Workers’ contributions help Summit Foundation thrive |

Workers’ contributions help Summit Foundation thrive

Summit Daily file photo/Brad Odekirk The Summit Foundation's executive director Deb Edwards, left, and director of development Juki LaPoint, far right, accept a check in the amount of $638.50 from Safeway employees Jerry Schmidt, Marion Stetson, Theresa Ellsworth, Carrie Zeleznikar, Andra Holt, Carmel Farrell, Nathan Desantis, Shilo Allen and Nick Major on May 17 at the Frisco store. The money is raised throughout the year from the Safeway Cares Foundation, where employees contribute to the fund out of each paycheck.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Hundreds of employees at various businesses in Summit County give quietly every year to support local nonprofits though The Summit Foundation’s payroll deduction program.

Many businesses match employees donations, creating incentive and increasing the amount of money available for annual grants to the community.

The program is just one of many ways the foundation raises money every year to grant to area nonprofits. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this June, the foundation has awarded $5.88 million to more than 150 organizations since its inception. This year, it hopes to raise $1.8 million.

At Alpine Bank, approximately 15 employees at the company’s locations in Dillon, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge give from $2 to $100 per month through the program. With the bank’s matching funds, the total equaled more than $10,000 in 2003.

Alpine Bank senior vice president Bill Souba said the company chose The Summit Foundation as a simple way to provide employees an opportunity to make a contribution to the community.

“We don’t encourage any dollar amount, but we do encourage participation,” Souba said.

Last year, 100 percent of the company’s employees participated.

The money is not taxed before being deducted from payroll, and participating companies write checks or directly deposit funds into the foundation’s bank account.

Summit County government, the Summit School District, Keystone Symposia, the town of Silverthorne, Target and Safeway are some of the other entities participating in the program, which generates nearly $50,000 annually for the foundation.

Beaver Run Resort is another company that offers the program to its employees. While it does not match funds, the company gives about $11,000 annually to the foundation through purchases of ski passes. About a half dozen of the company’s employees increase that amount through payroll deduction.

“We think The Summit Foundation is a very worthwhile cause for Summit County,” said Beaver Run Resort general manager Joe Shackleton. “We don’t have a United Way up here, and this seems to be a perfect fit for our local community.”

Indeed, one of the program’s largest participating companies, Xcel Energy, used to partner solely with the United Way through employee payroll deductions. But because funds were spent in Colorado Front Range communities and not locally, the company switched to The Summit Foundation and became its first participating organization, kicking off The Summit Foundation’s program.

In 2003, 44 of Xcel Energy’s employees donated $17,185 to the foundation with the company matching the amount. Four employee matching gifts were added for a total annual donation of $35,000.

Loren Vawser, an engineer who has worked for Xcel 25 years, said the process of donating through payroll deduction is painless, since he does not have to write a check each month.

Vawser lives in Silverthorne.

The best part of participating in the program, he said, is seeing the results of the foundation’s gifts in many different programs throughout the community.

Xcel Energy employee Kathy Jacovy lives in Silver Plume but still chooses to make payroll donations to The Summit Foundation, in part because of the incentives employees receive through the program.

A ski pass program is made available through donations from the area’s ski companies. Last year, 10 medallions, or transferable ski passes, were available to Excel Energy because of the employee’s level of donations.

While Jacovy doesn’t use the ski pass benefit much, she said it’s still a nice benefit offered in exchange for donations.

Kim Marquis can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249 or

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