Vail Valley nonprofit tries new fundraising technique |

Vail Valley nonprofit tries new fundraising technique

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
First Descents participants enjoy kayaking trips for one week at a time. The nonprofit take cancer survivors on thrilling expedetions to help them overcome their fears and realize their strengths.

VAIL, Colorado ” The holiday season is a season of giving ” typically the best time of year for Vail Valley nonprofit organizations to raise money.

In hard economic times, we find ourselves more careful about spending. Nonprofits find themselves in a tougher situation because donations are down but demand is high.

A slower economy isn’t slowing down the First Descents organization, though. The Avon-based nonprofit, which helps cancer survivors both emotionally and physically through its outdoor adventure trips, is getting more creative than ever.

First Descents founder Brad Ludden has found another way to use his recent fame to help a good cause. The 27-year-old bachelor was recently named Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Bachelor of the Year. He donated the $10,000 prize check to his organization, and with the current fundraising drive he’s sponsoring ” a telethon style fundraiser that is something new for First Descents ” the top donor will also win a day of skiing on the mountain with Ludden and two other local celebrities, Ryan Sutter and Mike Friedman.

“We just wanted to get creative and fun,” Ludden says. “Let’s give away fun prizes to people for donating.”

In addition to the ski day with the guys, donors have the chance to win Liberty Skis, Smart Wool products and Smith eyewear. Another top prize is a signed Lance Armstrong jersey.

Every $1,000 covers the cost of a participant in the one-week adventure programs First Descents hosts. The participants who get to go on these trips talk of what a life-changing experience it is, said Angela Rossi, a volunteer with First Descents, so it truly is the gift that keeps on giving, she says.

“This is giving back to something really amazing,” Rossi says. “This holiday season, I think some people are trying to be more creative in their gift giving.”

The donation drive is through the First Descents’ Web site,, and through a TV8-sponsored telethon on Sunday. Ludden will be on Good Morning Vail Sunday around 8 a.m. Donors can call 970-845-8410 for a chance to win prizes and give to the cause.

Support Local Journalism