Mountain Recreation wants to partner with local nonprofits for Eagle Valley projects
Community grant partnership program gives dollars and in-kind donations to nonprofit 'experts'
EAGLE — Mountain Recreation’s $15,000 Community Partnership Grant Program is a small part of the downvalley recreation district’s $5 million 2020 operating budget.
But for the organizations it helps, those dollars mean a great deal.
“The program just helps grow the impact we have in the community,” said Janet Bartnik, Mountain Recreation’s executive director.
In 2019, the community grant program was formally launched and it distributed $16,000 of in-kind support and monetary contributions to five community organizations. That initial success convinced the Mountain Recreation board of directors to continue the program into 2020.
“Our board had been approached by a lot of different organizations at a lot of different times,” Bartnik explained. “Rather than deal with the requests on an ad hoc basis, we decided to formalize the program.”
Give it to the experts
The rec district board awards community grants four times a year and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The deadline has already passed for January consideration, but the board will review 2020 applications at its April, July and October meetings.
“Our board is looking forward to seeing what nonprofits will come in and to seeing that they will request this year,” Bartnik said. “They are looking to see where someone is fitting a niche where we are not the experts.
“There are a lot of things out there that we are not the experts at. We are a recreation district and we want to contribute to things we don’t have to organize.”
The five entities that received grants last year demonstrate that idea. The Vail Valley Arts League was awarded $2,000 for art supplies and staff support and Eagle Valley Child Care Association received in-kind support to use the Edwards Field House for its Santa’s Workshop event. The Cycle Effect, a girls mountain bike program offered to low-income/at-risk girls in grades 5-12, was awarded complimentary use of the field house facilities during off-peak times as well as financial support for its programs. The La Liga Women’s Soccer League offers a recreational sports program and received in-kind field use and reduced rental fees.
The largest community partnership grant went to the Vail Valley Trails Alliance — $7,500 for its Adopt A Trail program and construction of the Minturn Bike Park.
While Minturn is located outside the boundaries of the district, Bartnik said the board felt district residents would benefit from the new bike park. Additionally, the Mountain Recreation donation shows widespread support for the effort as the project seeks funding form Great Outdoors Colorado, Bartnik said.
“This money lets the trails group be the experts because we are not experts in what they do,” she said.
As the new year dawns, Bartnik said Mountain Rec hopes more of the valley’s small nonprofits reach out with grant requests. To learn more, visit mountainrec.org/community-partnership-grants/.