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April 11, 2008 - Kempe/Dana Carvey: "Isn't That Special!!"

What: Happy Hour benefit with Dana Carvey

Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House

When: April 11, 2008

Time: Dinner 5 p.m.; dessert reception 7 p.m.; show 8 p.m.

Ticket Prices: starting at $100

Beneficiary: Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

Mistress of Ceremonies: First Lady Jeannie Ritter

Gala Chairperson(s): Former First Lady Frances Owens and Gail Johnson

Corporate Chairperson(s): Blue Angels: Renee and David Bregman, Medical Properties Group/REL Love Foundation; Cindy and Steve Farber, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Founders: Dr. C. Henry Kempe

Committee Members: Jenna Bauer, Jenni Cooper, Tom Currigan, Caroline Czirr, Ray Deacon, Mark Foster, Bruce Fowler, Melissa Grossman, Hal Hawkey, Wendy Kane, Maureen Kelley, Kim Mitchell, Dean Prina, M.D., Lyn Schaffer, Lisa & Lynn Taussig, Dylan Taylor, Paula Wales

President(s): Jesse F. Wolff, President/CEO

Staff: Executive Asst.: Laura Krausa; Lindsey Zimmerman, Director of Communications; Sandi Garcia, Communications and Public Affairs Officer; Mae Desaire, Development Officer - Community Partnerships; Carol Kolash, Major Gifts Officer; Genia Larson, Development Officer – Events and Corporate Relations; Laurie Nielsen, Development Officer - Database; Sharon Schonhaut, Development Officer - Foundations and Corporations; Val Traina, Development Coordinator; Gene Liffick, Director of Operations; Rob Tallmadge, Accounting Manager; Sandra Kuker, Administrative Assistant.

Sponsors: PARTY ON: Medical Properties/R.E.L. Love Foundation; Tuchman Family Foundation; Comcast. WELL, ISN'T THAT SPECIAL: Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado; Wendy and Steve Cohen; Larimer Square. WE'RE GOING TO PUMP YOU UP!: Bathgate Capital Partners; Fognani & Faught, PLLC; Faught Foundation; Faught & Potts Farms; Qwest; Saunders Construction Inc.; US Bank. FOXY: 3 Peaks Consulting; 9 News, 9; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Colorado Business Bank/CoBiz Financial; Colorado Rockies Baseball; Denver Business Journal; Fairfield and Woods P.C.; First Western Trust Bank; Gail and George Johnson; Kaiser Permanente; Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert LLP; The Lang Group of Wachovia Securities LLC; Lockton Companies; The Quiat Companies; Red Robin; Stewart Title of Colorado; The Children's Hospital; United Healthcare; VectraBank of Colorado; Walt and Georgia Imhoff; Wells Fargo.

Auctioneer: Joe Priddy and Dana Carvey

Attendance: 1,500

Attire: snappy casual with something special

Special Thanks: All About Denver, Big O Tires, Coors Brewing Company, CenterPlate, Hotel Teatro, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, King Kolor, Richter Scale, Tiffany & Co., WonderWorks

Event Coordinator: Genia Larson

Board of Directors: Steven A. Cohen, Anschutz Investment Company, Chairman of the Board; Jesse F. Wolff, The Kempe Foundation, President/CEO; Robert B. Clyman, MD, The Kempe Center, Executive Director; James L. Basey, Downtown Denver, Inc.; David J. Bregman, Medical Properties Group, LLC; Stephen R. Daniels, PhD, MD, The Children's Hospital/CU School of Medicine, Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Zack M. Davidson, Everest Development Company; Steven C. Demby, Esq., Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, PC; John D. Faught, Esq., Fognani & Faught, PLLC; Kenneth A. Friednash, Dakota Fresh-Mex, LLC; Georgia R. Imhoff, Community Leader; Walter F. Imhoff, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.; Gail B. Johnson, Community Leader; Wendy V. Kane, Mantucket Capital Management Corporation; Agatha Kessler, The Watermark; Richard D. Krugman, MD, Dean, CU School of Medicine; Jon B. Kruljac, Bathgate Capital Partners; Bill MacKiernan, Miller Wingarten Realty LLC; Tate McCoy, Lockton Companies, LLC; Kimberly A. Mitchell, Community Leader; Charles K. Monfort, Colorado Rockies; Richard C. Saunders, Saunders Construction, Inc.; David B. Savitz, Esq., Attorney at Law; Lyn Schaffer, The Kempe Foundation Alliance; Gretchen Seefried, Womenade of the Rockies; Mark Smith, J.J. Smith & Associates; Lisa Taussig, Community Leader; Howard H. Torgove, Magna Associates Liquidating Trust; Harry Whipple, Denver Newspaper Agency.
Advisory Council: Janet Elway; Dean Prina, MD; Jeannie Ritter, First Lady of Colorado; Michael J. Shaw; Ron Williams.
Honorary Members: Jules Amer, MD; John Elway; Frances Owens, Former First Lady of Colorado.

