The Summit Foundation names Howard and Sue Carver as Outstanding Philanthropists for many contributions to community

Howard and Sue Carver at their home in Silverthorne. The Summit Foundation has named the Carvers as 2019's Outstanding Philanthropists.
Courtesy Joe Kusumoto

FRISCO — Howard and Sue Carver, The Summit Foundation’s Outstanding Philanthropists for 2019, have lived in Summit County since 1998. They started their philanthropy when Howard retired from a 35-year career at accounting firm Ernst and Young in 2002. The Carvers have spent their 17 years using their energy and wealth to preserve the community, lifestyle, environment and future of Summit County.

Originally from the Midwest, the Carvers made their way to Summit County, and while enjoying their golden years in the mountains, they realized they needed to preserve the majesty and the beauty of the public lands surrounding them. 

Howard is past president of the board and board member emeritus of the Continental Divide Land Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the forests, water and landscapes in Colorado. All those meadows, rivers, wetlands, glens, creeks and prairies people love to play and ramble on — the Carvers had a hand in keeping them unimpeded by development.

The Carvers also have been major benefactors for the Keystone Science School, having major roles on the board from 2016 onward. They helped raise $3.95 million for the STEM and outdoor activity focused education center to build new buildings and reconfigure the school’s campus.

The Carvers also are active in helping the community’s health system, having been personally impacted by a family health crisis when their son slipped into a diabetic coma and suffered permanent injuries. 

“We have a lot of empathy for those affected by health concerns and for the health care community and the work they do,” Howard said.

The Carvers have worked with St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and contributed heavily to a donor-advised fund through The Summit Foundation. That fund has contributed to the development of the High Altitude Research Center and the hospital’s new infusion center, which administers chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other intravenous therapies for patients battling a variety of disorders.

Soul of the Summit philanthropy awards

Award winners 
• Outstanding Philanthropist: Howard and Sue Carver
• Outstanding Board Member: Kim Dufty
• Outstanding Business: Omni Real Estate
• Outstanding Citizen: Dr. Walter G. Briney
• Outstanding Educator: Chris Hall
• Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit: Noelle Sivon
• Outstanding Volunteer: Mary Anne Johnston
• Outstanding Youth: Summit High School Mountain Dreamers
• Outstanding Youth Mentor: Aaron Landau and EVO3
• Community Collaboration: Youth Empowerment Society
• Spirit of the Summit: Mark and Deb Spiers

Sue Carver, whose upbringing on an Illinois farm taught her the importance of helping her community, is also on the board for Breckenridge Music, a nonprofit that has worked to improve the area’s access to the arts, attracting live music and hosting programs including the Breckenridge Music Festival, Breck Music Education and Breck Music Presents. The Carvers have been helping Breck Music bring its mission to the masses for the past seven years.

The Carvers also have been involved in helping many other local nonprofits and community initiatives, including the Mile High United Way, the Lake Dillon Theatre Co. and too many other past and present community initiatives, foundations, nonprofits and charities to list.

As far as why they’re spending their retirement trying to help others instead of enjoying the fruits of their life’s labors for themselves, it’s pretty simple: They have the means to continue doing good for people, and they love their community in the Rockies. They encourage others to follow that example.

“The people here are so great, and there are a lot of second-home owners who have the funds who can do these things,” Howard said. “There are a lot of these people who have the financial resources and energy to do good around here, and we’re pretty proud to be part of that crew.”

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