Aspen Monopoly board game yields windfall for local charities
Four local nonprofits will begin to see a windfall in the coming weeks thanks to sales of Aspen’s version of the classic board game Monopoly.
“It’s far, far exceeded our expectations,” said Katherine Chapin, who helped spearhead the Aspen board game idea where all profits will go to charity. “It’s very gratifying to see the outpouring of support from businesses and locals and tourists alike.”
The game — which replaces well-known properties from the original game with local spots like The Little Nell, the Maroon Bells and the four local ski areas — went on sale in Aspen during the holiday season. The initial order of 5,000 of the games — sold at $40 each — sold out and another 5,000 are on the way, Chapin said.
That initial round of sales brought in about $50,000 in profits, which are starting to be distributed. Chapin, who owns a company authorized by Hasbro Toy Co. to create localized version of Monopoly, said about 75 percent of the $50,000 will be distributed, while the rest will be held back to make small donations to small, newly established charities.
Chapin said $25,000 of the profits will be donated to the Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative, which helps children throughout the Roaring Fork Valley prepare for careers and college.
Another 25 percent of the profits will go to the Aspen Music Festival and School, she said. Specifically, the money will benefit the school’s P.A.L.S. program, which provides benefits to Roaring Fork Valley music students who want to focus on a particular instrument, Chapin said.
Finally, $7,000 will go to the Aspen Youth Center for the group’s fundraising campaign to remodel the kitchen at the Aspen Recreation Center, she said.
“We would like to create a challenge to the community to help finish the kitchen,” she said.
In fact, Chapin on Thursday said she spoke with Chris Hendrickson of Hendrickson Construction, who said he’d donate $7,000 worth of labor to the kitchen renovation project.
Michaela Idhammar-Ketpura, the youth center’s executive director, said she’s grateful for the donation.
“It’s such a good start; it’s amazing,” she said.
The kitchen hasn’t been altered since the ARC was built in 2003, and it needs between $20,000 and $25,000 worth of renovations. The youth center teaches kids how to cook and also provides some meals for children who can’t afford them, Idhammar-Ketpura said.
The youth center would like to redo the kitchen floors, upgrade the cabinets, install a second sink specifically for non-food science projects and change the layout a bit to make it more user-friendly, she said. She’d also like to have two stoves and two ovens for the kids to use.
Additionally, Theatre Aspen will receive $5,000, which came from the sale of the very first Aspen Monopoly game, Chapin said. A local couple, Marc and Beverle Ostrofsky, purchased that game and specified the summer theater program as the nonprofit they wanted to receive the money, Chapin said.
Chapin said she plans to keep selling the Aspen Monopoly game in perpetuity and continuing the local donations.
The games are only sold at businesses represented on the board, including Carl’s Pharmacy, Clark’s Market, City Market, Gorsuch, Explore Booksellers, Four Mountain Sports, Pitkin County Dry Goods, The Little Nell, Limelight Hotel, Hotel Jerome and the Aspen Art Museum.
The chief operating officer of RH recently said the retailer’s presence will invigorate downtown Aspen by day and wake it up at night, but they’ll need some help from the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission.
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