2018 Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala


“Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”
– Venus Williams

Ask any tennis player and they will tell you that the game can be a challenging and demanding sport—but also exhilarating and fun. Unlike team sports, in tennis there are no coaches on the sidelines, timeouts, player substitutions or a 2-minute warning. You’re all alone—like boxing. So many environmental factors. Various court surfaces (asphalt, clay, grass), indoor or outdoor venues, mental distractions, and injuries. And, there’s no fixed period. The longest-ever pro tennis match was a grueling 11 hours; the shortest, 23 minutes. With all these variables, probably the worst scenario is an injury.

So, when Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the No 1 women’s doubles champ in 2017, suffered a knee injury at Wimbledon last spring, she immediately began strength training and a workout regimen for her goal of making a come back this year. Meanwhile, she serves as an ESPN commentator.

As the keynote speaker at the 18th annual Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala, held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, she recognized three Hall of Fame inductees, league champs and youth scholarship winners.

Mattek-Sands, 32, described her own story of setbacks and recovery over an 18-year pro career. “You’ll learn a lot about yourself on the court, and a lot of what I learned I’ve taken to my personal life,” said the 7-time Grand Slam champion.

The gala, held Friday, February 2, 2018, benefits the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF), founded in 1961 by the USTA to develop the next generation of American tennis players. Mattek-Sands urged guest athletes to pursue physical and mental toughness, and to carry their sportsmanship, discipline, and self-motivation off the court.

USTA Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame inductees distinguished themselves through their dedication and contributions to the sport. Inductees are: Kellen Damico, Scott Davidoff, and Nancy Rudd Popof. Also recognized were Colorado high school state champions and USTA league teams that advanced to 2017 national championships.

Shelly St. John of the Auction Divas managed the live auction including a competitive bid for a customized racket used personally by Mattek-Sands for a match played at the French Open. Live music entertainment was provided by The Saddle Rockers.

Special thanks went to year-round support from: Subaru, Orthopedic Associates, Chipotle, MidFirst Bank, KIND, and Sprouts.

To learn more about the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame and download an application for the CYTF scholarships due March 1, 2018 visit: http://www.colorado.usta.com


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 http://www.chelseahutchisonfoundation.org or by email: chelseaslegacy@aol.com

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: www.wingsmuseum.org

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 www.mscenter.org


8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath benefiting F.A.C.E.S.


More than 200 guests attended the Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support nonprofit or F.A.C.E.S. 8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath signature event September 17 at the regal Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver.

A silent auction, appetizers and cocktails provided a back drop for enthusiastic supporters with music provided by solo musician Jimmi Nasi and a live auction led by Doug Tisdale.

Executive Director Rita Harding and Development Director Kendell Aitchison circulated throughout the night with support from board members and staff.

Among the highlights of the event was the live auction of an autographed hockey stick from Colorado Avalanche Forward Nathan MacKinnon‘s with the winning bid by Board Member and long-time supporter Sarah Stoneking.

F.A.C.E.S was developed to provide parenting education, support and advocacy services for the prevention of child abuse, neglect and family violence nearly 40 years ago.

The mission of F.A.C.E.S. is to prevent child abuse, neglect, and family violence. Since its founding in 1974 the organization has served more than 6,000 families in the Denver metro region through its home visitation program, community-based parenting classes and professional family counseling.

For more information visit www.facesonline.org


Let's Knock Out Cancer Gala


Large vertical color posters of cancer survivors graced the reception area reminding guests of innovative surgical techniques and award-winning health care and groundbreaking techniques provided by University of Colorado Hospital physicians, nurses and staff.

In recognition of this great work, more than 1,000 guests, donors and staff packed the Hyatt Regency Colorado Convention Center hotel to support the University of Colorado Hospital Foundation’s “Let’s Knock Out Cancer” Gala held Saturday, January 24.

Emcee and KUSA/9News Anchor Corey Rose described the program and introduced UCH board leaders including University of Colorado President Bruce Benson and UCH CEO/President John Harney, who thanked guests and described hospital facilities and innovations. Speaker Jon Wilmot–a stage IV lung cancer survivor–described his long journey battling the disease.

As a non-smoker in excellent health and an avid mountain biker who jogged regularly, Wilmot’s 2011 cancer diagnosis blindsided him. And, except for some persistent wheezing he had no other obvious cancer symptoms. Fortunately, follow-through with UCH physicians discovered and effectively treated his cancer with positive results and outcome.

Wilmot credited his faith and family for their support and praised physicians, nurses and staff for his survival. Thanks to UCH’s latest cancer-fighting techniques and his extensive exercise regimen he has resumed his mountain bike treks of 2,000 miles annually throughout Colorado’s steepest mountain inclines.

