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May 11, 2004 - Defining a Maverick Thinker

What: 5th Annual Maverick Thinkers Awards Dinner

Where: Seawell Ballroom

When: May 11, 2004

Honoree(s): Urban Peak Honors Colorado Humanitarian Frederick Mayer As 2004 ‘Maverick Thinker’; Youth Honoree: Curtis

Presenting Sponsor(s): Gary Williams Energy Corporation

Executive Director: (NEW!!) Regina Huerter

Introductions: Jim Polsfut, Chair, Urban Peak Board of Trustees

Libations: Jim Schpall and Applejack Wine and Spirits wine selection donation

Catering: Three Tomatoes Catering

Quote of the evening: "It is better to have made a wrong decision than to have made no decision at all." Curtis Culver

Attendance: 380

Special Thanks: Greg Kleinert & TKA Advertising for photo and design donation; Leandrea Archuletta -- youth artist and photographer

Florist: Bouquets

Information: Please call 303.777.9198 or visit

Planning Committee: Chairs: Leigh Sinclair, Jennie Kurtz and Susan Noble; Committee Members: Jim Bye, Terry Brown, Joy Johnson, Diane Leede, Abby Modesitt, Jim Polsfut, Jodi Sorenson and Judi Wagner

Board of Directors: Jim Polsfut, Leigh Sinclair, Wayne Berger, Dave Younggren, Craig Archibald, Bill Hornbostel, Joy Johnson, Jennie Kurtz, Abby Modesitt, Susan Noble, Rich Rainaldi, Tom Schilling, Alan Schwartz, Peggy Shupe, Bill Sorenson, Dick Thomas, Parry Thomas, Jerene Peterson (interim CEO)

Blacktie Photos by: Stacy Ohlsson

 Entertainment was provided by
Entertainment was provided by "GWT," who occasionally perfect their moves in the studio at The Spot. Front: Cosmo and Clay. Back: Slipee, Harold and Fate

On Tuesday, May 11 at the Seawell Ballroom, Urban Peak honored Colorado humanitarian Frederick Mayer by presenting the Maverick Thinker Award in recognition of his service to the community, especially his vision, commitment and generosity in developing and supporting The Spot, Denver’s night time drop-in youth center.

It was only fitting that Mayor John Hickenlooper (who persuaded former Urban Peak CEO Roxane White to be the Director of Denver’s Human Services) was on hand to introduce Frederick Mayer.

Frederick thought twice before accepting the distinguished award, because of the negative connotation that the label 'maverick' had when he was growing up in Midland, Texas.

Rebel? Nonconformist? Radical? Frederick? But after doing a bit of research, he discovered that nowadays, being called a Maverick is good, and even honorable, when applied in the context of “Urban Peak’s Maverick Thinker.”

Mr. Mayer has exemplified the significance behind the Maverick Thinkers Award with his fortitude in acting upon innovative ideas that benefit our community. Is he a “venture philanthropist?” No, he now considers himself and the board of the JFM Foundation as “maverick philanthropists.”

Every day, those involved with Urban Peak are instrumental in helping homeless youth become confident, independent and successful members of our community, and in 2003, 800 youth exited street life as a direct result of U.P’s interventions.

All of their stories are incredible, but each year one youth is honored at the Maverick Thinkers Gala.

Curtis Culver is Urban Peak’s 2004 Youth Honoree: “Walking into the door of a homeless shelter is the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done.”

But Urban Peak’s veracity spreads quickly on the streets, and Curtis “moved up in the world. Bunkbeds instead of a cement floor.” Never imagining the extent of the support and devotion he would receive, Curtis was suspicious at first.

“There must be a catch!” In a way, there was a catch.

In life there are rules to follow, and the youth at Urban Peak are counseled on how to adapt to those rules. Strict guidelines must be followed in order for the youth to receive and benefit from services.

Given his visionary outlook, one would never guess that Curtis is legally blind. Making no excuses and realizing that a person is more admirable when he acknowledges his vulnerabilities and learns from each mistake, Curtis has admittedly gained wisdom by allowing the Urban Peak “family” to guide him in the right direction.

Under the tutelage of his case manager, Adrienne, Curtis has come full circle. After “re-defining goals” and graduating from high school and going to college, he currently performs I.T. work for Urban Peak and is the manager at their Rowan Gardens Apartments. “Adrienne made me open my eyes when I didn’t want to see. Gently pushed me when I didn’t want to move.”

The evening’s opening and closing remarks were made by Urban Peak’s Jim Polsfut, who is “proud and lucky to have known and been mentored by Frederick Mayer.” Jim also acknowledged former Urban Peak CEO Roxane White, who received a standing ovation.

Jim also gave accolades to Curtis’ case manager, Adrienne: “People are seldom recognized by the little things they do when no one is watching. Adrienne was devoted to supporting Curtis in his quest to be a successful and productive member of society, without any expectation of acknowledgement.” Adrienne’s work at Urban Peak has clearly made an impact in our community.

On any given night, there are approximately 400 homeless teens on Denver’s streets. It is Urban Peak’s mission to help homeless youth find the safety, skills and the stability they deserve through their own spirit and determination along with the work of Maverick Thinkers.

Words of wisdom from Curtis:

“Everything I Know, I Learned from Urban Peak Staff”

“It is better to have made a wrong decision than to have made no decision at all.”

"It is costly wisdom that is brought by experience." - Roger Ascham

“It takes a bigger person to admit their wrongs than to keep quiet and let someone else take the blame.”

“I don’t think I’d be alive today if it weren’t for Urban Peak."

“ I never imagined myself where I am today. For this I will be forever thankful."

“Thank you for taking the chance to give me a chance.”

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