Aspen Community School campaign gets $750K boost |

Aspen Community School campaign gets $750K boost

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – An anonymous donor pumped $750,000 into the Aspen Community School’s “I Believe” campaign to raise millions of dollars for a new campus.

The Woody Creek charter school is now within $1 million of meeting its required match to receive a grant from the state’s Building Excellent Schools Today program, which provides money for school construction and renovation projects. The school must raise $4.9 million on its own by May 1. The grant would provide $4.2 million.

In all, the school needs $11.6 million for the initiative to improve the 43-year-old school’s facilities.

“The groundswell in this final stretch is nothing short of remarkable,” said Skye Skinner, executive director of Compass, the nonprofit organization that operates the school.

“We are well on our way to pulling it off – if we all pitch in,” Skinner said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see so many people, like this generous donor, responding to the campaign and putting their money where their hearts are.”

If the school doesn’t reach its fundraising goal of $4.9 million in the next 15 days, it forfeits the state grant. To meet the challenge, the school has launched an online funding project to complement the traditional philanthropy tools already in the works.

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Using IndieGoGo, a crowd-funding platform for creative projects, the school aims to make it easy for people to contribute to the grassroots effort. The project, with donation levels starting at $10, will run online at through April 26. Donations are tax-deductible and will be matched dollar-for-dollar to rebuild the school’s aging facilities.

“We’re bringing $4.2 million in state education funding to the valley, and to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, we need every Who in Whoville to stand up and be counted for outstanding public education by May 1,” Skinner said. “Every donation, no matter how small (or large), counts.”

While the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school is operated by Compass, it’s officially set up as a charter school of the Aspen School District. And though the Aspen Community School is one of Colorado’s highest-performing schools (in both arts and academics), it operates in one of the state’s lowest-performing facilities.

Last fall, when the fundraising campaign kicked off, officials pointed out that the school had earned a 131 score on the Colorado Department of Education’s Colorado Facility Index, which rates public-school facilities.

The average score in Colorado is 45. The 131 score ranked the Aspen Community School campus as the 24th worst out of 1,689 facilities assessed.