Leaving a legacy
Deb Edwards dedicated 23 years to growing the Summit County community’s largest nonprofit, and will leave a legacy perhaps impossible to match. Edwards weathered many storms through her tenure as executive director, which began in 1984 and will end June 30. Whether it was battles with ski companies over controlled donations to the Foundation celebrating a grand anniversary, Edwards always put The Summit Foundation at the forefront of mission-based nonprofits in the county.Did she do this single-handed? Of course not. Many were involved and many deserve and share the credit, but it is clear that without Edwards the Foundation would not be where it is today.The growth during the past two decades has been remarkable, and truly needed.In its formative years as it built its core funds, the Foundation had little or no money to give. By 2005, the “Soul of the Summit” provided grants of more than $930,000 to better our community. Those grants provided Summit County with music and art; they supported educational initiatives and conservation groups; and, perhaps most important, had a positive impact on thousands of individuals who were truly in need, including hundreds of thousands of dollars through the years in Foundation scholarships to college-bound high school seniors. Following announcement of her departure this week, several board members pointed to how much time and energy she gave to the Foundation and its beneficiaries. Financial growth aside, they spoke of her genuine concern for the community and her dedication to highlighting the tremendous good we all find in Summit County.Regardless of the internal conflicts within in the Foundation Board or the issues that led to Edwards’ departure, it is clear she will carry much credibility into the next phase of her life. And, just as clear, her good work and leadership on behalf of The Foundation will be missed.We hope The Foundation’s trustees will indeed find someone to lead “with new energy,” their stated goal. Most of all, the Foundation needs someone who will build on Edwards’ good work.
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