Summit Foundation celebrates 20 years |

Summit Foundation celebrates 20 years


Editor’s Note: Starting today, the Summit Daily News begins a series profiling The Summit Foundation which is celebrating its 20th anniversary of charitable giving. The series runs Tuesdays and Sundays.

BRECKENRIDGE – It’s not typical of Summit County, but then again, The Summit Foundation isn’t a typical organization.

Five hundred people rushed to buy $175 tickets for The Summit Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration at Sharon Magness’ and Ernie Blake’s Triple Creek Ranch north of Silverthorne.

After sending invitations to thousands of people on the foundation’s mailing list, the July 2 event only took three weeks to sell out, and when organizers added 100 extra tickets, they went within three days, said Deb Edwards, executive director of The Summit Foundation.

“We thought we were going to have to work hard to sell 400 tickets, but it became clear that wasn’t the case,” Edwards said. “This just is not typical – this is Summit County, where everyone waits until the last minute (to buy tickets).”

“It shocked the heck out of everybody,” said Nancy Follett, board president. “But I think part of it is the intrigue of the ranch. The other part of it is there’s a lot of support in Summit County for The Summit Foundation.”

The event took a year to plan. Board members desired a Western elegance theme dinner and entertainment, so when Magness and Blake offered their ranch – complete with two 25,000 square-foot homes, a large tent that will hold 500 people, amazing views of the Gore Range, fishing ponds and wildlife – the board gratefully accepted.

“(The ranch is), I think, what people imagine living in Colorado is all about,” Edwards said.

“I think it will be one of the nicer events that Summit County has seen,” said Barbara McCleneghan, event co-chairwoman. “The location is beautiful, and everything is going to be presented in a very elegant way – Colorado Rocky Mountain style.”

Epicurean Catering of Denver will serve a four-course dinner.

“I have sampled the food, and it’s fabulous,” McCleneghan said. “They do it first class.”

Various performing arts organizations – most of which The Summit Foundation has helped fund – will perform, including members of the National Repertory Orchestra, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Summit Community Orchestra, the Summit Concert Band and pianist Michael Bunchman.

Wendy Wolfe, a videographer who has worked for Disney and Channel 9, will present her film tracing the history of the foundation.

And, there’s a surprise ending to the evening, which Edwards cheerfully conceals.

“We wanted to design an event that had a variety of reasons for people to want to come – No. 1 to celebrate 20 years of support of The Summit Foundation and No. 2 to attend an event in a beautiful, nonpublic location.

“Looking at the guest list, it is a cross section of Summit County. It clearly represents the donor base of the Summit Foundation.”

In honor of the 20th anniversary, the foundation started an endowment fund campaign to add to its $2.5 million fund. It plans to raise $200,000, a third of which will come from board and staff gifts, a third of which the board hopes to raise at the July 2 event, and a third it hopes to receive from the community.

The foundation plans to reach the $6 million mark in grant awards this year. It regularly funds 60-80 nonprofit organizations.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at

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