Denver Actors Fund in Action: Matt Gnojek

Photo by Deb Flomberg.

A superhero in our midst injured in the service of others finds a community waiting to help him in his time of need

Aid recipient: Denver native Matt Gnojek recently starred as Seymour in Equinox Theatre Company’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The Aurora Sentinel’s Ramsey Scott called Gnojek “an amazing singer whose talent and genuineness pushed the musical to a higher place.” He also has performed with BDT Stage, Performance Now and Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Matt, who is only 30 years old, started his own 501c3 charity called “Colorado Captain” in 2016. Essentially, he takes on the persona of Captain America and rides on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle across the nation visiting hospitals and raising funds to fight pediatric cancer and support veterans, refugees and various child-focused causes. Matt is also the son of longtime BDT Stage drummer Nick Gnojek.

Matt Gnojek His medical story: On his most recent national charity ride in October, Matt was involved in a motorcycle accident in Peoria, Ill., that resulted in a broken ankle and subsequent surgery. He was ordered by his doctor to stay off his injured foot while he recovers, making him unable to work any of his three part-time jobs or conduct his charity work for three months.

More about Matt’s charity: For more than two years, Matt has been riding on a near-daily basis dressed as a star-spangled superhero named Colorado Captain to raise funds for charity and bring smiles to young and old throughout the Mile High City. “I’m no hero,” says Matt. “I’m just a guy in a suit. I support, promote and protect civil rights, human rights and children’s causes across the nation.” At the time of his accident in October, Matt had raised about $5,o00 for families batting pediatric cancer by visiting 16 states on his 2018 tour. For more information, go to ColoradoCaptain.Com

How we have helped: After an analysis of Matt’s financial situation, The Denver Actors Fund board has voted to provide him with $4,128 to help with essential living expenses and lost wages during his recovery.

How you can help us help Matt more: If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Matt pay down more of the expenses that have accrued while he has been unable to work, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Matt Gnojek’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation for Matt Gnojek. (He will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

How you can help us replenish: At The Denver Actors Fund, we love it when the money goes out as fast as it comes in, which means we are in a constant state of replenishment. That’s the gig. If you would like to help us do that, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link.

A message from Matt: “I hope that through this opportunity, I may continue to use my own charity work to benefit others in every possible way that I can. I can’t tell you how much the DAF means to me. You have proven the sincerity of your hearts by helping some of my dearest friends, and now me.” (Read the full text below.)

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $306,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.

THE FULL TEXT OF MATT GNOJEK’S MESSAGE TO DENVER ACTORS FUND SUPPORTERS:

Since 2010, I have been privileged to count myself an active member of the performing arts community here in Denver. I’ve celebrated the opportunity to work with inspiring companies such as BDT Stage, Performance Now, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Equinox and more. Over the past three years, my work in the community has focused around my own 501c3 charity called “Colorado Captain,” which sends Captain America out on a Harley to visit hospitals across the nation fundraising for pediatric cancer while also supporting veterans, refugees and other important child-focused causes. Following my injury in October (described above), I was forced to wait for my foot to heal. As months passed, bills and other stresses mounted at an alarming rate.

However, life has a miraculous way of pushing you to the brink just to remind you how very marvelous the gift of fellowship can be. While I’ve certainly been pleasantly aware of the DAF for quite some time, I never dreamed the day would come when I would consider submitting myself as a candidate for relief. But at the urging of friends in the community as well as my father, Nick Gnojek (longtime drummer at BDT Stage), I humbly submitted my application. When I learned to my utter astonishment that the DAF had approved the release of funds that would save me from the utter despair that has threatened countless artists throughout their careers, I was on the verge of joyful tears.

I am speechless in the face of this kindness, and my amazement is matched only by the inspiring, honest love that the DAF exemplifies in its mission to support so many talented theatre artists here in Colorado. It cannot be understated how very real this love is. I will never know what I have done to warrant such good friends, family and fellow artists in my life. I am, unequivocally, the luckiest man alive. Being loved by someone humbly gives you strength, and loving others gives you courage to see the journey through.

The time I have shared with all of you in the Denver arts family has been the single most valuable part of my life. For without your exceptional hearts and phenomenal talents, I would not be who I am today. 2018 has been an adventure, rich with challenge and ripe with reward. But this is just the beginning.

I hope that through this opportunity, I may continue to use my own charity work to benefit others, in every possible way that I can. I can’t tell you how much the DAF means to me. You have proven the sincerity of your hearts by helping some of my dearest friends, and now me. I hope that the excellent work you do in supporting the arts continues to thrive with every new life you touch.

I can’t wait to see what the future brings and I owe that future to The Denver Actors Fund.

Sincerely yours in unwavering gratitude.

