Vail Valley nonprofits see more need |

Vail Valley nonprofits see more need

Kristin Anderson/Daily file photoThe Salvation Army in Eagle County, Colorado isn't sure if the economic slump will mean fewer coins in bell-ringers' buckets.

VAIL, Colorado ” Some local nonprofits say donations have become more uncertain as the economy falters. At the same time, groups in Vail, Colorado that cater to needy people in the community are seeing more and more requests for charity.

The local Salvation Army saw 101 cases in September and 105 in August. Last year, there was an average of 60 cases per month. Salvation Army director Tsu Wolin-Brown said the increase may be due to the struggling economy and a lack of local jobs.

“A lot of people are telling us they don’t have the hours they would normally have, in construction, in housekeeping,” Brown said. “Some businesses are laying off or giving fewer hours.”

The Salvation Army provides food as well as money for rent, utilities money and bus tickets to needy people, Wolin-Brown said. She said she isn’t sure whether donors will give less this holiday season, when Salvation Army bell ringers will collect donations around the county.

“If people really can’t afford to donate, charity giving could be way down,” she said.

Katie Bruen, marketing and event coordinator for the Youth Foundation, which provides programs for economically disadvantaged local youth, is seeing some reticence from donors.

“There are some donors who have said, in a process of planning to make a gift to the foundation, ‘You know what? I have to hold off right now. I just have to see what is happening in this economy and the stock market,'” Bruen said.

At the same time, the foundation is seeing more need for the services it provides, Bruen said. Family members who have lost jobs are calling the foundation, looking for scholarships or for a child to become enrolled in an after-school program, she said.

The Vail Valley Foundation does a lot of philanthropic work in the community, including conducting several education programs. Vice President of Communications John Dakin said it’s a bit too early to know whether individual donations or corporate sponsorships will be down.

“We’re fortunate that we have a lot of long-standing donors who are familiar with the organization and what it does and are more apt to continue their contributions and, in some instances, are actually increasing their contributions,” Dakin said.

The foundation is moving forward with its normal slate of events ” such as the Birds of Prey World Cup ski races at Beaver Creek ” and philanthropic efforts. However, the foundation is being cautious with its spending, Dakin said.

“It’s too soon to say we’ve already started seeing fallout from the economic crisis,” Dakin said. “But I think that we have to plan accordingly and manage accordingly and not just think that there’s a magic bubble that sits over the Vail Valley and we will all be immune from this.”

The Vail Town Council, in paring down its budget last week, has already expressed some reservations about a funding request for the Birds of Prey ” $30,000 in donated bus service.

Council members also moved to nix a $25,000 request for administrative funding from the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival ” while still supporting $150,000 in other sponsorship funds.

“It’s way too early” to see any effect of the economic turmoil, said John Giovando, executive director of the music festival.

The festival is being cautious with its budget, and may make some cuts.

“But it’s not going to be in our program quality,” Giovando said, stressing that any cuts wouldn’t affect the artistic level or orchestra performances of the festival.

Some charities and nonprofits, such as the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, said they aren’t seeing any effect of the downturn yet.

Moses Gonzales, a Vail code enforcement officer, said he expect to meets the 250,000-pound goal of his annual Make a Difference Day food drive. The drive ends Oct. 25.

“A lot of people think about (the economy), and then they just think about the people who are worse off than them,” Gonzales said.

For more information on donating money or becoming a volunteer:

– Call the Youth Foundation at (970)763-7000 or go to

– Call the Salvation Army at (970)926-3704 or go to

– Call the Vail Valley Charitable Fund at (970)845-6339 or go to

– Call the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival at (970)827-5700 or go to

– Vail’s eighth annual “Make a Difference Day” food drive is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Vail Police Department parking lot. Food collection baskets are at all major county grocery stores and the Sheriff’s Office in Eagle. Cash or checks may be made out to “TOV Make a Difference Day” and can be brought or mailed to the Vail Municipal Building at 75 S. Frontage Road, Vail, CO 81657.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User