Global Down Syndrome Foundation Receives Transformative Gift from Long-Time Benefactor Sandy Wolf and The Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation to Support Inspirational Dancers with Down Syndrome


A Fitting Legacy for the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Class at Colorado Ballet

Sandy Wolf & Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Program students

2024 Spring Recital
2024 Spring Recital

Denver, June 18, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) announced today that it has received a transformative gift from their long-time benefactor and generous philanthropist, Sandy Wolf, and The Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation.

The gift is a fitting legacy for the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Program (Program) which is a collaboration between GLOBAL and Colorado Ballet. The Program was established in 2010 with one class of six students with Down syndrome. Today the Program has three classes serving students with Down syndrome ages 5-17.  

“We are beyond grateful to Sandy Wolf and her two daughters Kelly Ann Hodges and Ashly Wolf who supported us when this dance program was barely an idea,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, GLOBAL President & CEO. “The authentic and sincere love that Sandy has for our students and this program is extremely moving and appreciated. This gift is truly transformative and ensures we can continue to provide this important program to the awesome students with Down syndrome we serve.”

“It’s been an honor and joy to support such an amazing program over the years! I’ve had the pleasure of watching these dancers grow up right before my eyes. Continuing to support GLOBAL and this program is something I am happy to be able to do,” says Sandy Wolf.  

“This program has been so important to my daughter, Shelby and our family,” says Sophia, Shelby’s mom. “When Shelby first started the GLOBAL dance program she wouldn’t wear the costume, get on stage, and she would run. But the Colorado Ballet teachers were not phased, and they just kept supporting her until she had the confidence to do all the moves and dances. I cried when I saw her in the official production of the Nutcracker.”

“Colorado Ballet is proud to offer the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Program as part of our Mission. As a non-profit organization we depend on funding to sustain our ability to provide this critical program to our community,” says Gil Boggs, Artistic Director. “Colorado Ballet extends our heartfelt gratitude to Global Down Syndrome Foundation and to Sandy Wolf along with her daughters Kelly Ann Hodges and Ashly Wolf for their many years of generosity in support of this important program.”

The Dance Program is taught by instructors and professional dancers from the Colorado Ballet. Students learn the fundamentals of ballet and build upon their knowledge year after year. The Dance Program offers two 16-week semesters, each with three classes of 8-10 students grouped by age and skill level. Each semester culminates in a recital for family and friends at Denver’s Colorado Ballet. The Dance Program is nationally renowned for selecting two students each year to perform in Colorado Ballet’s official production of “The Nutcracker.”

The Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation was founded in Colorado by Melvin and Elaine Wolf in 1979. The organization provides funds to non-profit organizations whose programs address children’s health and education access as well as programs that improve adult health and reduce suffering through education and technology.


About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and 2,500 patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and medical care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 110 Down syndrome organizations worldwide and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include GLOBAL Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down SyndromePrenatal & Newborn Down Syndrome Information, and the award-winning Down Syndrome World™ magazine. GLOBAL also organizes the annual AcceptAbility Gala in Washington DC, and the annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world.


CONTACT: Cole Wilkes Global Down Syndrome Foundation (720) 548-5667 [email protected] Allison Munk Global Down Syndrome Foundation (720) 548-5632 [email protected] 

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