Frampton celebrates 35 years as Vail Valley Foundation chairman; Smead takes over
AVON — The Vail Valley Foundation has held more than 70 board meetings since its inception in 1981, perhaps none as historic as the one held Thursday when the Vail Valley Foundation celebrated 35 years of service for outgoing Chairman of the Board Harry Frampton and welcomed new Chairman Ann Smead.
For Frampton, it was the culmination of a journey that began in 1981, when the organization’s very first board meeting started 10 minutes late. President Gerald R. Ford, who was on the board at the time, advised Frampton to always begin meetings exactly on time.
“In all the meetings we’ve had since, we’ve never started late,” Frampton said. “It’s just one example of how influential President Ford has been to the Vail Valley Foundation. He brought credibility and wisdom, but he also cared very much about what we were doing. He never missed a meeting.”
At the meeting, Frampton did not dwell heavily on the past accomplishments of himself or the organization. Instead, he challenged the Vail Valley Foundation, and the local community, to be courageous in its vision for the future, and always seek the highest level of quality in all of its work.
“The Vail Valley community has always had an approach of excellence. We’ve never rested on our laurels. We’ve been fortunate to be in a unique position to take this approach and put it into action,” Frampton said. “Our mission allows us to bring governments, businesses, individuals and the community together to accomplish big things that no single group could do alone. I’m incredibly honored to have been a part of what we’ve accomplished, but I’m even more excited and optimistic as I look toward the organization’s very bright future.”
Arts, athletics and education
Not everyone knows that the Vail Valley Foundation’s mission is to “enhance and sustain the quality of life in the Vail Valley by providing leadership in the arts, athletics and education.” During Frampton’s tenure, the organization set a high bar for achievement in all three areas.
In athletics, the Vail Valley Foundation spearheaded the efforts to bring three Alpine World Ski Championships to the valley in 1989, 1999 and 2015. In 2009, the Vail Valley Foundation acquired the Mountain Games. Now under the title sponsorship of GoPro, the GoPro Mountain Games have become one of the most active, exciting weekends of the year, and serve as an annual kick-off to the summer season in Vail with more than 3,300 athletes and 70,000 spectators. The VVF also took the lead in organizing and hosting several international-class cycling events in the valley, including the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and the USA Pro Challenge. Also, for 34 years until 2014, Vail celebrated its ski-racing heritage each March in Vail through the VVF’s American Ski Classic event.
In the arts, the organization orchestrates and operates activities at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, known for marquee performances as well as for its work bringing more than 6,000 students per year to enjoy the performing arts via its S.T.A.R.S. program. In 1986-87, Frampton lead the effort by the Vail Valley Foundation to unify private and public sector groups to build the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Taking Frampton’s cue, the Amphitheater has always sought to improve: it has been renovated via five major capital campaigns, the most recent in 2014, and it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017.
In education, the Vail Valley Foundation serves more than 4,000 youth and their families via the YouthPower365 education nonprofit, which merged with the VVF in October of 2011. Programs such as PwrHrs, the Magic Bus, Dollars for Scholars, Girl PowHER, Parent Mentors and many more have raised the quality of education enrichment programming for children of all ages — and their families — in the Vail Valley.
Frampton was particularly instrumental in the restoration and creation of the Eagle River Preserve, an open space area in Edwards. The organization also established the free concert concept almost 30 years ago by adopting the then-brand-new Hot Summer Nights series, and in 2017 it will celebrate 20 years of free ShowDown Town concerts in Eagle. The AEI World Forum, the Session International Snowboard Invitational and the Jerry Ford Invitational Golf Classic and many other events, projects and programs can be traced back to the leadership of Frampton.
“Harry’s work in this community is of immeasurable value,” said Mike Imhof, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation. “It is quite difficult to imagine what this valley would be like without his vision and leadership. He has played a key role in so many of the things which elevate our quality of life, and we will remain forever grateful to him for his foresight in helping advance educational, artistic and athletic programming for our community.”
Frampton intends to remain engaged with the organization, and now serves on the Vail Valley Foundation’s Board of Directors Emeritus.
A new Chairman
After taking time in tribute to Frampton, the VVF Board officially declared Smead as the new chairman during Thursday’s meeting. Smead, a former chairman of the board at the Vail Mountain School and a member of the Vail Valley Foundation Board since 2004, said the Vail Valley Foundation is in a position of stability and strength thanks to Frampton’s leadership.
“All of us in the Vail Valley community are fortunate to have an organization with the legacy, heritage and vision of this organization, all of it thanks to the work of people like Harry, President Ford and so many others,” Smead said. “Then and now, we are an organization that is designed to provide services to the community. As the community grows and changes, we should always be looking forward to what’s next, so that we can grow and change right along with it. I look forward to working with our partners in the community, and our incredibly talented staff, to continue to rally behind the big ideas that set us apart and raise the quality of life for all.”
Smead began her career with IBM, then moved to real estate and became partner in an Oregon-based commercial real estate and development company, and later joined Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics, managing that company’s diverse real estate portfolio.
Smead has been instrumental in several philanthropic areas since moving to the Vail Valley full-time in 1999. She took a lead role in the capital campaign and creation of Jack’s Place, a 10,000-square-foot, 16-suite cancer care lodge adjacent to the Shaw Regional Cancer Center. She is co-founder of the Smead Fellows PhD scholarship, and was recently honored with the 2016 Reach for the Peak award for her work with Walking Mountains Science Center.
“Our board, our staff and everyone involved with the Vail Valley Foundation is extremely pleased to welcome Ann to her new role as chairman,” Imhof said. “As we went through the process, it became immediately clear that Ann was the ideal choice to take up the mantle, and we are extremely pleased that she has accepted the role of chairman.”
Smead had previously served as chairman of the Vail Valley Foundation’s education committee. Current board member Steve Coyer, who has been instrumental in the work of YouthPower365, will now step into that role.
New Board members
The Vail Valley Foundation also announced the addition of new Board of Directors members Sarah Millett, Matt Donovan, Ellen Moritz and Gary Woodworth. All were sworn in at the Thursday meeting.
New board member Millett, co-founder of Old Forge Pizza, wife of Dr. Peter Millett, and a mother of four, has been very involved in the organization’s work via YouthPower365, including dancing at the 2013 Star Dancing Gala.
Donovan, Moritz and Woodworth are new Community Board Members, chosen for their work in business and community development in the Vail Valley. Donovan is the owner of Vail Honeywagon, Moritz is the president of FirstBank Eagle County and Woodworth is CEO of The Gallegos Corp. The community board membership carries a three-year term.