How Barbara Davis Lures Hollywood Bigwigs to Colorado for Annual Diabetes Fundraiser

Barbara Davis Headshot - P 2013
Getty Images

Barbara Davis Headshot - P 2013

"Charity benefits in the rest of the country don't have Paramount and HBO buying tables," says the philanthropy doyenne of the Carousel Ball, which this year honors Denver Broncos general manager John Elway and wife Paige.

If you’re having a fundraiser in Denver and you want to honor a local god, then John Elway is your deity of choice.

“Like, there’s a bigger name in Colorado?” says Barbara Davis, who is honoring the quarterback (now general manager) who led the Denver Broncos to a pair of Super Bowl wins and his wife Paige Oct. 2 at the Carousel Ball, the annual event that benefits Davis' Denver-based Center for Diabetes. Usher, whose son Usher Raymond V has type I diabetes, will perform at the gala.

“What’s unique about this event is we’re bringing talent and support from the Hollywood community to another part of the country,” says Davis. “Charity benefits in the rest of the country don’t get people like Usher to perform, or have Paramount and HBO buying tables. We take this money and give children who come in from all over the world the best diabetes treatment available.”

Davis began using the Hollywood-to-Denver connection in 1981 when her late husband Marvin bought 20th Century Fox. She began getting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Lucille Ball flying to Colorado for her center’s fundraiser. “I’m telling you, it’s good to own a studio,” she says. “Suddenly people are taking your phone calls and saying yes. It’s really amazing.”