The Summit Foundation announces winners of 24th annual Philanthropy Awards |

The Summit Foundation announces winners of 24th annual Philanthropy Awards

Back row: Jeff Westcott, Brian Edney, Sue Rodgers, Christopher Alleman (LDTC), Lee Zimmerman, Sha Miklas, Joel Rivera (SMS), Laura Dziedzic, Jerry Dziedzic.
Joe Kusumoto / Special to the Daily |

The 24th annual Philanthropy Awards on Friday, Nov. 21 celebrated the vital contributions nonprofit organizations and individuals make to the mountain community. Friends, colleagues, community and family members gathered at Keystone Conference Center to honor this year’s Philanthropy Award recipients. The event, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, Climax Molybdenum Company and The Summit Foundation, recognized and honored donors, volunteers, nonprofit leaders and organizations for their commitment to the community through varying entities.

The 2014 awards were presented to Sha Miklas as Outstanding Board Member, Brian Edney as Outstanding Citizen, Lake Dillon Theatre Company as the Outstanding Community Organization, Ashley Smith as Outstanding Educator, Nubia Sanchez as Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit Organization, Laura and Jerry Dziedzic as the Dr. Oliver Stonington Outstanding Philanthropists, Sue Rodgers as Outstanding Volunteer, Ben Hull as Outstanding Youth, Jeff Westcott as the David Olbright Outstanding Youth Mentor, Lee Zimmerman with the Spirit of the Summit award and Conexiones received the Community Collaboration Award. Including this year’s recipients, 243 individuals, families, community organizations and businesses have been recognized for their generosity and support to the community over the past 24 years.

Honored as Outstanding Board Member, Sha Miklas serves as board president for High Country Conservation Center. In addition, she volunteers with Continental Divide Land Trust and Domus Pacis Family Respite. She is known for her leadership, chairing events and committees for these nonprofits, and for inspiring others to become more active in the Summit County community.

Outstanding Citizen Brian Edney spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center. He led Summit County Library Foundation’s revitalization and helped form the Capital Campaign committee for this $2 million fundraising effort. Edney also chairs Silverthorne’s Economic Advisory Committee, serves on the Board of Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival and has been instrumental in establishing a neighborhood scholarship program which has raised $100,000.

Celebrating its 20th season, Lake Dillon Theatre Company (LDTC) was recognized as Outstanding Community Organization. LDTC was complimented for its community partnership initiatives including the LDTC Gives Back program, in which they offer up to four performances annually to support fellow nonprofit organizations, as well as their arts scholarship program, youth theater workshop scholarship program and an integrated in-school enrichment program.

Ashley Smith, language arts instructor at Summit Middle School, was honored as this year’s Outstanding Educator. Nominated by one of her students, Smith exemplifies enthusiasm, optimism, mentoring and an ability to develop meaningful relationships with both students and staff. In addition, she is valued for her inspiration and supportive nature as a coach of the high school rugby team.

Honored as Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit Organization, Nubia Sanchez serves as the parent educator at the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC). A former resident of Mexico, Sanchez has been in this position with FIRC for nine years and has helped over 200 local children, along with their parents, achieve developmental milestones to help them enter kindergarten ready to succeed. In addition, Sanchez leads the monthly Mamacitas group which is empowering Latino women in the community.

This year’s Dr. Oliver Stonington Outstanding Philanthropist Award recognized Laura and Jerry Dziedzic. Jerry currently serves as president of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (BHA), while Laura serves as president of Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF). In addition to their generosity to organizations like BHA, BMF and The Summit Foundation, the Dziedzics made a lead gift in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center’s capital campaign.

With hundreds of volunteer hours logged in the community annually, Sue Rodgers was aptly recognized as Outstanding Volunteer. Known as the “go-to” parent, Rodgers has coordinated hot meals during parent-teacher conferences at both Summit Middle School and High School. As a board member of Summit Youth Hockey, Rodgers manages the volunteers for their annual Hockey Classic. Additionally, Rodgers serves as a Mountain Mentor, has been fostering a dog and her seven puppies for the Summit County Animal Shelter and annually co-chairs a rummage sale for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Summit High School senior Ben Hull was recognized as the Outstanding Youth. A pre-collegiate program student, Hull serves as class president, president of the Spanish Honor Society, as well as captain of the Summit Tigers football team. Hull is a Gold Honor Roll student and has been a member of the Leadership class each of his four years at Summit High. In February, Hull participated in a medical mission trip to Haiti.

The David Olbright Outstanding Youth Mentor Award was given to Jeff Westcott. “Westy” has been a mentor to local youth for the past 20 years as a ski race coach and the past 13 years as the founder and director of Mountain Bike Junior League. Westy has inspired youth to be respectful, active participants and to volunteer in the community. Through his personal connection with every kid in his programs, he encourages sportsmanship and the development of good character.

During a surprise presentation, Lee Zimmerman was recognized with the Spirit of the Summit award. This award is given infrequently, last being presented in 2010. Zimmerman, the executive director of The Summit Foundation, has announced his plans for retirement in early 2015. This award was presented to him because he shows a will and character that stands as an example to others as well as a visible, tangible spirit that touches, changes and enhances all who come into contact with him.

The Community Collaboration Award was presented to Conexiones, a collaboration between Summit School District and FIRC. The partnership connects English Language Learner families with home visits and classes to improve academic success. Student attendance, behavior and test scores have shown marked improvements in the 70 families served through this program.

The Summit Foundation thanks the community for all of their heartfelt nominations and support for these wonderful individuals and organizations.

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