Vail Valley Cares’ grant event hands out more than $205K |

Vail Valley Cares’ grant event hands out more than $205K

Local nonprofit's Thrifty Shop locations, the group's revenue source, were shut down for a month this year

Vail Valley Cares Director Greg Osteen, left, and Brita Horn of the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department share an elbow bump during Thursday's grant breakfast. Vail Valley Cares distributed more than $205,000 in grants during the event.
Brian Maloney | Special to the Daily
Who got checks? Through revenue generated by the Thrifty Shops in Edwards and Eagle, Vail Valley Cares this year was able to award about $205,000 in grants to local nonprofit groups. Here’s a list of the groups receiving grants: 4 Eagle Senior Meal Program. 4 Eagle Senior Care. Boy Scouts of America Western Colorado. Bright Future Fundation. Caregiver Connections. CASA of the Continental Divide. Catholic Charities. Children’s Garden of Learning. Colorado Mountain College. Eagle County Crime Stoppers. Eagle County CLIMB. Eagle Valley Child Care Association. Eagle Valley Family Assistance Fund. Home Care & Hospice of the Valley. Hope Center. The Literacy Project. Mind Springs Health. Minturn Community Fund. Mountain Tots Preschool. Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. Mountain Youth. Neighborhood Navigators. One Moment. Red Canyon High School. Red Ribbon Project. Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Salvation Army Vail Valley. Samaritan Center of the Rockies. Shop With A Cop (through the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office). Small Champions, Inc. SOS Outreach. Speak Up Reach Out. Saint Mary’s Preschool. Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation. The Cycle Effect. USA Karate Center. Vail Valley Art Guild. Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Vail Soccer Club. Vail Veterans Foundation. Vail Valley Partnership. Vail Valley Young Life. YouthPower 365.

Like most of us, Vail Valley Cares has had a challenging year. But the faith-based nonprofit this year still managed to award about $205,000 in grants to local nonprofit groups.

In keeping with tradition, Vail Valley Cares Thursday hosted a grant breakfast, this year at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon.

As with all public events this year, social distancing and masks were the order of the day, so the award ceremony was held on the sunny patio on the south side of the church.

With so many people working remotely these days, “We wanted to have this in person,” Vail Valley Cares Director Greg Osteen said. So the nonprofit checked with public health officials. Social distancing and crowd-size rules were observed. Face masks were available for those who needed them. Breakfast burritos — all individually wrapped, of course, with small cups of sour cream and salsa — were brought out about a dozen at a time to keep the food line short.

But the main event is handing out checks.

Vail Valley Cares usually hands out grants totaling about $320,000. But this has been a tough year.

The Thrifty Shop stores in Edwards and Eagle generate virtually all of the annual grant revenue. Before handing out grants, Osteen made sure to thank the entire staff.

When the valley essentially shut down in March, the Thrifty Shops were shut down for a month. The shops re-opened, but only to no more than 10 people in the store for another several weeks.

Through it all, the donations continued to come in. It took a lot of work to process those donations, then keep the shops running.

When it came time to hand out checks, Vail Valley Cares Board of Directors member Jeff Apps read off the list of recipients, along with a brief description of what those groups do.

The Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department, which serves the northern part of Eagle County, was represented by Brita Horn, who noted the group’s mission is to “put out fires before they get a name.” Fires are usually named when they exceed 10 acres.

The Swift Eagle Foundation, provides financial help for personal and living expenses to county residents “during times of hardship.”

Apps noted that Swift Eagle this year has given more than double what it does in normal years.

Vail Valley Cares funds helped 43 nonprofit groups continue their work.

“We couldn’t do what we do without (Vail Valley Cares) grants,” Vail Valley Charitable Fund Director Brooke Skjonsby said. “In an abnormal year like this, their support is critical.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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