Gallagher: Paul Newman’s legacy carries on to Roundup River Ranch | AspenTimes.com

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Gallagher: Paul Newman’s legacy carries on to Roundup River Ranch

"It's not that the children say, 'Thanks for a wonderful time.' It's that they say, 'Thanks for changing my life.'" — Paul Newman

I'm proud to say that this is my second column on Paul Newman and the legacy of giving that his family, friends and business associates have spearheaded over the past three-plus decades.

My first column was focused on Newman's Own — the all-natural, everyday food and drink products that have donated more than $400 million worldwide since 1982. If you have ever purchased any of these products, and you should have, you have played an important role in making a difference. And all you needed to do is enjoy an organic meal or a cool glass of lemonade. What a way to give, eh?

I also mentioned that Nell Newman, one of Paul's daughters, was continuing the Newman legacy by creating Newman's Organics. Nell has extended the give-back, health-food-product offerings to include appetizing treats like popcorn, pretzels, free-trade coffee, dried fruit and my personal favorites, Fig Newman's. Paul came up with the name, but they soon realized there was a bit of a problem. Kraft Foods had already registered and trademarked the name. But in a perfect example of how a big corporation can make a bigger difference, Kraft gave consent, and the rest is delectable history.

If you Google Paul Newman, you will quickly realize that the Newman philanthropic legacy is truly a family affair. Along with being a co-founder of Newman's Own, Paul also founded the SeriousFun Children's Network, a global family of camps and programs for children with serious illness. Since its formation in 1988, the camps have served more than 518,000 children and families from more than 50 countries. I like those numbers.

Because summer is just around the corner, let's go camping. Roundup River Ranch is a member of SeriousFun Children's Network, and it's pretty much right in our backyard. This picturesque camp sits nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River near Gypsum, and it is composed of 85 acres of pure joy and laughter.

Campers come to Roundup River Ranch for the experience of a lifetime. They come for a week of freedom from doctor's appointments and the chance to feel like kids again. And when they become campers, they get to try things they have never dreamed of and revel in what they can do rather than be restrained by what they cannot do.

Roundup River Ranch provides a fun, safe and empowering camp experience for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses — offered completely free of charge to campers and their families. While at camp, campers can make friends from 11 different states. While a majority of the campers are from Colorado, there also may be campers from Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

If you are interested in learning more about the application process for the camp, please contact Kacy at kacy@roundupriver ranch.org.

Roundup River Ranch offers campers an opportunity to experience the joys of childhood in the Rocky Mountain wilderness with new friends who understand. The overall goal of the camp is to provide empowering camp experiences for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families, for free — forever. Of course, it is the generosity of folks who want to make a difference that keeps the campfires burning at Roundup River Ranch. As a supporter, you help fulfill the promise that the campers will have memorable and enlightening experiences that will positively frame their lives long after they have returned to their respective places that they call home.

Making a gift to Roundup River Ranch is just a phone call away. If you would like to explore giving opportunities or have questions regarding the camp, such as volunteering, please contact Katie Santambrogio at 970-748-9983, ext. 5.

My family and I are very fortunate to have been invited to a home in Denver the first week of June to learn more about Roundup River Ranch. And the featured presenter is none other than Clea Newman. You guessed it. Paul's daughter. The legacy lives on.

"Philantopia" is a monthly column of The Aspen Times focused on philanthropy and community involvement. R.J. Gallagher Jr. is a three-decade resident of the Roaring Fork Valley. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including those of the Aspen Community Foundation and Komen Aspen. His firm, Forte International, is a supporter of local philanthropy that makes a difference on a global level. His email address is rjg@forteinternational.net.