Vail Valley United Way receives gift of volunteer hours from corporate group | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley United Way receives gift of volunteer hours from corporate group

VAIL — Every nonprofit group in the Vail Valley could always use more volunteers. United Way of the Eagle River Valley recently got a 200-person bonus.

Pinnacle, a large property-management company, is holding a leadership conference at the Vail Marriott Resort this week. A lot of companies hold conferences at hotels throughout the Vail Valley, but Pinnacle's meeting is a bit different.

Wherever the company goes for its annual conference, there's time reserved for doing volunteer work in the host community.

Last year, in Seattle, volunteers from Pinnacle aided Plymouth Housing, a nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income residents.

Sally Milton, of Pinnacle's office in Orlando, Florida, said the days of service during conferences are an extension of the company's everyday work in communities where it has offices.

Milton said the Orlando office regularly helps Habitat for Humanity there, as well as food banks and an organization called Give Kids the World, which provides a week of care and recreation for critically ill children and their families. The Orlando office, as well as other offices around the country, also raises money for local nonprofit groups.

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Finding enough work

When the annual conference is held in cities, it's not that hard to find enough work to occupy 200 people for an afternoon.

The Vail Valley is a little different.

Pinnacle Vice President of Marketing and Training Jennifer Staciokas said when the decision was made to come to Vail, she did an internet search of local nonprofits. The United Way stood out, since that organization works with a number of local nonprofits — 40 at last count. With that many nonprofit groups — virtually all of them in need of a crew for an afternoon, it was relatively easy to parcel out the work.

The United Way volunteer effort at the annual Vail Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale received a 22-person boost. A trail running up from Minturn's Little Beach Park got a 35-person crew for maintenance work.

Other groups served lunch to low-income kids, while still others did landscaping and other work.

One group helped the Total Health Alliance prepare a home for painting.

Moving all those people around was a big job, involving a number of vans from Colorado Mountain Express and all three buses in the Turtle Bus fleet.

Local United Way chapter executive director Rebecca Kanaly said this is the local group's first "Day of Caring," but added she hopes it won't be the last.

A growing mission

While this the 21st year in the valley for United Way, "A lot of people don't know about us," Kanaly said. "Our goal has been to raise and disperse money." Now, she said, the hope is that some manpower can bolster those cash donations.

But putting more than 200 people into the field, all wearing white T-shirts, may help raise the local group's profile.

United Way board member Alan Himmelfarb said he hopes Wednesday's boost from Pinnacle helps raise the local group's profile.

"It's very exciting," Himmelfarb said. "I think we can leverage this."

Addressing the group during a lunch meeting, Himmelfarb noted that Eagle County has the nation's highest per-capita ratio of residents to nonprofit groups. He also told the group that Pinnacle's "core values" — service, transparency, performance, creativity and community — are a good match with those of the United Way.

Aside from the hours and hours of labor, Pinnacle also provided a $5,000 cash donation to the local United Way, and another $5,000 to InteGreat!, a summer lunch program for low-income kids.

For Wednesday afternoon, Himmelfarb offered some of the usual advice to newcomers to the valley — drink plenty of water and wear plenty of sunscreen.

And the group seemed excited. Waiting for a van to head to help with an InteGreat! lunch, New York-based David Sorise said he was eager to get started.

"It's important to give back to a community," Sorise said. "A lot of that is about serving others."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

Five facts

• Pinnacle, a nationwide property management company, brought more than 200 people to Vail for a conference.

• The company every year sends conference participants out into the host community for a day or service.

• Wednesday’s day of service sent people out to 26 work sites.

• Locally, the company manages the Booth Creek Townhomes, the Timber Ridge Apartments and the First Chair apartments, all in Vail.

• To learn more about United Way of the Eagle River Valley, go to http://www.unitedwayeagle.org.