Vail Valley Charitable Fund: It’s still all about heart |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: It’s still all about heart

Twenty-eight years ago, I had a good idea.

I convinced my wife to move from Southern California to the Vail Valley with our two young sons.

Three years later, I had another good idea, which seems to be about my record: a good idea every three years or so. But this one was a shared idea inspired by a meeting of the minds.

In 1996, a local family — mom, dad and an adorable 2-year-old — were in trouble. I knew the dad but had not yet had the pleasure of meeting the mom. Mom was seriously ill. The family needed help to raise funds so the mother could get the cancer treatment she needed and for her care to not financially destroy them.

A group of us stepped up.

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We had heard that the national touring company of the musical “Miss Saigon” would be in Denver. Might they come up to Vail and put on a show for us? On the theory that you never know unless you ask, I called.

“Yes,” they said. “Of course.”

My next good idea that came three years later was to realize that others in our community also needed help from time to time. With that thought, and with the “Miss Saigon” performance freshly in our sails, we formed the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.

Then, with the help and talents of many others, we began to have a lot of good ideas. We produced the Vail Undressed calendars; we put on all sorts of fun events; we hired the right people; we put the right board in place; and we relied on the inherent goodness, kindness, and generosity of our neighbors.

We planted roots. And then we slowly grew.

September marks our 25th anniversary. In that time, we have raised and distributed nearly $9 million, given more than 1,800 charitable gifts and helped lift our brothers and sisters when they were down. Hopefully, we have helped relieve both stress and worry so those we’ve helped could focus on their families and the important task of getting well.

I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by the best people I know — our talented and dedicated board, our special and devoted executive directors, our kind and skilled marketing directors, and our incredibly generous donors, volunteers and supporters.

What a special privilege this has been.

In celebration of our 25th year, we hope you will join us Aug. 21 at the beach at Nottingham Park in Avon for a day of libations, live bands, building sandcastles, beach games, a luau and a spectacular lantern release. Please check out the details of our Vail Valley Brew’au at

Our mantra is, “It’s all about heart.” The town of Avon’s is, “Heart of the Valley.” We thought that was a pretty good fit.

Join us, please. And help us think up the next good idea.

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