Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz announces $650,000 in grants to mental health programs
BROOMFIELD — Vail Resorts announced this week that CEO Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, have decided that the initial focus for their new charitable fund will be on mental health issues in the company’s local communities. Katz and Amsterdam created the new charitable fund in October with funding of approximately $58 million.
Katz and Amsterdam worked with community leaders and Vail Resorts employees to identify that mental health and drug and alcohol abuse were some of the most important issues that need to be addressed in these local towns, cities and counties.
Nationwide, suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 14 to 25, and mountain resort communities are not immune to this disturbing trend. In surveys conducted in the resort communities by various organizations, many residents indicated they don’t know where to turn for help if they have a mental health issue, and if they did know where to turn for help, frequent barriers such as cost, perceived stigma and language prevented them from seeking treatment.
Unfortunately, because of those factors, many people still do not seek out support that is available, even when their employer offers free services, such as Vail Resorts offering mental health and substance abuse counseling to all of its seasonal and year-round employees.
“Our local communities have felt a tremendous and very personal impact from mental health and substance abuse issues, which has been amplified by a lack of services and the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds this topic,” Katz said. “Elana and I want to be a part of the solution as these communities put in place meaningful programs that will have a direct impact for the people that need it most.”
Katz and Amsterdam also announced that beginning in the new year, they would be bringing on philanthropic advisors to help design a grant-making process, facilitate community engagement, and ensure the greatest impact for the resources available from the new charitable fund. A grant process for the charitable fund will be announced in spring 2018. To begin this new focus, ahead of the formal process, the charitable fund will be making contributions to the following non-profit organizations that focus on mental health issues in the communities where the company operates.
Initial grants include:
• $100,000: Boulder Community Health in Boulder.
• $100,000: Eagle County School District with MindSprings, Early Childhood Partners and Our Community Foundation in Eagle County.
• $100,000: The Summit Foundation in Summit County.
• $100,000: Jewish Family Service, Christian Center of Park City and the Summit County Health Department in Summit County, Utah.
• $100,000: Whistler Community Services Society in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.
• $55,000: Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation in Truckee, California.
• $100,000: U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Park City.
Paul Cuthbertson, a lifelong local of Eagle and Summit counties, died while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to meet some friends for a celebration of his 21st birthday on Friday night.