2010 Community Cultural Enrichment Award Dinner

Anna and John Sie honored

The deserving couple of Anna and John J. Sie were the recipients of the 2010 Community Cultural Enrichment Award presented at the Mizel Museum’s 20th gala dinner on May 27.

Larry Mizel presents John J. and Anna Sie with a special Kaddish Cup.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

The 2010 award was a dual presentation honoring the Sies for giving back to the community in Colorado through philanthropic support of education, arts and culture, and health services.

The dinner attracted a huge crowd including elected officials and candidates for Colorado governor, U.S. Senate and other offices.

Honorary chairpersons of the event were all seven members of Colorado’s bipartisan congressional delegation, as well as United States Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Gov. Bill and First Lady Jeanne Ritter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer.

In 2005, John and his wife Anna established the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation. The Foundation is a supporter of The Children’s Hospital; the University of Colorado system; the University of Denver’s “SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center for International Security and Diplomacy”; the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST); the Denver Art Museum; and numerous other civic, cultural and educational institutions.

Gov. Bill Ritter, Ginnie Kontnik and Attorney General John Suthers.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

In addition, the Foundation serves as a catalyst for improving the lives of people with Down syndrome, including one of the Sie’s young grandchildren. In September of 2008, the Foundation became the founding donor of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first global institute to encompass basic research, clinical research and clinical care specifically for people with Down syndrome.

Anna Sie, a native of Italy, immigrated to the U.S. in 1955 and grew up in New Jersey. Only a pre-teen, Anna was thrown into the difficult role of caring for her father and brothers and became the woman of the house. Her passion for the welfare of children was forged through her own experience in coming to America. Anna spends most of her free time with her four grandchildren, while staying actively involved in many Italian-related endeavors in Colorado, including endowing the Anna Maglione-Sie Chair in Italian Language and Culture — the first endowment in languages at the University of Denver and establishing the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award at the Denver Starz Film Festival.

Independence Institute President Jon Caldara and Director of Development Julie Mallon.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

John J. Sie, a native of China, came to the U.S. in 1950 at the age of 14. Sie is founder, former Chairman and CEO of Starz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG) and is recognized as a leading figure in television media. In 1989, against all media wonks, Sie submitted the only white paper urging Congress and the FCC to adopt an all digital HDTV standard, a move that dramatically changed the landscape of television in this country and the world. Many people consider John Sie as the father of digital television.

Sie is also committed to bridging the U.S.-China relationship through mutual understanding, dialog and respect, which Museum founder Larry Mizel highlighted in his introduction of the couple.

In 2007, Anna and John received the “Torch of Liberty Award” from the Anti Defamation League Mountain States Region. Motivated by a personal commitment to philanthropy Sie remarked, “Anna and I lived the American Dream as immigrants to this country. All my life, my modus operandi is to see what is possible, regardless of conventional wisdom, and doing the seemingly improbable.”

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway accepts an award for his role in a counter terrorism video for The CELL.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

As the largest annual Colorado fundraiser, the Mizel Museum Dinner helps sustain the programs offered by the Mizel Museum, which now encompass three locations. Babi Yar Park, located at Havana and Yale in southeast Denver is an open air memorial to those lost in the Holocaust in the Ukraine will become a memorial to victims of world terror. The CELL, or Center for Empowering Living and Learning, is a 6000 square-foot center of learning and awareness tracking terrorism around the world through an experimental and interactive exhibit “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism.”

Since 1990, the Mizel Museum has acknowledged outstanding contributions to the arts with their annual award. Past recipients are Dean Singleton, Norman Brownstein, and 2007 honoree Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Honorary Consul to Morocco Josh Hanfling and Mark Holtzman of Barclays Capitol.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman
Former Gov. Bill Owens, Dean Singleton, publisher of The Denver Post and CEO of MediaNews Group, and Joe Blake, chancellor of Colorado State University.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff
The Colorado Statesman