Former Broncos player Reggie Rivers lead the live auction representing several one-of-a kind gifts, memorabilia and dining and vacation packages. Best known for their 2005 hit “How to Save a Life,” the Grammy Winning rock band The Fray closed the evening for the capacity crowd in the grand ballroom.

All proceeds from the “Let’s Knock Out Cancer” Gala benefit the University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Colorado Cancer Center—the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center within an 800-mile radius.

For more information and to donate visit the University of Colorado Hospital Foundation web site at: https://uch.thankyou4caring.org



Perfect Pairings: Wine with Entertainment for a Great Cause

It was hard to tell who was having the better time at the event: guests or volunteers. The 11th annual Wine Event attracted more than 40 people ready to serve, celebrate and help raise money for Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Fetal Care Center.

Event chairs Kevin and Melissa Hopkins – who met while volunteering at Children’s – beamed like proud parents when talking about the commitment and compassion the volunteers give to make the evening happen. “They are the essence of tonight,” explained Melissa. She further shared they don’t rest on a job well done for long. “We will take a few days break and the come together to start planning for 2015.”

Chair of the Volunteer Subcommittee Annie Gray had a permanent smile when she shared about her affinity for all those who stepped up to help. “From the first meeting I was amazed at how much people wanted to be a part of this. It’s my first year and I will definitely be back,” said Gray just before hugging and smiling with others from her team.

Volunteer Sandy Lehto has been helping since the event launched eleven years ago. “Oh, how it’s grown,” she reported. “And it’s so well organized. Guest credit cards get recorded right as they come in so there isn’t a wait to check out. It’s all done before they are ready to leave. It’s great.” Lehto is a member of the Boulder Chapter of Volunteers for Children’s Hospital and she confirmed she will travel year after year to help at The Wine Event.

Special Projects Philanthropy Director for the Children’s Hospital Foundation Martine Hyland echoed the sentiment of the evening. “It’s so inspiring to see how people come together and give to the hospital. They spend time with patients and give time at events. It’s incredible to witness.”

Normally working in finance, Nathanael Shue stepped away from numbers and toward regions as he helped design how the wines would be categorized. The event showcased wines from Colorado, the West Coast, South America and Europe, along with Chilled Summer Wines and, for those who prefer hops over grapes, two “Refreshing Brews” tables displayed tasty beer options.

The event itself was as beautiful as the generosity of those who made it happen. As guests entered the reception they were greeted with lovely strums by Classical Spanish guitarist René Heredia. Overhead, guests marveled at the grace and beauty of aerial artistry performed by a member of Frequent Flyers Productions. Intermittently, happy cheers from the “Ring Toss Table” punctuated the mass of good conversation. With Rockies-like precision, guests flung wide colorful rings toward the empty necks of rows and rows of wine bottles.

“We have four full pages of people who have tossed,” said smiling volunteer Cindy talking about the popularity of the table. “Many people get one ring on, but one gentleman hit four out of five throws. That was fun to cheer on.”

Along with table after table of enticing wines to bid on in the silent auction, the event offered an array of live auction items including a package for the Grammys, an America’s Cup Yacht Experience, and trips to Napa, San Francisco, Italy and Indonesia.

The Children’s Hospital Association of Volunteers puts the entire event together and can proudly report that their efforts have raised more $1 million to date. The volunteers at Children’s Hospital Colorado are part of a group called Children’s Hospital Colorado Association of Volunteers (AoV). The AoV coordinates placements for volunteers and ensures that complete orientation and training is provided to all volunteers.

Men's Night Out for a Great Cause

The nearly 700 men attending University of Colorado Hospital Foundation’s “Men for the Cure” pulled the pink out of their closets as a show of solidarity in the fight against breast cancer.

“It’s nice to see men out for this cause,” said first-time volunteer Ashley Pokrzywinski. With wide smiles, deep laughs, and an air of camaraderie, it appeared the men were enjoying their gathering. They moved in and out of the pristine XJet facility. In the true spirit of the event’s founding members known as the “Red Meat and Cigars” crowd, The Robust Room passed out complimentary cigars from Nicaragua’s oldest as well as its newest cigar manufacturers. Men took to the outside for a few puffs. Inside, guys socialized while Bad Candy, a talented trio with guitars, moved seamlessly through classic rock, bluegrass, country, and contemporary tunes.

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

Goodie bags donated by Neiman Marcus contained an assortment of Kiehl’s premium beauty products proved to be the perfect bookend to the more male-oriented cigars. Event co-founder and sponsor Sharon Magness-Blake cheekily reminded the men to be sure to return home with the lovely little signature silver Neiman’s bag.

