Eagle County nonprofits are participating in statewide philanthropic event
Editor’s note: The Vail Daily is running profiles of local nonprofits that are participating in Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 9. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. And for the first time ever, it features a $1 million incentive fund created by the partners. Donate online at http://www.Colorado Gives.org or schedule your donation in advance.
Vail Valley Foundation
It would be difficult to envision the Vail Valley without the Vail Valley Foundation. Since its creation in 1981, the Foundation has served as the community catalyst for enhancing the quality of life throughout the Vail Valley. By supporting what private business and public office cannot, the Foundation is a driving force through its role as initiator, producer, promoter and partner in furthering those things that make this community a one-of-a-kind place to be.
The Foundation is responsible for providing the Vail Valley with some of its most treasured annual athletic events, including the Audi Birds of Prey Alpine World Cup, Korbel American Ski Classic and Winter and Summer Mountain Games, along with helping to coordinate stages of the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge bike race.
Major cultural undertakings include the Vail International Dance Festival and a pair of free summer concert series, in addition to owning and operating the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
Nowhere is this vision more exciting and important than in the area of education. The ground-breaking merge with The Youth Foundation at the outset of 2012 uniquely positioned the two organizations to help usher in a new era in providing the best possible educational opportunities for the children of our community.
In addition to annual events and programs, the Foundation also has a long history of bringing major international events to the Vail Valley, including the 1989, 1999 and 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships, as well as the 1994 and 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships. Along with these one-of-a-kind events, the Foundation has also produced a men’s or ladies’ Alpine World Cup competition every year since 1983.
None of this would be possible without the generosity and commitment of the donors and volunteers of both the Vail Valley Foundation and The Youth Foundation. Together, the organizations are inspiring lives and enriching the community.
Vail Veterans Program
The Vail Veterans Program provides therapeutic rehabilitative programs to severely injured U.S. military members and their families, transforming lives and giving hope for the future.
“Of all the wounded warrior-type undertakings, the Vail Veterans Program is unique,” said U.S. Army Brigadier and General, Pete Dawkins, 1958 Heisman Trophy winner. Begun 11 years ago, it concentrates on two specific features. First, to show the individuals that, despite the limitations of their injuries, they can still lead active, energetic lives. Many arrive discouraged and despondent, but find to their astonishment that new avenues of activity — they never dreamed of — are available to them. The transformation is stunning! And second, the Vail Veterans Program approach makes a special effort to include — and involve — husbands/wives, kids and parents. What is sometimes missed is the understanding or just how much families benefit from being a part of it all, and how powerful the reassurance and encouragement is that comes from the collective spirit of family.
The Vail Veterans Program serves a national population of wounded warriors, and collaborates with three military hospitals. Wounded warriors and their families come to Vail to participate in programs including goal setting, adaptive sports training, family time, relationship building and mentoring. The Vail Veterans Program events are supported 100 percent through private philanthropic funds and are free of charge to participants. The Vail Veterans Program has served over 500 wounded warriors and over 1,000 family members.
Through skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, golf and biking, our work helps transform lives, heal families, and create new bonds for life. During the wounded warriors’ military service they sustained a severe injury — a loss of limb(s), traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe burns and/or spinal cord injuries. Wounded warriors find a new normal at the Vail Veterans Program for successful rehabilitation including emotional, physical and mental healing
Walking Mountains was founded in 1998 by Vail native Kim Langmaid to fulfill the need for hands-on natural science education for Eagle County students. Her dream became reality with the opening of our Platinum LEED-certified campus in Avon in August 2011. We provided hands-on field science programs to over 3,300 Eagle County students during the 2013-2014 school year, subsidizing 85 percent of the cost so that no child is excluded because of an inability to pay. Our summer science camps served almost 500 children in 2014 with more than $8,100 in financial assistance awarded to 23 deserving families. This school year, our Girls in Science after school program for girls in third through fifth grade is serving 175 girls at six local elementary schools. Our STEM Leadership Academy is in its second year at all four Eagle County middle schools, motivating participants to pursue challenging science and math courses in high school and beyond.
The opening of our Avon campus has exponentially increased innovative science and environmental education for Eagle County school children and families, as well as the thousands of visitors who vacation in this area throughout the year. Visitors of all ages now have increased opportunities to learn more about local ecology, participate in guided hikes, and attend our film and lecture series and other informative programs at our Avon campus, the Nature Discovery Center on Vail Mountain and the Vail Nature Center. Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability became part of Walking Mountains in 2013 and is providing sustainability and energy conservation training, education and assistance to local businesses and homeowners in the valley. As science education, sustainability and environmental stewardship become more critical to the health and well being of our economy and way of life, Walking Mountains continues to play an important transformational role in our community.