Summit Foundation awards $1.2 million to nonprofits | SummitDaily.com

Summit Foundation awards $1.2 million to nonprofits

The Summit Foundation has raised the bar for local philanthropy yet again by awarding $1.2 million worth of grants to 62 local nonprofits, the highest dollar amount ever for the foundation in a single grant cycle.

The grants can support almost anything, from environmentalists and theater troops to victims of assault and wounded warriors, but the program remains focused on four key impact areas: arts and culture, health and safety, youth development, and environmental stewardship.

"At The Summit Foundation, we are always looking to fund organizations that are innovating to address the unique challenges of living in our community," said executive director Jeanne Bistranin in a statement. "We want to support our year-round population so that we can enjoy life here in the mountains. With the cost of living continuously rising, we know how hard it can be for working families to make ends meet."

Most of the 62 organizations that received funding through the foundation's fall cycle had won grants in the past, but six were first-time recipients.

The majority of the grants went to organizations that promote youth development or health and safety, according to the foundation, which has backed projects like affordable child care, rent assistance, transportation and help with tuition, just to name a few.

The grants were made possible by donations from more than 3,000 individuals and businesses. The foundation has reportedly awarded more than $26.1 million since it started distributing the funds in 1986.

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"We do grants, for example, as small as $1,000 to $2,000, maybe for a Boy Scout troop or something like that," said events and marketing manager Elisabeth Lawrence, adding that the amounts awarded extend all the way up into six figures.

The largest grants are generally allocated to large nonprofits like health care providers or schools, she added, but one of the grants this year was made possible by numerous donations received in memory of Eric Dube, a much-loved 30-year-old physical therapist from Breckenridge who died of an undiagnosed heart condition while mountain biking near Moab, Utah, last November.

In Dube's memory, a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed on the McCullough Gulch Trail, south of Breckenridge, over the summer.

The trail sees about 30,000 hikers every year, according to the foundation, and the bridge will certainly serve them, while also allowing emergency responders on all-terrain vehicles trail access, which hasn't been possible in recent years.

"It's just an amazing project," Lawrence. "So many people use that trail, and these funds are really going to make a huge difference there and leave a legacy. That bridge is going to be there for generations."

The record amount awarded by the foundation this fall is also helping nonprofits set records of their own.

SOS Outreach is a national group that runs most of its programs in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Eagle and Summit counties and satellite programs in Leadville, Durango and Steamboat.

Most basically, SOS Outreach seeks to improve the lives of underprivileged children by allowing them to experience the joy of skiing and snowboarding, in addition to offering them other outdoor activities, mentorship programs, service learning and leadership training.

According to the nonprofit, SOS launched youth ski and snowboard programs in the Midwest earlier this year with help from Vail Resorts, further expanding its reach and the number of children across the country served by SOS programs.

In addition, the first week of February also marked SOS's largest week ever of on-the-hill programs with more than 1,700 children benefiting across 15 locations and nine states.

"This is a major milestone for our organization and demonstration of the transformative power of the outdoors," said Rebecca Gould, director of development and market, via email. She added that more than 245 of those youths are from Summit County.

This fall, the group received $15,500 through The Summit Foundation, including a $1,000 award through a donor-advised fund, the Hankison Family Advise Fund, to support its programs in Summit County and Leadville.

A donor-advised fund is one way local individuals can offer their support for their favorite programs and nonprofit organizations apart from the foundation's larger grant awards, Lawrence said.

Basically, an individual can establish one of these funds, and the foundation will provide that person with information about funding opportunities in the community, allowing that person to specifically choose what he or she wants to support.

"It's really a great way for people to be involved in philanthropy," Lawrence said, explaining that the foundation's goal is to match possible donors with causes they might want to support.

According to Joan Dieter, Colorado regional director for SOS Outreach, the funding SOS gets from the foundation has been crucial.

"We obviously could not do what we do without The Summit Foundation," Dieter said. "They make us feel at home in this community, and they are huge for us. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnered with them."

The foundation is now accepting applications for its spring grants cycle, and the deadline to apply is April 12. For more, go to TSFGrants.fluidreview.com.

Summit Foundation fall grant recipients

Following is a list of the nonprofit groups that received funding this fall through The Summit Foundation. An asterisk denotes Vail Resorts EpicPromise partner grants.

Arts and culture

• Alpenglow Chamber Music Festivals, Inc.

• Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

• Breckenridge Music Festival

• Lake County School District

• Lake Dillon Theatre Company

• National Repertory Orchestra

• Summit Concert Band

• Summit County Arts Council

• Summit Youth Orchestra

Bright futures (youth development)

• Boy Scout Troop 188

• Breckenridge Montessori

• Bright Start Learning Center

• Catholic Charities

• Colorado Mountain College Foundation

• Early Childhood Options*

• Easter Seals Colorado

• Education Foundation of the Summit

• Grand Beginnings

• High Country Soccer Association

• Keystone Science School

• Lake Dillon Preschool & Early Learning Center

• National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc.

• NorthWest Colorado Center for Independence

• Pack 186 with Chartered Sponsor

• Elks Lodge 2561

• Park County Public Library

• SOS Outreach

• South Park Early Childhood, Park County

• School District RE-2

• Summit County Preschool

• Summit County Youth and Family Services

• Summit Rugby

• Summit School District

• Summit Stix Lacrosse Club

• The Peak School

• YouthEntity

Environmental stewardship

• Cloud City Conservation Center

• Continental Divide Land Trust

• Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness*

• Friends of the Dillon Ranger District*

• Friends of the Lower Blue River*

• High Country Conservation Center*

• USAFA Department of Civil and

• Environmental Engineering

Healthy and safe communities

• Advocates for Victims of Assault

• Advocates of Lake County

• Bethany Immigration Services

• Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center

• CASA of the Continental Divide

• Family & Intercultural Resource Center

• Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center

• Horizons Specialized Services

• Lake County Community Fund

• Mind Springs Health

• Mountain Family Center

• Northwest Colorado Health

• Park County Search & Rescue

• Park County Senior Coalition

• Rocky Mountain Rural Health

• Summit Community Care Clinic

• Summit County Coroner’s Office

• Summit Rotary Charitable Fund

• TreeTop Child Advocacy Center*

• Wounded Heroes Family Adventures