JFS Perspectives

Friday, May 05, 2017

13th Annual JFS Executive Luncheon Featuring Bill Walton and Bob Lanier Raises $556,000

13th Annual JFS Executive Luncheon Featuring Bill Walton and Bob Lanier Raises $556,000

NBA Hall of Famers Bill Walton and Bob Lanier entertained nearly 700 business and professional leaders attending Jewish Family Service’s (JFS) 13th annual JFS Executive Luncheon held on April 28 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Attendees donated more than $50,000 in the room to make a $50,000 challenge grant match from an anonymous donor. In total, the event raised $556,000 to support the life-transforming programs of Jewish Family Service.

David Feiner, Jonathan Alpert, Scott StillmanCo-chairs Jonathan Alpert, David Feiner, and Scott Stillman, along with board chair Jane E. Rosenbaum, thanked guests and sponsors for their support.

JFS President & CEO Shepard NevelPresident and CEO Shepard Nevel spoke about Jewish Family Service and emphasized that the agency serves people of ALL faiths, ages, incomes, and abilities.

Before the featured speakers took the stage, the audience was moved by a powerful new agency video that portrays the four core service areas of Jewish Family Service of Colorado narrated through nationally-recognized Slam poets.

Walton, Schemmel, and Lanier

Seated at a sports show-style desk with emcee Jerry Schemmel, Bill Walton and Bob Lanier took the stage to discuss their basketball careers, philanthropy, leadership, and everything in between. Fast-talking Walton got in several friendly jabs about Lanier, but also about himself.

Speaking about overcoming a severe stutter, Walton said, “Learning to speak is my greatest accomplishment and your worst nightmare.” Both men impressed upon the audience the importance of giving back and helping others, and cited JFS as a great example of an organization that is taking care of those in need. Lanier sagely said, “Serving is an endless task...but we have to continue to do this important work and teach future generations.”

Walton and South High student

The luncheon concluded with audience members challenging Walton and Lanier to one-on-one basketball shooting matches using “Pop-a-Shot” machines. Students from South High’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams—invited as JFS guests—started off the competition and many others followed. The players graciously stayed to sign autographs and talk with guests after the event.

Thank you to nearly 100 companies, organizations, foundations, and individuals that supported the event through sponsorships. Thank you to event co-chairs Jonathan Alpert, David Feiner, and Scott Stillman,  and the dedicated committee who helped us sell sponsorships and fill the room. 

Walton, Gareth Heyman, LanierThank you to Gareth Heyman and Betsy Mordecai Heyman who graciously hosted a reception for top-level sponsors to meet Bill Walton and Bob Lanier the night before the event.

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.


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