Silent auction items weighed heavy toward sports with signed footballs and enticing golf packages. Patrons were also putting pen to paper to bid for a guitar autographed by Rascal Flatts. Other revenue generators included high-end wines for sale by the bottle. And one lucky ticket holder drove home in a 2014 Lexus GS350 provided by Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been attending the dinner long before he took office. He spoke about the dinner’s history. “This dinner has raised $1.3 million, yet our work is not done until we have won.”

Speaking of winning, John Fox, coach of the 5-0 Denver Broncos, took to the stage as the event’s keynote speaker. After sharing that he doesn’t usually make appearances during football season, he spoke about his own family connections to the disease. Then, he smiled and confessed he didn’t have time to prepare remarks. Audience members filled the space by asking him an array of questions from football talk to favorite foods.

To date, the dinner has raised nearly $1.3 million to advance breast cancer research, care, and early detection education at University of Colorado Hospital. Proceeds from Men for the Cure have been used to purchase medical equipment such as an Atec Vacuum Assisted biopsy machine, a digital specimen radiography system, and a stereotactic biopsy table; support a nurse navigator who provides hands-on personal care, guidance and support for the many patients and families receiving care at the Cancer Center; fund breast cancer research led by Virgina Borges, MD; and launch a mobile mammography van initiative to improve access to screenings and aid with early detection for women throughout the Denver-metro area.

Four men purchased award-winning travel and once-in-a-lifetime sport auction items. One man left with a Lexis. Everyone ate delicious tenderloin. Not a bad end to a night with the guys.

2nd Annual KIND Gala


Over 150 guests attended the 2nd annual Kids in Need of Dentistry gala at the JW Marriott Hotel in Cherry Creek. With a festive Oscar theme, the event helped raise money and awareness for the organization and honored several important partners of the charity.

Guests enjoyed a red carpet entrance, gourmet sliders and fries, and a surprise “flash mob” from a group of youth performers.  Attendees were able to bid on silent auction items and socialize during the cocktail hour before the evening’s program got underway.

Sharyn Markus, Executive Director of the Colorado Springs Dental Society, received the award for Best Supporting Partner, and KIND Board Member Larry Chatterley, founder of CTC Associates, was honored for his years of work with the organization.  Attendees also heard from Lorna Casey, who has been taking her two sons, Curtis and Aydan, to KIND for over 12 years. She expressed her thanks to the staff, volunteers and donors for providing Colorado families with wonderful dental health care for those who need it.

The event also featured a live auction hosted by Denver entrepreneur and philanthropist Andy Seth.  Live music was provided by Denver dentist Steve Law and his band, The Steve Law Band.

KIND, a Denver-based nonprofit, provides high-quality, affordable dental care to children in need throughout Colorado. Since 1912, KIND has helped thousands of children each year get the dental services they need at a cost their families can afford.

Pouring for a Purpose


Since it’s founding in 1979, first as a partner with the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office and later in 1983 as a private, nonprofit corporation, Gateway Battered Women’s Services (Gateway) has been a leader in the field of domestic violence resources for the community, the state and the nation. Gateway provides a wide range of services including residential and nonresidential services, short-term housing, children’s services, a 24-hour crisis line, court advocacy services and community development activities. Gateway was one of the first shelters in the community to develop a comprehensive counseling program for nonresident women and children, one of the first to establish a court advocacy program, and is one of the only shelters in the nation to allow clients and service recipients to bring pets with them into the residential program. Gateway also serves as a resource for other shelters throughout the metro area due to it’s expertise and the diversity of services it provides.

On Friday August 16th, the community gathered at the Wellshire Event Center in Denver for the 9th Annual Around the World in 80 Wines; a wine tasting, dinner and live auction to support the ongoing mission of Gateway. Guests were encouraged to “pour for a purpose,” and taste a wide variety of wines from around the world, courtesy of Mayfair Liquors, while mingling in the warm atmosphere and taking advantage of the always popular photo booth.

Immediately following the wine tasting, guests enjoyed a multi-course dinner while Executive Director Linda James welcomed attendees to the event and thanked them for their ongoing support of Gateway and the services it provides in the community. Jeneen Klippel, director of development and public relations, then took to the podium to recognize the efforts of the Gateway board of directors, staff and volunteers and to introduce Sandy Plaven, a survivor who moved the audience by describing some of the services and benefits she received as a client of Gateway and whom she credits with helping to saving her life. The evening was capped off with an entertaining live auction conducted by Shelly St. John and The Auction Divas who helped Gateway raise over $20,000 by auctioning off a variety of items including fine art, vacation packages, sports memorabilia and wine generously donated by Gateway supporters.

You can find more information about Gateway Battered Women’s Services and the role they play in the community on their website: www.gatewayshelter.org