Broncos’ owner recognized for his philanthropic commitment
By Glory Weisberg
Honoring Denver Broncos’ owner and Cherry Hills Villager Pat Bowlen with the Community Enrichment Award helped attract 2,200 people to the Mizel Institute’s Gala Dinner at Wings Over the Rockies, May 22.
Bowlen chairs the Denver Broncos Charities board, which to date has doled out more than $25 million to metro Denver area nonprofits since its inception in 1993.
Sports media cameramen turned out in droves to record the mega-event, which was focused on not only Bowlen, but also on John Elway, a former resident of Cherry Hills Farm.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a past Mizel Institute honoree, said, “I’m governor of the Broncos nation. There is no more loved franchise in the United States and that is because of Pat Bowlen. I want to thank Pat Bowlen for making this place a better place to live. Mr. Bowlen is a model of a mensch.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said, “Pat Bowlen is a great Denver champion. My very first W-2 was from Pat Bowlen (when I was) a mascot.”
Football Hall of Famers and past Broncos players John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Floyd Little and Shannon Sharpe were brought to the stage as Larry Mizel said, “Our former Denver Broncos are family.” Since 1983, when Elway joined the Broncos, he’s been a highly visible part of the community.
Several guests spoke casually during the cocktail hour with the same thought, that the team is part of the Colorado community and their involvement in the community is a positive image for thousands of inner city children, who adore the football players who regularly visit schools to give kids an example of how they too can succeed in life.
The Bowlen family was front and center at the dinner and Annabel Bowlen should also be credited with setting an example as she created Cherish the Children, a volunteer arm for the Beacon Center. For years she opened her home to benefit lunches and other events and she was at Pat’s side on stage.
Pat Bowlen served as the honorary chairman of the Colorado Special Olympics for 19 years and for 28 years, served as honorary chairman of the Stadium Stampede (formerly the Colorado FamilyClassic), benefitting St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation.
Other organizations benefiting from Bowlen’s leadership and participation include the University of Denver, Capuchin Friars, University of Northern Colorado, Rose Medical Center, American Ireland Fund, Irish Community Center, Hawaii Maritime Center, Alberta Bar Association, Law Society of Alberta and the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Bowlen was elected to the University of Denver board in 1987 and is currently a member of the DU Athletic Affairs Committee. Previously, he served on the Institutional Advancement Committee and the Institutional Advancement/University Relations subcommittee.
Under Bowlen’s leadership, the Denver Broncos partner with and support numerous causes in Denver communities, including the Bonfils Blood Center; Play 60, the NFL’s campaign aimed at encouraging kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse childhood obesity; the Inner City Health Center; HealthONE’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children; Food Bank of the Rockies; the Denver Metropolitan chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; the Denver Rescue Mission; the American Heart Association; Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver; Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver; The United Way; and Denver Public School Athletics.
Larry Mizel said, “This year we pay tribute to a genuine leader in the sports industry and our community. Pat Bowlen has contributed substantially to enriching the lives of Coloradans along with football enthusiasts around the world. It is appropriate that we honor him for his profound and longstanding devotion to our community.”