Despite the unpredictable Colorado weather, we sure did CELEBRATE!

Let’s start out by stating the obvious: Due to the wintry weather bestowed upon us last Tuesday, October 29, we were forced to cancel our 2019 JCC Annual Celebration.

Sort of a bummer, right? Initially, that’s what we thought! Our staff had spent several months preparing for this festive night, whether it was booking the venue, hiring the caterers, designing signage, sending out invitations, or simply spreading the word, every member of this community had worked their tuckus off to prepare for this celebratory evening. Most importantly, this much-anticipated event was intended to honor Gary Levine with the Robert E. Loup Hineni Award, and Brooke Jacobson Stern and Cassie Kirschbaum Weinstock with the Gerald S. Gray Service & Leadership Award. On top of that, we were looking to raise money for our JCC! We were ambitious, hopeful, dedicated––but most of all, we were EXCITED!

Unfortunately, the unexpected reared its mischievous little head and here we were canceling our beloved event at 10:00 am on the morning of October 29. We’d already accumulated 6+ inches of snow, temperatures were below freezing, and the storm was far from over. What choice did we have?

What we didn’t know at the time was the overwhelming amount of support we’d receive from our JCC Annual Celebration sponsors, donors, honorees, staff, and ultimately, our community. In record time, our J Denver team was able to organize a virtual paddle raise to help us raise money! To make things even better, our Annual Celebration Committee Co-Chair, Peter Kudla, announced a $100,000 match to all gifts received within 24 hours. With great humility, we are thankful to announce that we hit that match and ultimately raised $950,000 (so far) through our virtual paddle raise! In addition to the overwhelming amount of support we received, we were also able to have a TON of fun having our “dinner” in the snow (see video below for reference).

It’s safe to say that Colorado weather met its match! Regardless of freezing temperatures and the ever-falling snow, staff members, Annual Celebration honorees (thanks, Gary and Cassie!), and Board Members kept the celebration going. Thank you, all!

In summary, our community proved that a Colorado storm has nothing on our vivacious spirit and J pride. Despite the conditions, this JCC Annual Celebration was a resounding success thanks to our donors, sponsors, and members who stepped forward and helped us celebrate our J.

Now, you may be wondering, “This is all great, but will the event be rescheduled?”

Yes. We are planning to host an Honoree Tribute at the J! Guests can expect a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres and dessert as we honor Gary Levine, Brooke Jacobson Stern, and Cassie Kirschbaum Weinstock. More info to come soon!

Before we go, we’d like to give a shoutout to our Development Team (Cyndi Sheehan, Ian Jacobs, and Roxanne Kahn), Jodi Asarch, Lara Knuettel, Meredith Friedman, Gary Levine, Peter Kudla, Don Kortz, Adam Zandman, Jeff Hoffman, and the rest of our J Denver staff who came together and made this event such a remarkable success, despite the odds. We know each of these individuals won’t take the credit they deserve, so why not call them out on a blog post they won’t have access to? 🙂

In addition, we are forever grateful to the sponsors and donors of this year’s Annual Celebration. The full list of donors and sponsors can be found here, so please take a minute to read through the names––we celebrate these individuals who have continued to give and support the J.

If you would like to contribute to our fundraising efforts, you still can! Click here to give a gift to J––all donations may be eligible for the Colorado Child Care Contribution Credit (5c).


To close out this unexpected recap of this year’s Annual Celebration, look to the video below. This piece was supposed to be shown at the event, and we think it explains our gratitude toward our members, our families, our staff, sponsors, and donors. Check it out! It’ll warm your wintery heart. Promise.

Thank you ALL for supporting our Annual Celebration efforts. We couldn’t have done it without you.