Global Down Syndrome Foundation Receives ICON Award


Denver, CO (February 28, 2011) –Friday night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation received two of the prestigious ICON Awards for its 2009 fundraising event, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Jet Set Fashion Show.  The awards were the People’s Choice Award for Best Entertainment Concept and Execution and the Judge’s Award for Best Social Event Produced for a Non-Profit Organization.

Michelle Sie Whitten, Executive Director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and Ellen Robinson, Founder and Event Planner at ERH & Associates, Inc., accepted the awards in front of an audience of over 500 Denver philanthropists along with some of the best event planners and designers in the state.

 “We are truly honored and humbled to have won these awards,” said Whitten.  “The ICON People’s Choice Award for Best Entertainment is especially rewarding since our entertainment highlights our beautiful children with Down syndrome. They really rock the runway.

 “My parents, Anna and John J. Sie, the Gold-Rest-Alpert-Perry-Karsh families and all our co-chairs really share this award with us.  And we simply couldn’t have pulled it off without the fabulous event planner Ellen Robinson.” 

Ellen Robinson was elated, “To win these prestigious awards for Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s very first fundraiser is truly amazing.  The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Jet Set Fashion Show is inspirational, fun and entertaining. 

“We hope this award will encourage even more people to get involved with the event and with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.  Of course we were among many other organizations and events who all deserve recognition.”

Terry Vitale, founder of the ICON Awards told the crowd, “We are so pleased to see Ellen Robinson win this year, and we are pleased to have had an event where the disability community enter and win for its first event.  How great for our community and for awareness.”

The 2009 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Jet Set Fashion Show was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Denver and sold out with 1,200 guests.  The event grossed $1.5 million and netted over $1 million.  Organized by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and ERH& Associates, Inc., the event benefits the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome headquartered at the Anschutz Medical Campus. 

One of music’s biggest talents and International Spokesperson for the cause, Quincy Jones, received the foundation’s first Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award named in his honor.  In turn Jones bestowed the Quincy Jones Exceptional Self-Advocate Award on the events main runway model, DeOndra Dixon, who happens to be Jamie Foxx’s younger sister.

Other notables supporting the event include Actor/comedian Tom Arnold, sing-songwriter Josh Kelley, David Duval, Ed McCaffrey, John Lynch, Billy Van Heusen, Delvin Hughley and Miss Colorado 2009 Katie Layman.

About the ICON Awards

Begun in1999 this event honors the best and brightest professionals in the special events industry. Individuals and companies, who are involved in the production of special events, are invited to submit entries to COLORADO EXPRESSIONS magazine. Finalists are chosen based on creativity, originality, and overall integration of elements and execution of an event or service.

About New West Publishing and Colorado Expressions

New West Publishing was started in 1991 by Publisher / Owner Terry Vitale. After living in Colorado for most of her life, coupled with a career in publishing, Terry decided to produce magazines that highlight the best of the best in Colorado. Today, New West Publishing’s publications include Colorado Expression, Mangia, Confetti and Architecture & Design of the West.  Colorado Expression is a bi-monthly lifestyle publication.

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome by supporting basic research, clinical research and clinical care. Established in 2009, the foundation’s primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. The Linda Crnic Institute is the first organization in the US with the mission to eradicate the medical and cognitive ill effects associated with Down syndrome through basic and clinical research and through clinical care. The Linda Crnic Institute incorporates scientific partners both locally and globally, with headquarters at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado.  To learn more about the Global Down Syndrome Foundation or the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome please visit us at our interim site