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Aspen Center for Integral Health reshaping health-care ideas

Joel Stonington
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The fifth-annual James Bond Gala recently pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Aspen Center for Integral Health. Last year, the event netted $450,000, and this year the receipts still are being counted.

“It went really, really well,” said Michele Lueck (pronounced “leek”), the executive director of the center. “It raises somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of our operating revenue each year.”

The party has an unusually high cost structure in the nonprofit world, with nearly half of the gross revenue going back into the party as expenses. In 2006, the gala grossed $445,984, and spent $212,562.

“It’s sort of branded that way in the marketplace,” Lueck said. “At the end of the day, it’s really a party to thank our benefactors, raise awareness about ACIH and raise the funding for the year.”

The money earned at the event is split equally between three nonprofits: ACIH, Pathfinders and the Children’s Health Foundation.

The other two nonprofits essentially were spin-offs from ACIH and have maintained a good relationship through joint funding such as the gala.

Pathfinders and the Children’s Health Foundation come from the core belief behind ACIH that states health is defined broadly and comprehensively, with the four pillars of mind, body, relationships and environment.

Essentially, ACIH is dedicated centrally to educating people, mainly through conferences and symposiums in the Aspen area.

The events, including the gala, end up costing ACIH somewhere in the realm of $750,000 each year. Revenue has not been keeping up with the costs for the organization, but Lueck said the center draws on some large donations that helped start ACIH and essentially have created an endowment for it.

As Lueck put it, ACIH is attempting to “incubate ideas here in the valley and disseminate to other communities to develop programs that are picked up on a regional and national level.”

To that end, ACIH is hosting the “Women’s Health Conference: From Theory to Practice” on March 21 and March 22. The conference features talks such as, “Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Who, What, When, Why or Why Not, and for How Long?”

We have a legacy of hosting educational conferences,” Lueck said. “Individuals and families, through appropriate tools and education can make better decisions about their lifestyles and health. There is an abundance of information available to women. It’s really filtering through all this information to make meaningful decisions.”

jstonington@aspentimes.com


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