The Summit Foundation announces largest grant cycle increase in its history | SummitDaily.com

The Summit Foundation announces largest grant cycle increase in its history

Jessica Smith
jsmith@summitdaily.com

The Summit Foundation's 2014 fall grant cycle registered the greatest increase in the history of the organization. After extensive research and discussion of applications, the board of trustees awarded $839,166 in grants to 48 nonprofit organizations in Summit County and the surrounding Grand, Lake and Park counties. That is $110,679 more than the amount allocated for the 2013 fall grant cycle, which totaled $728,487.

"I'm proud that the organization has been able to fund as much as it has, and that we're able to meet a lot of the needs that were asked for in this cycle's grant request," said Lee Zimmerman, executive director of The Summit Foundation. "It's wonderful."

DILIGENT RESEARCH

The Summit Foundation holds two grant cycles each year — one in the fall and one in the spring. Each time, members of the board of trustees volunteer their time to spend a few months of research, including going through thousands of pages of applications and conducting follow-up interviews, to decide how to allocate the grant money available.

After all the research is finished, the grant committee convenes to discuss and make final decisions. This year the committee was made up of 18 members.

"I think that there's some security in knowing that one's donation is really going to the right place when you have these amazing professionals on our board of trustees that work together to decide this is the best place to put our money," said Elisabeth Lawrence, events and marketing coordinator with The Summit Foundation.

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STRONG PARTNERSHIPS

There were several factors that contributed to the large increase of grant money in the fall cycle, including larger income from community fundraisers, increased donation through employee giving programs and donor advised funds, and partnerships with the local ski areas.

"All our fundraiser events were record-breaking last year," said Lawrence. The foundation's annual golf tournament, rubber duck race and Parade of Homes events earned more money than they ever had before, as well as annual end-of-year contributions increasing.

Many local businesses participate in the employee giving program, in which employees within the company can choose to donate an amount of money from their paycheck directly to The Summit Foundation.

"We see that growing all the time," Lawrence said. "Which I think is great, that it's becoming part of the culture of Summit County."

For the 2014 fall grant cycle, The Summit Foundation partnered with EpicPromise — a branch of Vail Resorts dedicated to environmental and community sustainability efforts — on $85,000 worth of grants for three local nonprofits: Early Childhood Options, Education Foundation of the Summit and Summit County Government Youth and Family Services.

"We're thrilled to be able to bring partners in to make it work," said Zimmerman.

Vail Resorts, as well as Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Copper Mountain Resort, are part of the Patron Pass Program, which Lawrence said is a "cornerstone" to the foundation's work. The program provides medallions, which serve as transferrable ski passes to all of Summit County's skiing areas, as well as Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek.

"We are indebted to our local ski areas for providing those passes, because that helps raise nearly $1 million a year," Lawrence said. "We're just incredibly grateful."

SEEKING DIVERSITY

Of the grants allocated in the fall cycle, 42.93 percent went to health and human service organizations, 26.28 percent went to education, 19.42 percent went to arts and culture organizations, 4.29 percent went to environmental groups, 3.87 percent went to programs in neighboring communities and 3.22 percent went to sports and recreation groups.

"That is truly our purpose, to raise money to benefit the community, and in turn to distribute those funds out to our local nonprofits," said Lawrence. That means organizations of all sizes.

"That's what I think is important for the community to know," she added, citing the Summit Community Care Clinic and the Summit High School After Prom program as examples. "They both received grants from us. Even though they're totally different amounts, they're all part of the same pie and that's making a difference in our community."

Some new recipients this year include Summit in Honduras — a Breckenridge-based nonprofit that does outreach to impoverished communities in Honduras — as well Summit Rugby, and the Mountain Family Center in Kremmling, which is looking to start their own version of The Summit Foundation's after-school CATCH program.

"It's really across the whole county and that I totally love," said Lawrence. "It's not just Breckenridge, it's not just Frisco. It's really county-wide."

While some organizations apply for grants every year, others only apply in certain years, when they have a project coming up. Such was the case with the Summit Public Radio & TV (SPRTV), a local nonprofit that keeps Summit County connected to the outside world via antenna television and radio signals. The group was awarded a grant that will go toward replacing 3 miles of cable to the station at the top of Bald Mountain.

"We got huge support, I was thrilled," said Sue Greene, vice president of development for SPRTV, about The Summit Foundation grant. Though it's only a single part of the fundraising necessary for the project, knowing that it was approved "is pretty amazing," she said.

ANOTHER SUCCESS

Zimmerman, who has been executive director since 2006, is serving his last month in the position, after announcing his decision to retire in 2014. Knowing that his last grant cycle has been so successful has been wonderful, he said.

