Vail Valley Cares 2017 grants top $312K; 17-year total tops $3.6 million |

Vail Valley Cares 2017 grants top $312K; 17-year total tops $3.6 million

Vail Valley Cares gave grants totaling $312,0000 to 37 local non-profits during their annual breakfast Thursday. Vail Valley Cares has given away more than $3.6 million during the grant program's 17-year run.
Brian Maloney| |

Vail Valley Cares 2017 grant recipients

• 4 Eagle Senior Care

• Bright Future Foundation

• CASA of the Continental Divide

• Catholic Charities

• Children’s Garden of Learning

• Colorado Mountain College

• Eagle River Youth Coalition

• Eagle Valley Childcare Association

• Eagle Valley Senior Life

• Eagle County Schools Transition to Life

• Education Foundation of Eagle County

• Family Learning Center

• HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley

• IngteGreat

• Loaves and Fishes

• Mind Springs Health

• Mountain Tots Preschool

• Mountain Valley Horse Rescue

• Patterns of Joy

• Red Canyon High School

• Red Ribbon Project

• Roundup River Ranch

• Small Champions Inc.

• SOS Outreach

• Speak Up Reach Out

• Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation

• The Cycle Effect

• The Literacy Project

• The Samaritan Center of the Rockies

• Uplift

• Vail Mountain Rescue

• Vail Valley Charitable Fund

• Vail Valley Salvation Army

• Vail Valley Young Life

• Vail Veterans Foundation

• Western Council Boy Scouts

• YouthPower365

EDWARDS — It was giveaway day Thursday for Vail Valley Cares.

The organization hosted its 17th annual grant giveaway at Trinity Church in Edwards. This year, it gave away $312,000 to 37 organizations, making this the third straight year it’s given away more than $300,000.

After 17 years, Vail Valley Cares’ running total is $3,694,373.84 in grants, said Greg Osteen, Vail Valley Cares director.

“We are so excited to be doing this,” Osteen said. “These organizations help so many people, and it’s such an honor to be able to do this.”

Representatives from each of the 37 organizations walked to the front and told their colleagues a little bit about their organizations.

“We get to hear their stories and see again how much they love helping people,” Osteen said.

This year’s $312,000 is not the most they’ve ever given away, Osteen said, but a few years ago they added $20,000 in scholarships for Colorado Mountain College.

“That’s 10 full scholarships a year for local kids,” Osteen said.

They raise all of the money through the Thrifty Shops in Edwards and Eagle. The inventory comes from donations.

“The community has been very generous,” Osteen said.

In the beginning

Vail Valley Cares has been around for 23 years, and Osteen has been there for most of it. On July 1, 2018, it will be 20 years for him.

Vail Valley Cares started small, as most things do. Jerry Milsaps was on the Trinity Church staff and started collecting donations of food and other items in his tiny office.

He gave it away as fast as he could, but he still ran out of room.

Benny Clark was the Trinity pastor in those days, and also the president of the Vail-Eagle Valley Rotary Club. Clark had the idea for the original Thrifty Shop and convinced his fellow Rotarians to cover the rent for the first year.

The Thrifty Shop was able to cover its own costs and repay the Rotarians in about three months. The Edwards location was so successful that they opened a second store in Eagle.

They sell all kinds of items and raise all kinds of money. They give it away to other local helper groups.

“When so many funding sources are unstable, it’s a blessing to have Vail Valley Cares in our area,” said Sherry Mintz, director of the Bright Future Foundation.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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