Aspen Skiing Co. gave nonprofits $2.4 million |

Aspen Skiing Co. gave nonprofits $2.4 million

ASPEN – Aspen Skiing Co. gave $2.4 million to 266 nonprofit organizations in western Colorado during its 2011-12 fiscal year, maintaining the levels of charitable contributions it established the prior two years, according to its 2012 Sustainability Report.

Much of Skico’s contributions came through in-kind service rather than cash. The biggest recipients during 2011-12 were Challenge Aspen, which received $870,000 in in-kind aid, and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, which Skico said it gave $406,000 via in-kind contributions.

“The vast majority of our donations are in-kind, in the form of lift tickets, rentals, lessons, hotel rooms, meals, etc.,” Matthew Hamilton, Skico director of sustainability, said in an email interview. “In the case of Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and Challenge Aspen, it’s all in-kind.”

Other big contributions were made to the U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic Division, which trains soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, to compete internationally in skiing and snowboarding competitions. Skico contributed $20,000 to that cause, according to the sustainability report.

Shining Stars received $56,000 in aid from Skico to bolster its program to bring kids with cancer to Aspen to let them experience life outside a hospital and to inspire them to fight the disease.

Schools in the Roaring Fork Valley received a mix of cash and in-kind service totaling $182,000.

“We have provided cash funding to each district’s charitable foundations and supported various in-school projects such as gardens, air-quality monitoring, college counseling and health clinics,” said Hamilton, who is also chairman of the Roaring Fork School District’s board of education.

A big component of Skico’s giving is fueled by its employees rather than the company. The Aspen Skiing Co. Employee Environment Foundation gave $250,000 in cash grants to numerous environmental causes and organizations in 2011-12. That fund is established through voluntary contributions by employees, which are matched by Crown Family Philanthropies, a charitable endeavor by the Skico owners; Aspen Community Foundation; and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Contributions by Skico and Crown Family Philanthropies for 2012-13 will include about $10,000 to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Hamilton said.

The $2.4 million in cash and in-kind donations given in 2011-12 is in the ballpark of the giving in other recent years. Skico donated $2.3 million in 2009-10 and $2 million in 2010-11, according to Hamilton.

“A good chunk of this fluctuation is related to donations we’ve made to Habitat for Humanity,” Hamilton wrote. Skico donated furniture, beds, mirrors and a variety of interior housing items to Habitat when Skico remodeled The Little Nell hotel and, more recently, luxury housing units connected to the Snowmass Club.

The giving in 2009-10 also reflected a $100,000 contribution to Partners in Health for Haiti earthquake relief from Skico and Crown Family Philanthropies, Hamilton said.

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