Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The family that you choose |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The family that you choose

Kerry Donovan
Vail Valley Charitable Fund
Kerry Donovan

Up on our ranch, a lot of conversations happen with friends in their cars and me on the road or in the field. This was no different. Late in the summer, my good friend Dagmar shouted at me as I wrestled with an irrigation sprinkler about joining the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.

I gave a thumbs-up, and a couple months later joined the board as their newest member. First order of business was going around the table with everyone saying how long they had been on the board — and most of the board had served over a decade.

The Vail Valley is a remarkable place. It has its challenges and it isn’t always the Happy Valley our guests see, but among the remarkable things that this valley has is our shared value of taking care of each other.

Often, folks find themselves calling the Vail Valley home even when that was never the intention. The story is the same if it happened in 1962 or 2022 — “I came here for a season.” And when you come for just a season, it means you often come alone, without a family, or a network and slowly you build your own family. One you choose. This is what I found at the Vail Valley Charitable Fund — a committed board and team that take care of folks like family. 

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund helps people who find themselves in the very scary situation of a medical crisis. I knew this mission going in. But what I didn’t totally expect was the heartfelt and compassionate discussions that happen around every funding decision.

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This board is thoughtful about how to best redistribute people’s generous donations while also trying to make sure they can do the most for every eligible person.

“How about a grocery gift card?” someone might suggest.

“I have a friend who can help with that.”

“There is this other program that might help them too.”

It is inspiring month after month to listen to the compassion and commitment that exist in the room, proving time and time again that we can’t do it alone and the valley doesn’t think someone should.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is able to provide support because of this shared valley value of taking care of each other and being the family we choose, not always the one we have. And we can only continue this work with help from you.

A financial donation that is meaningful to you helps us build a war chest to provide assistance to folks when the future feels the darkest and they may feel the most alone. The Vail Valley Charitable Fund reminds us all that we are in this together, so we invite you to join us on this ongoing journey.

Kerry Donovan, of Vail, is a former state senator and a board member of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Learn more at

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