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May 31, 2001 - Volunteers of America (VOA) dedicates new home

What: Dedication of Bob Magness Center and Michael Kern Kitchen for VOA

Where: 2660 Larimer Street, Denver

When: May 31, 2001

Beneficiary: Volunteers of America

Master of Ceremonies: Ed Greene

Speaker: Jerome and Michael Kern, Rabbi Stephen Foster, David Kikumoto, Dianna Kunz

Music: Queen City Jazz Band

 VOA formally dedicated the Bob Magness Adminstrative Services Center on May 31, 2001
VOA formally dedicated the Bob Magness Adminstrative Services Center on May 31, 2001

By Blacktie Staff

Volunteers of America has had a home on Larimer Street since 1898, when the charity dispensed food and shelter to Denver's destitute miners and their families.

More than 100 years later, the VOA is still on Larimer Street. But the VOA's handsome new brick home would be unrecognizable to those early-day volunteers.

Two businessmen -- Bob Magness and Michael Kern -- are largely responsible for the new facilities. The late Mr. Magness, a Coloradan who made his fortune in cable TV, and Mr. Kern, a 96-year-old native of Brooklyn, N.Y., donated the funds that made construction possible.

Mr. Kern, father of VOA Executive Board Member Jerome Kern, says he's proud to see his name on the new kitchen facility, which produces 3,500 meals a day.

He visited VOA months ago and was impressed with the way volunteers treated a homeless mother and her children. And he liked the people who ran the 7,000-volunteer organization. "They treated me like the King of Yugoslavia," Mr. Kern told the crowd at the dedication ceremony.

Sharon Magness, widow of Bob Magness, has overseen the 10-year project. The Bob Magness Administrative Services Center is the hub of the organization, which served 450,000 people last year.

"My husband would be embarrassed by having his name on this building, but at the same time, he'd say, 'Thank God you did a good job,'" said Mrs. Magness.

VOA President Dianna Kunz thanked everyone for her "beautiful and glorious new home."

She said she has fallen under Michael Kern's spell. In the Jewish faith, a Mitzvah is a good deed, she explained. "I've come to believe Michael's life has been a Mitzvah."

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