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 George Johnson, center, with the co-chairs of the event: his wife Gail Johnson, left, and former First Lady Frances Owens
George Johnson, center, with the co-chairs of the event: his wife Gail Johnson, left, and former First Lady Frances Owens

Anyone who thinks that Dana Carvey is not still one of the most talented comedic forces in the universe should have been at the Ellie Calkins Opera House Friday evening.

A friend of Denver and causes benefitting children, Carvey delivered a fast-moving and energized performance on behalf of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect to a record crowd of 1,500. Executive Director of the Kempe Foundation, Jesse Wolff, said that laughter is the best medicine, and the audience got a healthy dose. Political figures, parents, kids, religious icons, Andy Rooney's one is safe from Carvey's hilarious impressions and often improvisational musings.

Kempe supporters jammed the lobby of the Caulkins Opera House to ingest sinful and tempting dessert offerings before gravitating to the auditorium to indulge in the treat of listening and watching Carvey, who demonstrated that his game is still right on the mark since his days on “Saturday Night Live,” creating unforgettable characters like The Church Lady and Garth from “Wayne’s World.”

There were smiles abounding in the lobby even before the show, as guests were able to indulge in dinner packages at participating Larimer Square restaurants or a VIP sponsor dinner at Kevin Taylor's. When everyone was settled in their seats for the show, Wolff greeted everyone and thanked them for their support, reminding everyone "there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a belly laugh from a child who is healing and on the mend from an abusive situation. We help kids laugh and be kids again."

There was an informative video shown, highlighting Kempe's programs and especially two honorees for 2008 for their work with Kempe: Cindy Tanner and John Faught. Wolff proudly conveyed that the $12 million capital campaign is almost complete, culminating in the Kempe Center's relocation next to Children's Hospital.

Event chairs Frances Owens and Gail Johnson lit up the stage to reiterate the appreciation of support, and segued into a live auction of two fabulous packages: a trip to Vegas to see Bette Midler (generously donated by Steve and Wendy Cohen) and a trip to Los Angeles to adopt an exquisite diamond and platinum band specially designed by Jack Kelege (graciously donated by Sonny's on Fillmore and Renee and David Bregman). They were joined on stage by another bright light in our city, First Lady Jeannie Ritter, who introduced Carvey.

After Carvey had guests rolling in the aisles for about 90 minutes, he closed his performance by playing the guitar, which of course he could not do without including some hilarious (but right on target) impressions of "rocks stars who seem mad at the microphone" and "musicians who seem to make up the lyrics as they go along." (Chopping broccoli was one inspirational choice.) He then proceeded to auction off the guitar and poke fun at auction lingo, ultimately bringing in $8,000 for Kempe. "Thank you!!" he exulted. "It's made out of plastic and duct tape..." Carvey always gets the last laugh. 

This event is Kempe's largest fundraiser and is the cornerstone fot Kempe's "Get Your Blue On" Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign for April. The Kempe Center works to provide and improve direct clinical services, improve clinical service delivery systems, and provide training, education and consultation programs to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect in Colorado and throughout the nation.The Kempe Foundation works to support the Kempe Center by increasing awareness, engaging in advocacy and securing and providing resources for the prevention and treatment of child abuse.For more information, log on to

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