Environment Foundation gave $200,000 in grants last year | AspenTimes.com

Environment Foundation gave $200,000 in grants last year

ASPEN – The Environment Foundation, funded in large part by employees of the Aspen Skiing Co., gave $200,000 in grants to 34 environmental organizations and causes in 2010, it announced Wednesday.

The contributions ranged from $1,000 for a monitoring program to help keep invasive zebra and quagga mussels out of Ruedi Reservoir to $10,000 for the Hidden Gems wilderness campaign.

The Environment Foundation has been a major supporter of the Hidden Gems campaign over the past four years. It gave $10,000 to the effort in 2007; $10,000 in 2008; $5,000 in 2009; as well as $10,000 last year, said Matt Hamilton, manager, sustainability and corporate contributions, for the Skico.

He noted that the Environment Foundation is an nonprofit organization that operates independently of the Aspen Skiing Co. Some Skico employees who contribute to the foundation support Hidden Gems, others don’t, Hamilton said. The controversy surrounding the proposal wasn’t an issue for the foundation’s board of directors, he said. Board members felt the Hidden Gems effort matched the foundation’s environmental direction.

The foundation has also contributed in the past to the Roaring Fork Mountain Biking Association, Hamilton said. The biking association has analyzed Hidden Gems and opposed portions of the proposal based on its effects on cycling opportunities. Hamilton said he didn’t believe the foundation has ever received grant requests from motorized forest user groups. He said a grant from such a group might be appropriate in some circumstances, like trail work.

The Environment Foundation has awarded about $1.6 million in grants to 323 groups and projects since it was created in December 1997. Skico employees can make voluntary contributions. The Aspen Community Foundation and Aspen Skiing Co.’s Family Fund also contribute. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a corporate partner with Skico, contributed $25,000 to the fund last year.

Hamilton said the recession didn’t reduce the amount of contribution from Skico employees. The amount continues to grow each year, he said.

The projects supported in 2010 were:

• Alliance for Climate Education to kick-start climate education and action in Roaring Fork Valley, $6,000.

• American Whitewater to support efforts to defend the upper Colorado River for fish, wildlife and people, $7,500.

• Aspen Center for Environmental Studies for environmental education school support program, $7,500.

• Aspen Center for Environmental Studies for Rock Bottom Ranch general operations, $5,000.

• Aspen Public Radio and KDNK in Carbondale to support environmental reporting and education, $5,000.

• Basalt Elementary School for an edible garden, $5,000.

• Basalt Green Team for a Basalt Middle School photovoltaic system and education project, $8,000.

• Carbondale Community School for classroom-based energy efficiency projects, $1,076.

• Colorado Conservation Voters for Strategic Communications project, $3,000.

• Colorado Fourteeners Initiative for Capitol and Pyramid peaks trail maintenance, $5,000.

• Colorado Rocky Mountain School for micro-hydroelectric feasibility study, $2,500.

• Environment Colorado for Build Green Colorado project, $5,000.

• Fat City Farms for development of agricultural center at Roaring Fork High School, $8,000.

• GO3 Foundation for air quality monitoring project at Aspen High School, $4,495.

• Grand Valley Citizens Alliance for funding to support rural and agricultural property owners advocating against 10-acre spacing of gas wells in the Rifle, Silt Mesa, Peach Valley and New Castle areas, $6,000.

• Habitat for Humanity for fan installation at ReStore construction material outlet, $4,650.

• High Country News for reporting on energy development in western Colorado, $7,500.

• Kids First for energy efficiency upgrades at the Yellow Brick Building, $7,000.

• Mount Sopris Montessori School for environmentally centered outdoor space, $1,260.

• Mount Sopris Nordic Council for Spring Gulch trail improvements, $3,200.

• Roaring Fork Conservancy for targeted education campaign and floating summit, $5,000.

• Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers for 2010 trail projects, $10,000.

• Ruedi Water and Power Authority for zebra and quagga mussel inspection program at Ruedi Reservoir, $1,000.

• Sonoran Institute for Garfield County Regional Planning: Community Design Academy, $5,000.

• Sonoran Institute: Garfield County Open Space Initiative operating support, $5,000.

• Thompson Divide Coalition for general operations support, $5,000.

• Tomorrow’s Voices to support Politics of Sustainability civics class, $4,000.

• We-Cycle for organizational and planning grant, $7,000.

• Western Colorado Congress, Battle Mesa Gasfield Justice project, $10,000.

• Western Resource Advocates for legal guidance to protect Thompson Creek, $10,000.

• Western Resource Advocates for preserving Colorado’s model Oil and Gas Regulations, $7,500.

• White River National Forest for Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area human waste reduction program, $8,850.

• Wilderness Workshop, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Environmental Coalition for Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign, $10,000.

• Yampah Mountain High School for Gardener-in-Residence, $5,000.


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