Partnership of Generosity and Gratitude
In the Spring of 2015, Darcie Denkert Notkin and Shelby Notkin made a generous offer to the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology: they would match, up to $150,000, all donations made by new donors and donations over what individuals had given in the previous fiscal year. This Matching Challenge Grant had a short timeframe – just a little over three months, but it was a challenge that was worth our investment of time, energy, and a little creativity. As we close this fiscal year 2014-2015, we are happy to announce we met our match and then some! And, when the Denkert Notkin matching gift check arrived, it also exceeded its original promise! Needless to say, everyone associated with the Simms/Mann Center is extremely pleased with the outcome, and we are so deeply grateful to Darcie and Shelby, who are two truly remarkable individuals with a great deal of heart.
Darcie Denkert Notkin has served on the Advisory Board of the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology for the past two years. She learned about the Simms/Mann Center and our work through her own breast cancer diagnosis over five years ago. Shelby Notkin is familiar with cancer too, having lost his first wife to breast cancer 14 years ago. Between the two of them, they have a good, true appreciation of the mission of the Simms/Mann Center. “The leadership of the Center recognized a crucial unmet need in the cancer community – complete patient centered care including psychological support. The work done by the Center is essential. The caring of patients and their families is heartfelt and the quality of the leadership and staff, and the work they do, is extraordinary. We are proud to be supportive of such an exemplary organization,” said Darcie and Shelby.
Both Darcie and Shelby have had active, successful careers and are true philanthropists. Both have a long history of giving and are well known in charitable circles.
Darcie began her career as a theatrical lawyer involved in Broadway and off-Broadway productions, and subsequently held senior level Business Affairs positions at MGM, United Artists, and Embassy Pictures. In 2002, she was named President of MGM’s Entertainment Business Group and, as President of MGM ON STAGE, was charged with shepherding MGM’s active return to Broadway. Her Broadway credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Legally Blonde; and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. In 2005 Darcie’s book, “A Fine Romance,” which chronicles the love-hate-love relationship between Hollywood and Broadway was published to critical acclaim and popular success, and all her royalties were donated to charities. Darcie serves as a Director of The Motion Picture and Television Fund, a member of the Actor’s Fund National Advisory Board, and is involved with a number of animal anti-cruelty and rescue organizations.
Shelby has had a long and successful career in the financial world, and has recently retired as Chairman of the Capital Group’s Private Client Services Division. Prior to joining that organization in 1993, he was a senior executive at Morgan Stanley and E.F. Hutton. He serves as a trustee and board member of the St. John’s Health Center Foundation and is the founder and chairman of the Notkin Family Breast Cancer Recovery Program at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He is also an active member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of LA’s Music Center, the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, and serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative.
“It has been nothing short of exceptional working with Darcie Denkert Notkin on the Advisory Board,” said Founding Director Anne Coscarelli, Ph.D. “Darcie is a delight. She is interesting, has great ideas and knows a lot about giving and people. She is brilliant, empathic and works well with all of the other Advisory Board members.” It has been truly extraordinary how the entire Simms/Mann Community and many philanthropists rallied around this challenge. We had notable gifts from many foundations, and many Advisory Board members increased their gifting. Most specially, patients, their families and friends, helped out and gave what they could, often extending themselves. Our staff and their children held lemonade stands; we were included in the Face Off With Cancer hockey challenge for the cause; Wendy’s Walk donated funds raised by a young woman who lost both her mother and father to cancer and received care at the Center; and Advisory Board members hosted dinners, invited their friends and asked them to contribute. One board member who hosted such a dinner, Ron King, matched the donations of employees of Centaurus Financial Inc., thus quadrupling the match. It was nothing short of a labor of love, from the original matching challenge by the Notkins to each dollar raised with all manners of creativity. It is heartwarming to see what can be accomplished with a little fuel and a lot of care.
The Simms/Mann Center extends a deep and grateful thank you to Darcie and Shelby and to everyone who participated in this match! We offer our services without fees; we are 100% dependent on philanthropy. These funds will be used to continue to offer the wealth of services to our UCLA patients and families touched by cancer so that all can have the psychological, spiritual and mind-body support that they need through the continuum of cancer and its treatments. We hope to keep this momentum moving so that we continue to have the ability to reach more patients and families facing the challenges of this disease.