United Way helps Vail Valley make music | VailDaily.com

United Way helps Vail Valley make music

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –The United Way of Eagle County has worked with over 30 Vail Valley charities for more than a decade and has raised close to $1.3 million during that time. While most people think of United Way as a national or international organization, the United Way of Eagle County makes it its mission to keep the funds it raises local – all of the money raised in Eagle County stays in Eagle County. One single donation to the United Way is a powerful way to reach many in our valley.

The United Way asked Mia Vlaar of the Vail Jazz Foundation how her organization has been helped by donations.

Q.: How have the Vail Jazz Foundation’s donations and grant requests been affected in this economic climate?

Mia Vlaar: Donations have been down. The encouraging thing is that we have new donors primarily because of the recognition the Jazz at Vail Square has brought us. Also, we get people who are just so dedicated to what we are doing. One donor gave $7,500 because of Tony Guilizia’s involvement with the Jazz Goes to School Program, which works with schools in Eagle County to augment their music programs.

Q.: Do you regularly seek state or federal grants?

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M.V.: We did get some funding from the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act which, in our case, funded us because we had programs in place already but needed help making sure the bills were going to get paid. The grant was administered by the Colorado Council on the Arts.

Q: Does the Jazz Foundation apply each year for a grant from The United Way? Were you awarded one this year?

M.V.: We have asked for the past two years and have received funding both times. The main reason we even applied was because of the grant presentation the United Way does each spring. I think it’s great that the United Way holds a grant application seminar each year. It is a great way to find out about United Way’s priorities and to learn more about the specifics of the grant process.

Q: What have you able to accomplish with the grant awarded to you by The United Way of Eagle County?

M.V.: What the United Way grant allows us to do is enhance our Jazz Goes To School program. For instance, were able to add instructors some of the classes in the program – the African Roots of Jazz had an extra percussionist, which made the presentation much more dynamic. Without the United Way, the impact of our Jazz Goes To School Program would be diminished.

Q: Does having United Way as a grantor to your organization help you secure grant money from others?

M.V.: Absolutely. Having the United Way support an organization like the Vail Jazz Festival is like having a seal of approval. We are proud to show your logo and it validates our fundraising efforts with other organizations and individual donors.

Q: Have you collaborated with other agencies to seek funds from United Way? If so, have those partnerships been successful?

M.V.: No, not yet. It is a great idea to do a collaborative grant. Because of Jazz Goes to School we would naturally gravitate to the Youth Foundation because of their after school music programs. We could also look at other organizations who are themselves looking for content for their own valuable cultural programs. The need is there and often, doing a collaborative grant is the answer to getting funding to fulfill this type of need.

For more information or to donate to the United Way go to http://www.unitedwayeagle.org

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