar invested in a student who graduates with support of the Denver Scholarship Foundation returns nine times that amount to the Denver community. In addition, by increasing the number of college graduates, DSF increases the number of people who historically have healthier children, rely less on social services, and earn nearly $1 million more in their lifetimes compared to those who do not pursue college.

The evening was a night to honor Noey and Tom Congdon. The pair is known to most as quiet philanthropists. For more than 50 years they have made strategic investments in nonprofits serving the key educational and cultural needs of the growing population of Colorado. Expanding educational opportunities for young people has long been a focus for the Congdons. When the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) was founded in 2006, they immediately recognized its potential. They were among the very first major investors in DSF’s endowment, and have maintained close ties to the organization ever since. They are true believers in DSF’s mission of making college possible for all Denver Public School graduates.

Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC news magazine Primetime John Quiñones served as keynote speaker. Logging nearly 25 years with the network, he is the sole anchor of the Primetime limited series What Would You Do?, one of the highest-rated newsmagazine franchises of recent years. During his tenure he has reported extensively for ABC News, predominantly serving as a correspondent for Primetime and 20/20.

Over the years, DSF has awarded $25 million in need-based scholarships to 4,500 Scholars. Three-quarters of all DSF Scholars have completed their degree or persist in college. About 80 percent of our scholars will be among the first generation in their family to graduate from college. Since DSF was founded in 2006, the number of DPS students who enroll in college the fall after graduation has increased by 34 percent.


"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.