Editorial: Our giving community | SummitDaily.com

Editorial: Our giving community

Visitors or newcomers to Summit County may be forgiven for assuming there aren’t a lot of “real” people living here. After all, the signs welcoming people to our county proclaim us to be “Colorado’s Playground,” and much of our economy is based on a good-times tourism industry. Sure, transient workers comes and go, and it sometimes seems we’re a community of shallow roots.

But stick around, dig a little deeper and soon you’ll discover Summit County is an extraordinarily caring and giving community of residents whose love for the place itself is matched by a giving spirit tough to find elsewhere. This was in full evidence Monday night at Summit High’s annual Scholarship Night, when our community dug deep in a down economy and came up with $310,000 to award to our graduating seniors.

The list of donors ranged from Vail Resorts – which handed out 26 scholarships to the children of VR employees – to the Summit County Garden Club. The Summit Foundation (in partnership with Summit County Government) led the way with 73 scholarships totaling some $96,000. Since 1991, when the Foundation started handing out local scholarships with $4,000, the organization has awarded more than $1.5 million to 719 local students.

The Summit Daily was happy to award two scholarships to local students pursuing careers in media, as well as another two Brad Odekirk Memorial Scholarships in honor of our beloved photographer who died in 2005.

While Scholarship Night is one highly visible celebration of local philanthropy, it’s far from the only one. A few weeks ago, we attended “Soup for the Soul, Bread for the Clinic” – a fundraiser for the Summit Community Care Clinic – and were amazed at the turnout: The sold-out event at Copper Mountain had some 450 people in attendance and raised more than $53,000 – twice what was raised in 2010. As state and federal funds dry up for social services, local support like this is invaluable.

Thinking back to the end of 2010 and the holiday fundraising drive of Summit Cares – which hit its goal of raising $50,000 for an emergency assistance fund for locals – we were reminded of the value of this effort when the folks at the Family Intercultural Resource Center – which administers the fund – send us this recent note from a family with a sick child aided by the fund:

“Without FIRC’s support, my family would be homeless and who knows what would have happened to Emily when she got out of the hospital. I felt like my world was crumbling apart, and I will forever be grateful for my child’s recovery and everyone’s support through this time.”

These, of course, are just a few of the stories that depict the kind of community we have. So keep it up, Summit County – the support we show for our own is what makes us quite a bit more than a “playground” and one of the greatest places on earth to call home.

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