DENVER, CO — April 21, 2016 — Acting legend Al Pacino entertained nearly 1,200 business and professional leaders attending Jewish Family Service’s (JFS) 12th annual JFS Executive Luncheon held on April 13 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Attendees donated more than $103,000 in the room to make a $100,000 challenge grant match. In total, the event raised more than $842,000 to support the life-transforming programs of Jewish Family Service, making it the highest-grossing fundraiser in JFS history.
Before Pacino took the stage, the audience was moved by a video about Family Safety Net clients whom JFS helped through rent and food assistance, a “Job Success Series for Women” class co-led by Dress for Success, and employment case management services.
Following a video montage of Pacino’s career, the actor received a standing ovation from the attendees in the packed ballroom as he took the stage. He then sat down for an interview with Ron Bostwick, an entertainment producer and radio show host.
During the 90-minute interview, Pacino captivated the audience with stories about his award-winning acting career and life experiences. He credited his eighth grade drama teacher for encouraging him to pursue this line of work. “She even got me to read the Bible every day…and I practiced reading it with passion to hone my craft,” he shared. He talked about his first movie role in “Panic in Needle Park” and how it led to one of his most famous roles in “The Godfather” series. While Pacino is primarily known for his work in films, he spoke about his love of Shakespeare and said he is currently learning King Lear, “which may take up to a year because I want to do it right.”
At the end of the interview, he took several questions from the audience and even signed a junior high school classmate’s yearbook. He concluded the luncheon with a monologue of an excerpt of one of his favorite Oscar Wilde poems. The fundraiser’s Chief-level sponsors were then invited to pose for photos with Pacino at a private reception.
More than 115 companies, organizations, foundations, and individuals supported the event through sponsorships. Chief Operating Sponsors included Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Denver Business Journal, and JEWISHcolorado; Chief Information Sponsors were Colorado Public Television-CPT 12, The Dresner Foundation, Kris Family Fund, Morgridge Family Foundation, and Brent and Julie Morse; and Chief Financial Sponsors included Arrow Technologies, Bender Foundation Inc., The Chotin Foundation, DH Friedman Properties, LLC, Lynda M. Goldstein, Jack and Celeste Grynberg, Aaron and Niah Hyatt, Image Audiovisuals, Inc., The Ernest S. Madison Family Foundation, Micky and Jimmy Miller and Miller Global Properties, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, Mindy Levy Peckar and Steven Peckar, ROI Equities—Jamie and Leanna Harris, Stanton and Jane E. Rosenbaum, The Saltzman and Topelson Families, The Sturm Family Foundation and ANB Bank, and The Weitz Company.
Event co-chairs were Leanna Harris, Aaron Hyatt, Jim Miller, and Stanton Rosenbaum. Aaron Hyatt, shareholder at Brownstein Farber Hyatt Schreck, LLP, served as the emcee.
About Jewish Family Service of Colorado
Jewish Family Service of Colorado (JFS) believes in strengthening the community by providing vital services to people in need. Every day, JFS helps people overcome life’s challenges to live fuller, more meaningful lives. Founded in 1872, JFS is a nonsectarian, nonprofit human services agency serving metro Denver and Boulder. JFS helps seniors live independently at home, provides quality mental health counseling, offers training and job placement to those with developmental disabilities and other barriers to employment, and provides food and financial aid to people in crisis. Every year, the agency benefits nearly 25,000 people of all ages, faiths, incomes, and abilities. For more information, call 303.597.5000 or visit www.jewishfamilyservice.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
All photos courtesy JFS and Photography by Avital.