Summit Foundation to present Summit community with 2020 Philanthropy Award |

Summit Foundation to present Summit community with 2020 Philanthropy Award

In a difficult year, when so many people and organizations have sacrificed and given back to the community, The Summit Foundation had a different idea for its 2020 Philanthropy Awards. Rather than give out 10 or so awards to individuals and groups, why not give the award to the entire Summit County community after all it’s been through amid the pandemic?

“Since March, we’ve had to pivot on everything — on our events, fundraising, everything,” said Jeanne Bistranin, executive director of The Summit Foundation. “So when we started talking about the Philanthropy Awards, we thought it wouldn’t be fair for someone to get a prestigious award and have it be over Zoom. So that’s how it evolved. And everyone has done so much, we thought it wouldn’t be fair to honor individuals at this time. Not only because it’ll be by video, but because everyone pitched in.”

That’s what The Summit Foundation will do at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, with its virtual Philanthropy Awards to be broadcast on SCTV Channel 10, Comcast Channel 880 and on The Summit Foundation’s Facebook page.

The 30-minute video will shine a light on members of the community in different categories, including everything from front-line workers and nonprofits to local governments and businesses. In the video, the foundation will share stories about St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, Smart Bellies, the Timberline Adult Day Program, Building Hope Summit County and the Summit Community Care Clinic. Individual stories will be shared by Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula and Summit High School students.

“Each year, we are able to hold the event in person, and we encourage the community to nominate members being philanthropic who are giving back to the community,” The Summit Foundation spokesman Brian Balok said. “But this year, we could not do that. So much of this year is the community as a whole coming together, so we want to pay tribute to everybody going through this. We are all in this together.”

Bistranin said it’s not an exaggeration to say foundation members have seen and heard of inspiring philanthropic stories on a daily basis through the pandemic.

“That’s what we were trying to really highlight — that during these hard times, which are continuing, people remember we are there for each other,” Bistranin said. “The bright spot is people are helping each other.”

Bistranin said the annual event usually attracts more than 500 people. In its 29th year, Balok said the foundation solicited the community for inspiring stories, either about their own personal experiences with the pandemic, someone else’s experience or a nonprofit’s experience.

“It’s compelling video,” Balok said. “There’s some great stories about students coming together to support other students. There’s some about a nonprofit’s efforts — especially among front-line nonprofits providing essential services to the community need. There’s stories on how small businesses came together to weather the storm and adapt to the new norm.”

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