Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Volunteers of America's Western Fantasy Honors Larry A. Mizel with the 2016 Humanitarian Award

Jordan Kellerman
Volunteers of America
Denver, CO 80205

July 20, 2016
Media Release

Sharon Magness Blake and the Western Fantasy Steering Committee are pleased to announce the 2016 Noel and Tammy Cunningham Humanitarian Award winner, Mr. Larry A. Mizel. The Cunningham Humanitarian Award is Volunteers of America Colorado Branch's highest honor, recognizing philanthropists whose generosity to Volunteers of America and many other organizations is changing the world.

Mizel graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1964, and with a JD degree from the University of Denver - College of Law in 1967. In 1972, Mizel founded the company that became M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (MDC), one of the nation's top homebuilders and a New York Stock Exchange-listed company. He serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MDC, parent-corporation of Richmond American Homes. Under his tenure, MDC realized revenues of nearly $5 billion in 2005 and over the past decade, has consistently maintained one of the strongest financial positions in the industry. MDC has the distinction of being one of the few homebuilding-based companies to receive an investment-grade rating from all three rating agencies.

Mizel has been actively involved in many charitable, religious and community causes. He is a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to helping people better understand the world and foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

As one of the early supporters of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Mizel has served as the international chairman of the board of trustees since 2003. Based in Los Angeles, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international human rights organization that promotes tolerance and combats racism and anti-Semitism around the world. Its educational arm, the Museum of Tolerance, a recipient of the 2004 Tolerance Award given at the United Nations, is a world-class human rights laboratory and learning center dedicated to challenging visitors to confront important contemporary issues. Mizel is also co-founder of the Museum of Tolerance-Jerusalem, a 3-acre campus, encompassing 37,161 sq.m. (400,000 sq.ft) of space and 21,600 sq.m.(232,500 sq.ft) of buildings to include: the Museum of Tolerance; a Children's Museum; theater complex; international conference center; library; gallery for special exhibitions; lecture halls and gardens. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is accredited as a non-governmental organization at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament.

In 1986, Mizel founded and served as the inaugural chairman of Colorado Concern, an organization committed to promoting sustainable business growth and advancing the economic well-being of Colorado.

Mizel is the founder of the Mizel Museum in Denver, Colorado, which provides regular artistic and educational programs that promote community understanding and tolerance for residents of the Rocky Mountain region.

Mr. Mizel founded, as a part of the Mizel Museum and corresponding Mizel Institute, The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL) in 2004. The CELL is a non-profit institution dedicated to addressing the most important global issue of our time — terrorism. Located in Denver, Colorado, the CELL opened its state-of-the-art facility in 2008 with the purpose of educating citizens on the realities of today's global terrorism threats, seeking to empower individuals and organizations with knowledge and tools to help them proactively affect positive change. It is the only exhibit of its kind in the world.

Mizel also founded the Mizel Arts and Culture Center (The MACC) located in Denver at the Jewish Community Center. The MACC illuminates the human experience through creative and cultural programs in the performing, visual, and literary arts for the Jewish community and the community at large.

As a founding member of The Denver Rustlers, Mizel works with other Colorado business leaders to support youth in the community. From raising scholarship money, to supporting participants at the Junior Livestock Sale at the annual Colorado State Fair, to opening the Denver Rustlers Kids Café in 1994 to combat childhood hunger, this organization strives to make a difference in children's lives.

Mizel will receive his award, live on stage on October 15 at the National Western Events Center. The 23rd Annual Western Fantasy will come to life at 5:45 p.m., when guests may enjoy a cocktail hour featuring the Trice Diamond Mine, a delicious dinner from Epicurean Catering, a live auction, and a private performance by Josh Turner.

For more information about tickets and table sales for Western Fantasy, visit or contact Michael James at 720-264-3322.


Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including the frail elderly, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, homeless individuals, women in need, and veterans and their families. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit


Western Fantasy is an annual fundraiser benefitting Volunteers of America Colorado Branch and all of its programs, including Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and The Brandon Safe Haven. In 1994 founders Sharon Magness-Blake and Jean Galloway conceived this event, a Western-style elegant gala featuring top country music entertainment for Denver's country music fans. The event is the signature fundraiser for Volunteers of America's programs aimed to assist most vulnerable neighbors.