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April 25, 2013 - DPS Foundation Achieves Greatness at Annual Gala

What: The 11th annual gala hosted by the Denver Public Schools Foundation showcases the achievements of the foundation and the kids it supports.

Where: Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center

When: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Valedictorian: $25,000; Entertainment: $15,000; Salutatorian: $10,000; National Honor Society: $5,000; Honor Roll: $3,000; Patron: $1,000; Individual Ticket: $250

Beneficiary: The Denver Public Schools Foundation

Gala Chairperson(s): Margot & Marc Pinto and Britney & Dick Weil

President(s): Kristin Heath Colon, president & CEO

Staff: Nicole Capage-Brown, Tiffany Cooley, Sarah Dixon, Laci Gettings, Victoria Jemmott, Michele Kilen, Kim Martinez, Mary McGee, Amy Thieme, Erica Wolff

Welcome: Jon Robinson of UMB

Speaker: Elicia Dennis, 2013 Achieve Gala keynote speaker; Governor Hickenlooper, Kristin Colon

Entertainment: Polaris at Ebert Honor's Choir, Noel Community Arts School Dancers, Montbello High School Drum Line, Denver School of the Arts Orchestra

Sponsors: UMB, Janus, Marcy and Bruce Benson, Margot and Marc Pinto, Kristin and Blair Richardson, Britney and Dick Weil, Cille and Ron Williams, The Anschutz Foundation, Comcast, Hyatt Regency Denver, The Piton Foundation, United Launch Alliance, DaVita, Elaine Gantz Berman and Stephen Berman, Martha Records and Rich Rainaldi, Hogan Lovells, 1st Bank, BBVA Compass, Kaiser Permanente, Polsinelli Shughart, 5280, United Airlines

Attendance: 1,100

Attire: Business or cocktail attire

Special Thanks: Valedictorian Sponsors: Marcy and Bruce Benson, Margot and Marc Pinto, Kristin and Blair Richardson, Britney and Dick Weil, Cille and Ron Williams, The Anschutz Foundation


Board of Directors: Donna Lynne, Chair; Brooke Brown, Chair-Elect; Jeff Ross, Treasurer; Craig Umbaugh, Secretary; Tom Boasberg, Kelly Brough, Cedric Buchanon, Scott Carpenter, Chris Chavez, Leanna Clark, Kristin Heath Colon, Jeff Dolan, Doug Friednash, Charlie Kercheval, Leslie Mitchell, Margot McClendon Pinto, full list on website

Blacktie Photos by: Kim Johnson

 DPS supporters Andy Boian, Chris Chavez and Josh Hanfling
DPS supporters Andy Boian, Chris Chavez and Josh Hanfling

Over 1,100 supporters and educators attended this year’s Annual Achieve Gala, hosted by the Denver Public Schools Foundation. In its 11th year, the organization raised more than $900,000 to supplement government funding and other resources, in order to help the children of Denver Public Schools achieve quality education and prepare them for the world on their own.

With the help of the community and generosity of the sponsors and donors, new programs are now available for Denver students, many of whom are low-income and face adversity daily. “The impact that poverty has on a child’s ability to learn is profound,” said DPS President and CEO Kristin Heath Colon. She presented a video that showed “first-hand the basic needs of our children as they go to school each day to learn and build their future, and just how hard that really is sometimes without our help.”

The video featured kids talking about the things they love most about school. One of those programs is the Fit, Fun & Literacy Program, an educational and nutritional drive through the DPS Foundation. It encourages healthy eating and exercise, and even allows the children to bring healthy snacks home with them. “We get to eat broccoli, carrots, tatoes…(potatoes)…tatoes….and healthy snacks,” said one DPS student. “My favorite vegetable is carrots because they are very healthy. Healthy for your eyes and help you see better,” said another.

The program serves nearly 700 DPS children in grades K-5 at DPS’s twelve highest-need schools, according to a report from the DPS Foundation. Also, of the children enrolled in the Fit, Fun & Literacy program, 94 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch.  The funds raised from the annual gala will help keep programs like these around for kids who need them most.

Denver Public Schools faces a tough uproad battle. According to the DPS website, the graduation rate of DPS students is just 56.1%. Governor Hickenlooper spoke about the prospect of new legislation which may be able to funnel more than $1 million into Denver Public Schools.  However, funding education and how to do it has always been a political battle – though one worth waging.

The annual gala is a great way to showcase the efforts of the DPS Foundation and connect with the kids they are actually helping. One boy spoke of his dream to become a NASA astronaut – he will be studying aerospace in the fall at CU Boulder and making his dreams come true. These are the kind of stories that inspire supporters of the Denver Public Schools Foundation.

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