Matt Gnojek

Channel 7 news report on Matt Gnojek:


HOW YOU CAN HELP US REPLENISH:

To DONATE to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)


ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $306,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers has offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in the Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information

COME TO OUR EVENTS:

Keep an eye out on this page for a list of fun upcoming events that benefit The Denver Actors Fund

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Kenny Moten joins Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors

Photo Courtesy Kenny Moten

Kenny Moten

‘Kenny Moten does everything with integrity. He’s a solid human being.’

If you think being a performer is hard, try being a performer and the owner of your own entertainment and consulting company. Kenny Moten makes the transition from actor to producer to businessman and back again in same manner that often describes his rich singing voice: Smooth as silk.

Moten, creator and owner of Narrative Creative Consulting, has been unanimously appointed to The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors, President Will Barnette announced today.

Moten presents and stars in his latest creation, In Tandem, tomorrow (December 7) at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. It will be an original concert featuring Colorado musicians performing songs from Carole King, Amy Winehouse, The Lumineers, Sia and more. And it is just one of six events Moten has scheduled over the next few months at theatres from Aurora to Johnstown.

“We are excited to have Kenny’s entrepreneurial drive and his genuine, caring heart to help us move The Denver Actors Fund forward,” Barnette said. “Kenny’s roots as a performer in the Colorado theatre community go back for decades – all of which will makes him a wonderful addition to our board.”

The 5-year-old Denver Actors Fund makes financial and practical assistance available to members of the Colorado theatre community facing situational medical need. Last month, The Denver Actors Fund surpassed $300,000 in distributed grants in addition to meals, groceries, transportation and other assistance.

Kenny Moten QUOTEMoten is an award-winning vocalist, creative director and writer who has performed on stages from New York to Los Angeles. Among his career highlights:

  • He served as the Artistic Director of Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins, where his original holiday show, Heart of the Holiday, runs now through December 24.
  • He conceived the design and implementation of Snooze A.M. Eatery’s current training program.
  • He worked as the Creative Director of Denver’s Imprint Group Events.
  • He co-wrote the Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards’ Best Musical nominee Motones vs Jerseys, which has upcoming engagements scheduled for Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown and BDT Stage in Boulder
  • He performs as a lead vocalist for In Tandem.
  • He won a 2017 True West Award for his multifaceted service to the Colorado theatre community.

“Kenny is rare because owning an entertainment business is brutal in a way that is very different from the way performing is brutal,” said Moten’s frequent creative partner Jalyn Courtenay Webb, who also serves as The Denver Actors Fund’s new liaison to theatre companies in Northern Colorado. “When you’re the boss, you are not only responsible for yourself, but for the people you hire and the team you put together. But Kenny has just the right temperament for it. He does everything with integrity. He’s a solid human being.”

The Denver Actors Fund: What is it all about?

Moten, who is originally from Hagerstown, Md., graduated from Highlands Ranch High School and the University of Colorado Denver. He transitioned from Barnstormer to leading man with a remarkable 2005 performance in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the late Country Dinner Playhouse opposite now Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. Westword’s Juliet Wittman called Moten not only “a wonderful singer with a voice full of poignancy and power,” but also “a charming and seductive performer who brings impressive precision and a smooth, lean elegance to the stage.”

Other major credits include Swing at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and Altar Boyz at the Clocktower Cabaret, but it wasn’t long before Moten was off to New York. He re-settled in Fort Collins a few years ago and has since been on a roll that has not only furthered his personal and professional interests, but has gainfully employed dozens of local actors and crew members on his many public and corporate projects.

“The thing I love about Kenny is that he’s so fun, but he’s also completely no-nonsense when it comes to the work,” said Webb. “He expects the highest quality and the highest level of performance possible from his performers, and we respect that. He knows what he wants — and he goes out and gets it.”

The Denver Actors Fund was founded in 2013 by former Denver Post Theatre Critic John Moore, who has been following Moten’s career from the beginning. Moore, the DAF’s Executive Director, said above all the many other reasons he is excited to have Moten join the board of his grassroots nonprofit: “He gets things done.” Moten also becomes the first DAF board member based outside of the Denver metro area, which is crucial now that The Denver Actors Fund has expanded eligibility to theatre artists throughout Colorado. Moten joins a board consisting of Barnette, Liz Scott-Mckean (Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden) and Penny Dwyer.

“I joined The Denver Actors Fund board because I believe in the importance of collective creativity, in the power of collaboration and in the inspiring spirit of the Colorado theatre community,” Moten said. “The DAF has accomplished incredible things in its first five years, and I want more people to know about it – both within our community of actors as well as our community of theatregoers.

“I am excited to be a part of continuing, expanding, and elevating DAF programing. There is always work to be done. There are always larger conversations to be had, and I look forward to serving as an advocate for Colorado artists.”

Kenny Moten’s Upcoming Shows