The annual Denver Scholarship Foundation Gala continues to be a convivial event made up of an engaging mix of students, educators and supporters…and downright inspiring stories of success. But it’s a simple, signature move that always steals the show–and rightfully so. When spotlights hit the high-five, music-driven procession of scholars and recent alumni entering the ballroom, it’s three minutes of “wow.” Add dynamic speaker Geoffrey Canada to the mix, and this year’s fundraiser was a memory-maker.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock high-fives a DSF scholar.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, nearly 800 guests converged on the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Colorado Convention Center to celebrate the accomplishments of Denver Scholarship Foundation’s students and alumni. Listening to real-life stories of journeys made up of challenges conquered and the power of education is always an enlightening and inspirational experience. Additionally impactful is the tradition of seating a DSF Scholar or Alum at each of the 80 tables, giving supporters the unique opportunity to learn even more about these exceptional young people during the dinner hour.

Emcee Anne Trujillo, Denver7 news anchor and longtime DSF supporter, presided over the evening’s dinner program, and also was recognized as a new DSF board member. Those who addressed the crowd included: CEO Lorii Rabinowitz, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, DSF alumni Amy Faliano Hamill and Cara Faliano, and student speakers Lazarus West and Lawrence West. After their inspirational words, guests had the opportunity to make on-the-spot donations via text and old-school physical envelopes. The anonymous presenting sponsor covered all event expenses to ensure that every single dollar was given to Denver Scholarship Foundation, and Colorado Scholarship Initiative (COSI) doubled every onsite donation.The evening ended with a riveting talk by force-of-nature Geoffrey Canada, award-winning educator, author and activist, founder and president of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) since 1990.

Keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada and Denver’s Gloria Neal

The Denver Scholarship Foundation makes college possible for thousands of Denver Public Schools graduates each year. DSF’s unique, three-part program for college success has been nationally recognized for its effectiveness, working proactively with all DPS seniors at Future Centers located inside DPS high schools.

Each Future Center is staffed by a full-time DSF College Advisor who guides students through the college application and financial aid processes.Together with partners and DPS, DSF reached 2,827 seniors in 2017-18. The organization awards need-based scholarships that can be used over four years to DPS graduates attending a community college, university or technical college in Colorado. To date, DSF has awarded $38 million in scholarships to 6,376 Scholars, including 2,238 graduates. The organization partners directly with colleges to provide scholarship recipients with extra financial aid and ongoing support to help them succeed and ultimately graduate. Since 2012, 78 percent of all DSF Scholars have graduated or continue to succeed in their program. For more information, please visit

Blacktie Colorado
Blacktie Colorado