Imhof honored for COVID-19 fundraising, leadership |

Imhof honored for COVID-19 fundraising, leadership

Vail Valley Foundation’s Mike Imhof honored for COVID-19 fundraising, leadership

Vail Valley Foundation President Mike Imhof was recognized by the National Philanthropy Association. (Special to the Daily)

When the community was still reeling from the initial impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Mike Imhof did not wait to discover who would unify the community to help raise funds. Instead, he picked up the phone and began organizing an effort that, within two weeks in April, would raise $1.2 million to support Eagle County community members who were most impacted by the crisis, through the VVF Community Fund.

For those actions and more, Imhof, who is president of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, was honored in November by the National Philanthropy Association.

“It was remarkable to see Mike’s leadership, even when things were at their highest levels of uncertainty,” said Ann Smead, chairman of the Board of the Vail Valley Foundation. “He is a leader, not only of the Vail Valley Foundation, but of the entire community.”

The VVF Community Fund took root when the Board of Directors of the Vail Valley Foundation offered a match of up to $250,000 of funds raised by the community. This number quickly grew to $450,000 through exceptional generosity from the board. Eagle County donated an additional $130,000 in the 11th hour to take the grand total over $1.2 million. The effort also had tremendous grassroots support from everyday citizens: more than 60% of donations were under the $250 level.

“I’m very grateful to be honored today, but the credit for the positive impact the VVF Community Fund has had goes to the impressive financial leadership of our board, the generous and caring community we live in, and the tireless staff of the VVF and the other local nonprofits that are doing whatever they can to help those who are struggling,” Imhof said. “I continue to be amazed by this community’s ability to come together to support one another.”

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Imhof also helped unify the various sectors of the Eagle County economy through the creation of the Private Sector Task Force. The task force has representation from all areas of the local economy, from hotels to retail, real estate, outdoor recreation, schools, restaurants, venues and events, marketing, our hospital and health care system, and more.

The task force also includes representatives from county and local government. This has helped unify the valley’s response to the crises, quickly share accurate information, as well as its communication and marketing to tourists and visitors.

Imhof was honored at an online ceremony hosted by the Colorado chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The event also celebrated two youth award winners and 32 other honorees.

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