Vail Valley Charitable Fund: In a season of giving, a thought for those unnoticed |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: In a season of giving, a thought for those unnoticed

Martha Brassel
Special to the Daily

On the first Thursday of the month for the last 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of joining my fellow Vail Valley Charitable Fund board members for our monthly meetings. In a way, the board members remind me of the characters in the movie “The Breakfast Club.”

There is a doctor, an attorney, an insurance broker, a couple of bankers, and a collection of bleeding hearts, the category in which I fall. All are incredibly special people that I am proud to serve alongside, all compassionate and committed to the mission of the VVCF.

The VVCF was founded as a nonprofit in 1996. Since our inception, we’ve helped more than 1,700 people struggling financially from a medical crisis, through $8.2 million in financial assistance, in the form of grants up to $5,000.

One of the most important things we do at each meeting is to review the applications for financial assistance. The applications vary widely in their request amounts, and medical conditions, that have placed the applicants in financial difficulty. Many of the applications tell humbling truths of loss, pain, devastation and struggle. 

It is not uncommon to learn that applicants can’t pay their rent, have depleted their retirement and/or savings accounts, are living on a friend’s couch or have less than $100 in their bank account. And, on top of it all, many are also in chemo, hospitalized, preparing for a second or third surgery, in physical therapy that consumes their days, or in pain (all of the time). 

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Most of these people go unnoticed as we go about our busy lives skiing, attending cultural events, riding our bikes and enjoying our beautiful mountain lifestyle. No matter what is going on in my life, whatever my perceived struggles and frustration du jour is, it all fades away when we start to review the applications. 

It’s a mental head check that puts everything in perspective and reveals the truth of the cliché that if you have your health you have everything. People in our community are struggling with health issues and the financial issues that accompany them. 

We help members of the community one dollar at a time. We raise money through our signature events: the LG Tri, Beaver Creek Oktoberfest Shuffle, Dynafit Summer Solstice Trail Run and individual events, for our grant recipients, that provide additional assistance to people in particularly dire circumstances.

This year when you gather with friends and family at the holidays and give thanks, know that there is someone in on our community that is thankful for a gift that you’ve made to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund that is helping them not just get back on their feet or overcome a medical crisis, but made them feel not so alone on the journey. 

Martha Brassel is a board member with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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