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Greenwood Village business owner Darren Martin has been named Optimist “Rookie of the Year” by the Optimist Colorado/Wyoming District.
By Jan Wondra
Darren Martin, head of Charter Financial Resources in Greenwood Village, cruised to the Colorado/Wyoming Optimist District “Rookie of the Year” award at ceremonies held in Golden in May.
District Governor Bob Hartwig and panel judge, Lois Galloway, presented the award.
“Darren was chosen as one of only two winners for all of Colorado and Wyoming because he demonstrated outstanding volunteerism benefiting local kids in the community,” said Galloway.
Martin, a classic-car enthusiast, is new to the Optimist International organization. He was introduced to the Optimist organization by one of his clients.
“I’d never heard of them, and I thought, how do we spread this great philosophy of community service? And since I collect classic cars, I thought, there’s got to be more people like me,” Martin said.
The Classic Car Optimist Club of Colorado founded by Martin is one year old and has more than 50 members. The new club’s charitable endeavors already include three programs that benefit kids in the local and global community.
The first project, called “How Dreams Lead to Success,” was an Optimist-sponsored Essay Contest at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch. Two senior students, Alexandra Sundberg and Dane Burkholder, were awarded medals, a private, 60-mile Classic Joy Ride Cruise with their families in Martin’s personal collection of classic cars, lunch at a local country club and Sonic drive-in treats, as well as the opportunity to advance to the district final contest, with college scholarship award potential.
The second project the club participated in was handmaking 500 wooden toy cars to be distributed, free, to children in need, through the Toys for God’s Kids, a Colorado-based charitable organization. The toys are distributed to more than half a million kids in more than 130 countries, by the U.S. military, church missions, Operation Christmas Child, Hope Haven International Ministries and disaster relief organizations.
Then there are the charity cruises. Martin offers up his classic cars for to clients and charities.
“We make the cars available for $250 each to organizers of charity events and they can auction off adventures in them to the highest bidder. So for, say, a $1,500 bid, we cruise to Arrowhead Golf Course, take pictures of the riders with the collectible cars, arrange lunch, cruise back and have the pictures ready for them on their return. It’s a great memory,” he said.
Most events benefit local children’s charities, including the Ashley Mosher Charitable Fund (the paralyzed young victim of the tragic Aurora Mall shooting in 2012), Kids Tek and Project Cure.
Not surprisingly, the charity themes tend to revolve around four wheels.
“We’re thinking of doing a Pinewood Derby for disabled and mentally challenged kids,” said Martin. “It involves a wooden block carved into a car with wheels attached, that is raced. These kids often don’t get the opportunity to do something like this.”
Martin stores his cars in a garage in Highlands Ranch, convenient for the charity cruises. Ask Martin what his favorite classic car is and he chuckles.
“I love my Edsel, it’s so beautiful. And I have a ‘55 T-bird convertible that is from heaven. And of course, my ‘40 Oldsmobile; I call it ‘copper top,’” Martin said.
The Optimist International motto, “Bringing out the best in kids,” suits Martin, who keeps a plaque in his office that reads: “What is your true purpose for money? My true purpose is joy.”
The Optimist organization is the world’s largest service club organizations, with 75,000 adult and youth members in 2,600 clubs in the United State, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world.
More than 200 qualified, community-based nonprofit organizations in Colorado will receive funding from Wells Fargo through the 20th annual Wells Fargo Community Assistance Fund. The Fund is just one component of Wells Fargo’s overall philanthropic efforts. In 2013, Wells Fargo’s community contributions in Colorado totaled $4.2 million to approximately 1,100 organizations, and the company team members logged more than 45,000 volunteer hours.
Eligible organizations must be certified 501(c)3, and have an annual budget of $350,000 or less. Applications are now available at all 170 Wells Fargo stores in Colorado and are due June 30.
“Helping our local non-profit organizations is a long-time tradition at Wells Fargo and an important way we serve our communities,” said Frank Newman, Wells Fargo’s president for the Rocky Mountain Region. “These organizations work very hard and do so much to ensure our communities are the best they can be. We are proud to share that all decisions to provide funding for these organizations are made right here in Colorado.”
The Wells Fargo Community Assistance Fund was started in 1993 to provide greatly needed support to small, non-profit groups that don’t have the resources to compete with larger organizations for community support dollars. Since its inception, more than 4,200 grants totaling more than $4.3 million have been awarded.
A crew from the LEADAPALOOZA leads group plant leeks at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.
It was a day of giving and gratitude, sweat equity and camaraderie, dirty hands and warm smiles as the Fourth Annual B.I.G. Day (B.I.G. stands for Be Involved, Give) proved that community spirit is alive and very well in South Metro Denver. The Chamber’s Non-profit & Business Partnership lead by Steve Bocher of Catch Fire Marketing as chair, and Laurian Horowitz of Colorado Life Lessons as event chair continued the community tradition. This year’s volunteer count of 600 almost doubled last year’s count making this one of the most successful Chamber events of the year.
