Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The ripple effect | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The ripple effect

Brooke Skjonsby
VVCF Executive Director

Her name was Tiffany Myers. Her laughter filled the air and her eyes lit up the room like a full moon illuminates the darkened sky. She loved, and she was loved, and this had a ripple effect on every life that she touched.

I was fortunate and honored to work alongside Tiff during my time with Eagle County Schools. I wore the hat of director of communications and she assumed the role of ‘woman in charge of everything.’ From organizing Board of Education meetings and coordinating superintendent interactions to planning events and writing grants, Tiff managed the ebbs and flows of all matters that arrived at the district office front door.

In September 2007, Tiff was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Friends and family approached Vail Valley Charitable Fund (VVCF) Executive Director Karen Simon about hosting a fundraiser to assist Tiffany with current and future medical bills that were surmounting and never-ending. VVCF raised $32,000 at the Give Tiff a Lift event, exceeding expectations two-fold.

With Midwest roots, I was no stranger to the notion of giving back. However, this was the first time living in the Vail Valley that I witnessed such an incredible outpouring of love and community support. I was speechless and humbled.

Tiffany lost her battle with cancer in February 2016, leaving behind a legacy of an amazingly strong and loving woman whose memory lives on in our hearts and minds. That was the first ripple of a stone released in the Vail Valley pond.

When my journey with the school district ended, I transitioned into a marketing manager role with Vail Resorts, where I proudly championed the Vail brand for five unforgettable years.

In 2013, Rohn Robbins contacted me to see if I would entertain a seat on the VVCF Board, which I promptly and proudly accepted.

During my five years on the board, I served alongside 13 remarkable human beings. These individuals volunteered their time and efforts under the direction of then-Executive Director Michelle Maloney, whose husband himself was a prior grant recipient. Second ripple in the Vail Valley pond.

In 2017, Michelle stepped down as Executive Director. Ready for a change and hungry to make a larger impact in the community, I interviewed and was offered the position. Third ripple in the Vail Valley pond.

The Vail Valley is home to more than 240 nonprofit organizations that fill the many gaps facing our locals in need of support, encouragement, education and services. I am honored to be the Executive Director of one of these generous philanthropic entities.

So just what ripple effect has the VVCF had on this community?

  • Since 1996, we’ve provided financial assistance to locals suffering from a medical crisis, distributing $8M to over 1,500 families in need.
  • We’ve successfully hosted in excess of 150 fundraisers over the past 23 years. The Give Tiff a Lift event inspired the creation of the Tiffany Myers Memorial Scholarship Fund, which supports both families affected by cancer and helps Eagle County graduating high school seniors lay a solid foundation for their future. At the Emmy’s Friends event, we raised $20K for the Welle family, whose daughter Emmy was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. Parents Aja and Michael Welle are now starting their own nonprofit called Emmy’s Friends to raise awareness for issues near and dear to their hearts, and give back to the valley that has done so much for them.
  • The VVCF has organized annual events to honor two extraordinary locals who left us all too soon: The Bec Tri for Rebecca Yarberry and The LG Tri for Laura Genelin, a previous VVCF grant recipient.

My 13-year journey with the VVCF has taught me this: inaction results in stagnation, while action causes transformation. Join us to experience what the VVCF ripple effect is all about.

Brooke Skjonsby is the executive director of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. She can be reached at brooke@vvcf.org. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at http://vvcf.org/