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. Before Pacino took the stage, the audience was moved by a video about Family Safety Net clients whom JFS helped with rent and food assistance, a “Job Success Series for Women” class co-led by Dress for Success, and employment case management services.
Board chair Jane E. Rosenbaum, shared a bit more about the clients' story (they weren't at the event because they recently started new jobs) and announced a $100,000 matching opportunity for money raised in the room. Attendees generously donated more than $103,000 in the room to make the 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!
Following a video montage of Al 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.
Thank you to more than 115 companies, organizations, foundations, and individuals that supported the event through sponsorships.
Thank you to event co-chairs Leanna Harris, Aaron Hyatt, Jim Miller (who was unable to attend), and Stanton Rosenbaum and the amazing, dedicated committee who helped us sell sponsorships and fill the room. A special thank-you to Aaron Hyatt, shareholder at Brownstein Farber Hyatt Schreck, LLP, for graciously serving as the emcee.
Thank you to president & CEO Yana Vishnitsky and "twins" from the development department, Lisa Benoit and Dawn Richard, for their event oversight and planning!
And thank you to everyone who attended the luncheon! We’d love to hear your feedback—please post comments here!
Check out more event photos…
Check out social media posts from the event on Storify.
-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department