Activities ran the gamut from planting vegetables at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, to packing winter clothing and rolling out the spring/summer clothing at SheShe’s Corner and planting trees and weeding at the Denver Botanic Gardens community garden. Medical supplies were sorted at Project C.U.R.E. for shipment to 3rd world hospitals, and food boxes were packed at the Jeffco Action Center. The American Cancer Society had volunteers brain-storming and phoning participants for their upcoming Relay for Life events while The Home Builders Foundation built a wheelchair ramp for a person in need. Interfaith Community Services was aided in stocking and sorting their food-bank.
Brien Darby, Manager of the Denver Botanic Gardens community gardening program was thrilled with the experience. “I presented them with some very big tasks with a lot of digging and heavy lifting and they were just about the most enthusiastic group I have ever worked with! We completed all the tasks I had planned and even started on a few additional projects. I really appreciate the level of teamwork and “ready for anything” attitude that we consistently receive from volunteers participating in the BIG help day.”
After their morning efforts, B.I.G. Day volunteers gathered at the chamber to celebrate their accomplishments and volunteerism.
The Audubon Society of Greater Denver got trails cleaned up and readied for the summer months, Alternatives Pregnancy Center got their offices ship-shape in record time, and TLC Meals on Wheels of Littleton got much needed help with the preparation and delivery of meals to their elderly clients. South Suburban Parks got a sprucing up through the South Suburban Park Foundation volunteers while crowd-funding materials were assembled for Spa 4 the Pink. Castlewood Canyon State Park was assisted with their spring fire mitigation and Friends of Dinosaur Ridge trails in Morrison were readied for the summer crowds. Denver Rescue Mission got help in cleaning and organizing their pantry while the playground and outside areas of the Littleton YMCA got a sprucing-up from volunteers.
Shannon Bertram, executive director of the Littleton YMCA, was grateful for the volunteer sweat-equity.
“Thank you to the volunteers that helped at the Y- the playground looks great! What an incredible effort for so many to go out and help the local non-profits….We appreciate you!”
After all of the hard work, it was time to blow off some steam as many of the volunteers gathered at the Chamber Center to celebrate the day. Enjoying a delicious lunch buffet served by event sponsor McCormick & Schmick’s with beverages and desserts sponsored by The Tilted Kilt, the group watched as Brian Olson of Conversation Starters PR had a video already prepared showing the day’s activities. Music was provided by Swallow Hill Music and Elements Massage SouthGlenn gave free chair massages for the hard-working group. The crowd gave a cheer of support for the B.I.G. Day and many expressed that this was just a beginning with many more hours of volunteer efforts were to come.
Chamber Nonprofit and Business Partnership Chair Steve Bocher of Catch Fire Marketing thanked the B.I.G. Day Organizing Committee members: Chair Laurian Horowitz of Colorado Life Lessons, Brian Olson of Conversation Starters, Sue Kenfield of See It Thrive, and Alex Benko as well as all of the volunteers past and present.
“Sandy Coen, founder of SheShe’s Corner, shared an interesting fact with our group: “The IRS values an hour of volunteer service at $21/hr. So this weekend the South Metro business community contributed $44,100 to our non-profit partners, and in four years, this would total about $191,000.”
B.I.G. Day volunteers take a break from cleaning and mulching to get an understanding of what the Audubon Center is all about.
Volunteers scour the creek at Progress Park for trash, for the South Suburban Park Foundation.
Englewood is honoring veterans by installing a veterans monument at the newly remodeled Englewood High School – and fundraising for the project continues.
The three-ton Colorado rose granite monument stone will display all five service seals in bronze. Pavers will be installed around the monument and willbe permanently engraved with the names of alumni, veterans, clubs, business and contributors who purchased pavers.
Englewood High School Monument project is a nonprofit organization with the endorsement of the Englewood Schools Board of Education, City Council, the Englewood Funding Foundation, the Sertoma Club, VFW groups and many more organizations.
The installation and the inauguration ceremony are scheduled for November. The stone must be ordered by June. Pavers must be ordered by August to ensure inclusion in the installation.
All veterans’ pavers are 12×12 inches and engraved with the appropriate military seal and four lines of information at the cost of $300.
Alumni, clubs, businesses pavers are available.
• 4×8 with two lines of information, $150 (cost)
• 8×8 with three lines of information, $200 (cost)
• 12×12 with four lines of information, $300 (cost)
The total cost of the project is $40,000.
South metro got a step closer to getting an interconnected bike-sharing program last month.
Arapahoe County B-cycle founder and executive director Joel Phillips announced that the organization’s inaugural fundraising event, “For the Love of Bicycling,” held April 24 at the Wellshire Inn, raised more than $5,200 and established a funding history that is key to be considered for private and governmental capital grants.
Iley and Associates and Wood Partners sponsored the event, which was highlighted by a dinner provided by Top Chef TV show winner Hosea Rosenberg, founder of Blackbelly catering.
A silent auction featured a bicycle donated by Any and All Bicycles of Englewood and Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale issued a proclamation decreeing April 24as Arapahoe County B-cycle Day.
