Donate the Silver Lining Ranch
September 7, 2009
I remember about 10 years ago, Andrea Jaeger had a dream that she sold us on. She had formed the Little Star Foundation to benefit critically ill children and wanted to have a special place in Aspen where those children could come.
A lot of local people bought into her dream, and the beautiful Silver Lining Ranch came into existence in Aspen. I recall that Fabi Benedict donated that very valuable parcel of land for the Silver Lining Ranch, and many other locals donated time, materials, labor and money for its construction.
I don’t know exactly how long the Silver Lining Ranch actually served the charitable function toward which many Aspen people donated, but, just a few years after completion, in 2007, it was already being offered for sale, by Andrea Jaeger, for a big price.
According to Charity Navigator, in 2007, when Jaeger put the Silver Lining Ranch up for sale, Jaeger and her partner, combined, made $300,000 per year, and their foundation had taken in more than $9 million during that year alone. Why didn’t they continue to have the Silver Lining Ranch help critically ill children? That was the purpose behind the original gift of the Benedict land.
That’s why the Aspen community supported and contributed to it, and that’s probably why the project got the zoning it needed in order to build in that location. I feel that, at the time that the land was donated for the Silver Lining Ranch, it should have been deed-restricted. Then that generous charitable gift for children wouldn’t have become, in a few short years, just another free-market sale of property to whomever can pay the price.
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I wish for something that is highly unlikely in this far-from-perfect world. Instead of these lawsuits, it would be wonderful and in keeping with the spirit of charity and the intentions of the generous donors, including Fabi Benedict, that the Silver Lining Ranch be donated (or sold at a greatly discounted price) to another charity that helps critically ill and disadvantaged children.
Since Ms. Jaeger has lost interest in the Silver Lining Ranch, except for cashing out, there should be other charitable organizations that would love to be able to have such a wonderful place to help children seriously ill with cancer and other terminal illnesses. I was under the impression that this was the only reason why the Silver Lining Ranch came into existence in the first place.