Dancing in the Streets benefits arc Thrift Stores
If ever there was a reason for the folks at arc Thrift Stores to be dancing in the streets, it’s because the organization’s 50th anniversary gala was a recordbreaker, with 750 guests and a profit that is just shy of $500,000.
Co-chairs Deana Perlmutter and Terry Vitale picked Dancing in the Streets as the theme for this dinner and auction held at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center. Vinyl records were incorporated into the table décor and the Motones provided dance music from genres that included Motown, disco and classic rock.
Perlmutter, a senior vice president at MWW Group, Inc., is also the founder of the Integral Group. Vitale started New West Publishing and is the former publisher of Colorado Expression magazine.
“We’re here tonight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of arc Thrift Stores, which has grown to become one of Colorado’s largest nonprofit organizations and one of the largest employers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said president and chief executive officer Lloyd Lewis. He also noted that the 27 arc Thrift Stores in Front Range cities like Greeley, Brighton, Aurora, Westminster and Denver provide employment for nearly 1,700 individuals.
Lewis and his 15-year-old son, Kennedy, who has Down syndrome, presented the 2018 Distinguished Disability Leadership Award to Michelle Sie Whitten, the co-founder, president and CEO of the Denver-based Global Down Syndrome Foundation. She is also executive director of the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and the mother of Sophia Whitten, who was born with Down syndrome.
Her impact on behalf of those with Down syndrome is “felt globally,” Lewis said, and were it not for efforts that she has led, advances in funding, research, awareness and social justice might not be where they are today.
“It’s been a journey,” Whitten admitted, adding that she will continue to give her all to bettering the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The gala also was the occasion to honor three arc Heroes: Myles King, Nora Gift and Ryan Hawley.
• King, a 28-year-old Denver native, has been associated with arc Thrift since 2014. He is an arc Ambassador, gives fashion advice to shoppers in the Central Park store, and is a member of the arc Blue Birds, a band made up of arc Thrift employees.
• Gift, a 34-year-old Denver native, has been an arc Ambassador since 2017 and has competed in ice skating, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball with Special Olympics. She works Saturdays in the Centennial store, assisting in the dressing rooms and with hanging clothes.
• Hawley, who also works in the Centennial store, was adopted from Seoul, South Korea, when he was 6 months old. His health challenges include five major surgeries before he turned 10, but today he thrives on being independent and putting his computer smarts and graphic arts abilities to good use within the arc Thrift organization.
An after-dinner fashion show featured current and former arc Ambassadors Juan, Mark, Emily, Jessie, Lizzy, Donna, Jennifer, Kingahnah and Kevin, along with Denver7 personalities Katie LaSalle, Shannon Ogden, Connor Wist and Nicole Brady; arc Young Professionals Abby Perlmutter Miller, Jonny Miller, Jason Marcotte and Dana Smith; arc Thrift volunteer Jim White and gala co-chair Deana Perlmutter. The models wore outfits culled from arc Thrift Stores, and show coordinator Wendy Klomp Duncan called on her friends at Blush Artistry and El Salon to do the models’ makeup and hair.
Guests included state legislators Rhonda Fields, Joe Miklosi and Nancy Todd; Chuck Sather, chairman of the arc Thrift board; Denver7 general manager Dean Littleton; John and Anna Sie; Joaquin Espinosa, executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome; CoBank exec Faye Tate; former Colorado first lady Frances Owens; John Sladek, former president of California Lutheran University and a former vice chancellor at the University of Colorado; Todd Broderick, president of Safeway Colorado; Christiano Sosa, executive director of The Arc Colorado; Miguel Lovato, a program officer with the Daniels Fund; Bonnie and David Mandarich; Edie Marks; Terry and Lori Jones; Corinne Joy Brown; auctioneer Jim Berz; and Claire Lewis, who will join with her husband, Lloyd, and Terry Vitale in chairing the 2019 gala.
A Hero of the Year, Nora Gift (front), with family: Rachel Manternach, and Joe, Marsha, Andrew and Emma Gift.
Myles King, center, and a Hero of the Year, with parents, Tree and Larry King.
Lloyd Lewis, president and CEO of arc Thrift Stores, with Janine, Chuck and Isak Sather.
Four of the runway models: Kevin Wing, Mark Yoakum, Juan Grado and Kingahnah Grant.
Sophia Whitten and Michelle Sie Whitten, recipients of the Distinguished Disability Leadership Award, with Patrick and Tom Whitten.
Missy Dubois with Heather Pyle, a previous Hero of the Year, and her mother, Becky Pyle.
Joan, Ryan (a Hero of the Year, working at the Centennial arc Thrift Store) and Walt Hawley.
Event chairs Deana Perlmutter and Terry Vitale.