Arapahoe County B-cycle is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide and manage an easily accessible and affordable transportation alternative that promotes a healthy lifestyle among residents and visitors to Arapahoe County.
Greiner Electric LLC family members Kris Wintroub, Dave Greiner and son Brent GreinerPhotos by Steven Weisberg
By Steven Weisberg
The 11th annual Hoops & Hoopla event raised funds for the children’s school Morgridge Academy, formerly Kunsberg School, on the campus of National Jewish Health. Many of the attendees hail from the construction industry as result of the Greiner Electric company’s ongoing support as a lead sponsor.
Guests gathered at Invesco Field at Mile High inside East Club Level to watch Men’s NCAA basketball semi-finals on the numerous large screen TVs. In addition, there were various games ranging from cards, basketball shots and driving golf balls onto a virtual course. A five-minute video presentation followed with the annual Rookie award going to Ryan Wilson of GE Johnson Construction Company. The Most Valuable Player award again went to Greiner Electric for raising more than $40,000.
For more information, visit www.hoopsandhoopla.com, www.njhealth.org or contact Kristin Langona at 303-728-6527 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronnie DeGray, Mark Dean and Rhoads Cannon
Alana Berland, Peter Fox, Fred Lai and Ryan Wilson
Denise Cito, Jeffry Laflen and Bill Gregor
Friends of Horses Rescue & Adoption will be holding its annual Wine Sip and Silent Auction on Friday, May 2, at 6351 S. Peoria St. in Centennial. This event was a huge success last year and a good time was had by all. More importantly, the money raised was able to fill a substantial gap in the budget. Last year’s funds allowed FOH to pay for much needed veterinary services, helped to purchase hay during the winter price increases, and the endless maintenance and repairs on work vehicles.
FOHRAA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization, is dedicated to rescuing good horses and adopting them to good homes, therapeutic riding and community service. With more than 159 horses currently being cared for, FOHRAA is not a “typical” rescue. They offer a full service riding facility, with indoor and outdoor arenas, riding lessons (jumping, western, therapeutic, dressage, and English) at all levels, and access to Cherry Creek State Park. In addition to horse adoption, they also offer the option to lease a horse on a monthly basis as well as private boarding.
They are an organization that provides assistance to animals and people in the community. In the past 12 years, they have saved thousands of horses from the treacherous trip to the slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada. In 2013 they rescued 67, of which 10 were euthanized and 50 were adopted out. FOHRAA has also rescued 10 goats and 15 chickens. Last year they had 100+ volunteers come through and more than 300 people for community service. At all times FOHRAA has 50 horses on property available for adoption.
The Wine Sip and Silent Auction’s fundraising goal this year is $50,000. A wide variety of items in all price ranges will be available at the auction this year, from a session in United’s flight simulator (this is a rare opportunity for two people to be pilots for a few hours learning to take off and land a 737) to artwork, clothes and beauty items. There is also a fly fishing experience on an exclusive private part of the Fraser River available.
! To help FOHRAA plan for food & wine please RSVP as soon as possible. The tickets are tax-deductible and this is a great opportunity for the to support the rescue. They welcome new community members and would love to share our mission with you. If you are unable to attend and would like to donate items for the silent auction, contact Mimi Kuchman at 303-522-8810 or email@example.com. Visit www.fohrescue.com.
By Glory Weisberg
If there’s anything more beautiful than the view from the DCPA Seawell Ballroom windows at sunset, it’s the smile on the face of a loved and happy child.
Helping children regain their childhood smiles after abuse is the goal of the Kempe Foundation for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Their gala, Embrace Kids…Embrace Colorado, was an emotionally evocative fundraiser, full of dedicated board members, guests and honorees.
Andy Boian and Sandra Hagen Solin were gala chairs, Linda Alvarado was corporate chair and Jillian Abramson chaired the auction. Monica Owens and Lauren Cannon Davis were Young Professionals co-chairs.
State Sen. Linda Newell accepted the Child Advocacy Award and Dr. Kathryn Wells won the Professional Award for creating the Foster Care Clinic at Denver Health. David Savitz was honored with the Community Award.
This year a new award was given to the family of the late Walt Imhoff, the Community Award.
Walt and Georgia were the face of the Kempe Center for more than two decades, championing the philosophy and work of the Kempe Center, injecting it with the adrenaline of fervor and financial support. They leave as their legacy an army of former Kempe Center Alliance board and other members who are continuing with the task of helping abused and neglected kids heal and look forward to leading better lives.
Kempe is combining Clinical Care, Advocacy, Research and Education to help kids now and to find more ways to end the cycle of child abuse.
Gov. John Hickenlooper declared April 26 Kempe Foundation and Walt Imhoff Day.
Robin and David Savitz
Jamie Angelich, Sandra Hagen Solin and Lois Paul
Kate and Linda Newell with John Faught
Mike Miller and Natisha Walton
Colleen Eager and Andy Boian
Robert and Linda Alvarado
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