COLORADO GOVERNOR & PHILANTHROPISTS HELP HONOR COMMUNITY LEADERS DEVOTED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME

11/29/18 01:03 PM EST

DENVER, CO, Nov. 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 100 guests packed the lobby at the new headquarters for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) in the vibrant Cherry Creek North area. Governor John Hickenlooper gave an opening address before the awards ceremony and before the tour of the new building, which includes an Education Center and a future coffee shop.

At the event, Global presented its 21X21 Campaign Leadership Award to Noreen Salah Burpee, Executive Director of The Salah Foundation. “Noreen and her amazing family have been our champions for many years giving us guidance and helping us to grow,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of Global. “Last year they provided a historic, extremely generous $1 million grant to Global that will underwrite The Salah Foundation Learning Zone in our Education Center where we will provide transformative educational programs to people with Down syndrome of all ages.” Fred Churbuck and Megan Fearnow, two of Burpee’s children who also serve on The Salah Foundation board, were in attendance to support Global and receive the award.

“The education center was a team effort and The Salah Foundation is very proud to be a part of this team that will help so many people with Down syndrome,” says Noreen Salah Burpee. “This building is a tribute to the generosity and the goals of Anna and John J Sie. It is through their vision and dedication and the tireless efforts of their daughter Michelle Sie Whitten that this is all possible.”

Global also presented its Community Leadership Award to the Vollbracht and Winfield families. Leslie and Bill Vollbracht are the founders of Land Title Guarantee Company and have been pillars of the Colorado business and philanthropic community for years. Their daughter and son-in-law, Alison and Kirby Winfield, are carrying on that family tradition in Washington state with their two children, Katherine (Kate) and Kirby Jr. Kate is Global’s Ambassador and happens to have Down syndrome. “The Vollbrachts and Winfields have always been there for us from the beginning and understood the importance of the research and medical care on our children’s health outcomes,” said Whitten. Alison and Kirby Winfield and the Vollbracht’s daughter Dana Vollbracht were on hand to help accept their families’ award.

"We have seen firsthand the incredible impact Global has on the lives of people with Down syndrome,” says Alison Winfield. “In a world where public resources and awareness are scarce, Kate and her peers need organizations like Global to advocate for their health and interests and push the envelope on evolving research and therapy. Global constantly raises the bar for how all of us include and support people with Down syndrome."

Global’s new headquarters is located at 3239 E. 2nd Avenue on the corner of 2nd and Adams in the Cherry Creek district, which boasts hundreds of restaurants, spas, shops, and banks. The building is an important legacy project for cable TV pioneers and community leaders, Anna and John J. Sie. Their granddaughter, Sophia, was born with Down syndrome. The Sie’s daughter and Sophia’s mom, Michelle Sie Whitten, runs the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Michelle, Tom, Sophia, and Patrick Whitten were all in attendance for the Grand Opening.

The building is 53,879 square feet in total and was built by GH Phipps Construction Companies, designed by Saiber Saiber Architecture, kitted out by OfficeScapes and branding by ArtHouse Design. The second and third floors of the building are occupied by Global staff while the fourth floor is dedicated to the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and AJS Ventures. The first floor, where the Grand Opening event took place includes a lobby, an Education Center measuring 2,480 square feet and a future coffee shop that occupies 1,624 square feet. The Education Center will open its doors by the end of 2019 and the coffee shop is expected to open sometime in 2020.

“This building will not only be a headquarters but a destination for inclusion, inspiration and achievement,” says John J. Sie. “We want to have thousands of people who are differently-abled working together with the broad-based community and finding ways to accomplish great things together.” An important focus of The Salah Foundation Learning Zone and the Education Center will be vocational training toward job placement.

The impressive list of event attendees included award-winning actor and Global board member, John C. McGinley, Born this Way TV phenom, Megan Bomgaars. Philanthropic leaders included Peter Kudla, Mike Fries, Don Elliman, Ellen Bruss & Mark Falcone, Laura Barton & Willy Matthews, Charlie Gallagher, Sunny Brownstein, Susan Karsh, Casey & Brett Perry, Greg Karsh, Nancy Sevo, Don & Susan Sturm, Edie Marks, Chris & Lu Law, Joy Dinsdale, Jay Mills & Kiana Akina, Michele & Michael Ritter, Mac & Rebecca Macsovits, Bob & Liane Clasen, Dick & Marcia Robinson, Arlene & Barry Hirschfeld , Kalleen Malone, Allison & Brian Levin, Brian & Shelley Hart, Brook Griese, Andy Irvine, and Katy Call. Other Community Leaders included  Rebecca Chopp, Christoph Heinrich, John Reilly, Stephen & Dee Daniels, Jennifer Darling, and Miguel Lovato.

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About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is at the forefront of research, medical care, education, and advocacy dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome. Global supports the research of hundreds of scientists around the world through their advocates, partners and affiliates, including the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome. To learn more, please visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org.

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Rejena Carmichael
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
(240) 603-5494
rcarmichael@globaldownsyndrome.org

Anca Call
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
(720) 320-3832
acall@globaldownsyndrome.org