Beth Klein’s efforts to stop human trafficking are rewarded at Blacktie-Colorado’s 10th anniversary party
By Joanne Davidson The Denver Post Joanne Davidson
It’s tough to write about Beth Klein and what she has done to deserve the Georgia R. Imhoff Philanthropist & Community Volunteer Extraordinaire Award. The Boulder attorney is a world leader in the fight to stop human trafficking — especially that which involves children — and while what she does is extremely important, it’s not easy to hear about, read about or write about.
She has brought the depth and severity of the issue to the attention of those in high places, and people are not only listening, they’re acting. Traffickers are being arrested, brought to trial and punished. There’s still much to be done, but Klein and an ever-growing network of like-minded activists are determined to keep chipping away as momentum builds and the problem is better addressed.
In 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Klein was a key player in mobilizing an armada of volunteers to ensure that orphans whose adoptions were already finalized were transported off the island and into the arms of their forever families in the U.S.
Her work is recognized through magazine and newspaper articles, radio and television appearances, and by numerous invitations to speak at conferences and training sessions around the world.
On Tuesday night, she was given the second Georgia P. Imhoff Philanthropist & Community Volunteer Extraordinaire Award at a party marking the 10th anniversary of Blacktie-Colorado. Imhoff was Blacktie’s co-founder; she died from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
The award is given every other year.
Imhoff’s daughter, Stacy Ohlsson, and her widower, Walt Imhoff, described Georgia’s passion for philanthropy; in particular, her dedication to helping abused children. Ryta Sondergard, the award’s first recipient, made the actual presentation.
“There was fire, there was wind, there was water and now there is you,” Sondergard said as she handed the award to Beth Klein.
Beth Klein, who like Georgia, was involved with the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, recalled a lunch date they had at Strings shortly after they first met. “We were sitting there eating those delicious breadsticks and butter when Georgia asked if people thought I was crazy,” Beth Klein said. “I said ‘yes, they do,’ and Georgia replied ‘We’ll be friends, then, because people say that about me, too.’ ”
“I knew Georgia for not long enough,” Beth Klein continued. “What I will always remember, though, is the sparkle in her eye and that unstoppable spirit.”
Georgia, along with Kenton Kuhn, started Blacktie as an online community that offered services like a calendar for nonprofit organizations to post dates for their fundraisers, and photographic coverage of those events. It has since expanded to 11 markets nationwide, and continues to add components that streamline and simplify such tasks as reservations, silent auctions and seating.
The anniversary party was held at the new Celebrity Lanes at Parker and Arapahoe roads. Nancy Koontz, a Blacktie columnist, and her husband, Bob, are partners in the venture.
In addition to Klein, her husband, Judge Jamie Klein, and their son, Connor, special guests at the party were Elizabeth Byrnes Crony, her husband, Ed, and their daughter, Peyton. Elizabeth had been one of the Blacktie principals in its early days; she and her family now live in New York.
Joanne Davidson: 303-809-1314, email@example.com and @GetItWrite