"In 2006, the foundation had a goal of doubling the amount of money it was able to distribute — not raise, but distribute — and … I think it took us about six years to do it, and then we've been able to do more and more with that at this point," he said.

It's also a trend he believes will continue.

THE SUMMIT FOUNDATION DECEMBER 2014 GRANT AWARDS

TOTAL GRANTED: $839,166

ART & CULTURE: $163,000 GRANTED, 19.42% OF TOTAL

Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival – Support of two public concerts; college scholarships; a high school workshop. K

Backstage Theatre – The Jungle Book summer 2015 production; 2nd part of the ski area trilogy.

Breckenridge Music Festival – Music in Schools, free Family Concert, day camp programs. LW

Friends of the Lower Blue River – Challenge/matching grant for Slate Creek Hall restoration. LW

Lake Dillon Foundation for the Performing Arts – Kids Theatre, Sunset at the Summit Concert, Regular Season Theatre, and summer musical series. K, LW

National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) – Education & community engagement programs, free chamber concerts.

Summit Concert Band – Music at the Summit Band Institute.

Summit Public Radio & TV – Replacement of 3 mile long power line.

EDUCATION: $220,500 GRANTED, 26.28% OF TOTAL

After Prom – Support for the after-prom event for Summit High School Students.

Breckenridge Montessori – Scholarships.

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center – Scholarships for Adaptive Ski programs, purchase of a 15 passenger van. LW

Colorado Avalanche Information Center – General operating support; Know Before You Go program; Snow and Avalanche Workshop. LW

Colorado Mountain College – Leadership Summit program. Ft

Colorado Mountain College Foundation– Developmental Education program.

Cub Scout Pack 186 – Funding assistance for attendance at Keystone Science School.

Early Childhood Options – Healthy Child Care program. Funding in partnership with EpicPromise. K

Education Foundation of the Summit – Teacher grants. Funding in partnership with EpicPromise.

Keystone Science School – Transitions program at Summit Middle School. K

Lake Dillon Preschool and Early Learning Center – Building repairs.

SOS Outreach – Youth development programs.

Summit County Preschool – CCCAP tuition support, scholarships, and repainting.

Summit High School Instrumental Music Department – Professional musicians and community interaction program. F

The Peak School – Tuition assistance.

ENVIRONMENT: $36,000 GRANTED, 4.29% OF TOTAL

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District – Volunteer and youth stewardship projects.

Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness – Lumber for boardwalk on Gore Range/ Wheeler Lake Trail.

High Country Conservation Center – General operating funds and “Grow to Share” food donation program. Ft

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICE: $360,230 GRANTED, 42.93% OF TOTAL

Advocates for Victims of Assault – Resource Development/Victim Advocate position, Latina Outreach coordinator, Outreach and Education coordinator, and suicide prevention counseling. Ft, M

Boy Scout Troop 188 – Equipment storage shed.

Bristlecone Foundation – Respite care strategic plan.

CASA of the Continental Divide – CASACD program. LW

Easter Seals of Colorado – 2014 Summit County summer day camp program, evening parent workshops.

Family & Intercultural Resource Center – Family and individual support; Families United program. K, Ft

MindSprings Health – Summit Safe Haven; 24 Hour Detox and Mental Health Triage Unit. Ft

Summit Community Care Clinic – Support for unreimbursed health services to residents of Summit County. M

Summit County Youth and Family Services – Mountain Mentors and prevention program for youth. Funding in partnership with EpicPromise.

Summit Habitat for Humanity – Infrastructure and capacity building. H

Summit in Honduras – Summit County young professionals to attend a medical support trip.

Summit Medical Center Health Foundation – SANE program.

Summit Rotary – Weekly community dinner; food for Friday Backpack program. Ft

Wounded Warriors Family Adventures – Materials and services provided to wounded veterans and their families.

SPORTS & RECREATION: $27,000 GRANTED, 3.22% OF TOTAL

High Country Soccer Association – Scholarship assistance.

Summit Huts Association – Support for hut nights for nonprofit educational groups. LW

Summit Rugby – Scholarships; program expansion; safety equipment and uniforms.

NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES: $32,436 GRANTED, 3.87% OF TOTAL

Advocates for Lake County – Agency support.

Grand Beginnings – Service and support through CCR&R and Pyramid Plus activities.

Mountain Family Center – Kremmling Food Bank; school based CATCH program; Hunger Relief program; Tots program.

Mountain Valley Developmental Services – Support for Lake County individuals with developmental disabilities.

Park County Parents as Teachers / Park County School District – Family Resource Specialist.

When noted previously, funding also provided by:

Ft Follett Advised Fund

H The Highlands at Breckenridge Advised Fund

K The Keltner Family Fund

LW The Lenzmeier/Williams Advised Fund

M The Millisor Family Fund