In Brief: Aspen Community Foundation gives; child-care financial help offered; CMC Board wins top honor | AspenTimes.com
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In Brief: Aspen Community Foundation gives; child-care financial help offered; CMC Board wins top honor

Staff Report

Foundation allocations benefit mental health of youths

Aspen Community Foundation announced Wednesday that its Cradle to Career Giving Network distributed $420,000 to local non-profits that support mental health in the Aspen-to-Parachute region.

The Giving Network brings together local philanthropists to explore issues affecting the outcomes of youth and families. 

“Pooling funds for a collective impact is really powerful,” said Ramona Bruland, Aspen Community Foundation Board member and chair of the Giving Network. “Community outreach tells us what is needed. We then rely on the staff at Aspen Community Foundation and experts in the region to present funding options for our network to pursue.”



The non-profits selected strengthen Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career initiative by addressing disparities and inequities that prevent youth from thriving in the region, the foundation said. The pooled funds will directly support mental-health initiatives through the addition of youth advocates, youth resilience coaches, social workers, and mental-health clinicians. In addition to these initiatives, the funds will help general operation and expansion at selected organizations.

The 2023 Giving Network funds will be allocated to these non-profit organizations: Aspen Family Connections; Re2 Family Resource Center; Garfield 16 School-Based Family Resource Center; Family Resource Center of the Roaring Fork Schools; FocusedKids; Pathfinders; Stepping Stones of the Roaring Fork Valley; COMPASS for Lifelong Learning; YouthZone; Marble Charter School; Yampah Mountain High School.




The Giving Network philanthropists meet several times a year to discuss issues impacting youth in the Aspen to Parachute region. They work directly with experts in various fields such as kindergarten readiness, youth social and emotional well-being, and post-high school success.

In addition to meeting with experts, philanthropists participate in peer conversations with community members to discuss possible solutions. Since its inception in 2016, more than $1.9 million has been donated to advance youth outcomes in various programs. To learn more about Aspen Community Foundation, visit http://www.aspencommunityfoundation.org.

City offers aid for child-care expenses

Kids First and the city of Aspen provide a financial-aid program to help defray the expense of child care for working families. The deadline for applications is Feb. 1, with assistance to begin March 1. Only new applicants need to apply at this time.

Applications are available at Kids First or at https://www.aspen.gov/316/Financial-Aid. For more information, contact Kids First at 970-920-5363, 215 N. Garmisch, Suite 1 in Aspen, or e-mail Nancy.Nichols@aspen.gov

CMC Board wins award for tops in country

When the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees meets next week in Edwards, it will celebrate its selection as the best public college governing board in the country.

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges chose the CMC Board of Trustees as one of five boards — one public college, two private universities, and two public college or university foundations — nationally to receive the John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership.

“The nation is home to some 4,000 colleges and universities and nearly as many governing boards, and, yet, there are few boards that deserve special recognition more for their courage, wisdom, and foresight,” said Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, CMC president and CEO. “CMC is more relevant to and celebrated by its communities than ever before, in large part because the courageous and thoughtful individuals that comprise its elected governing board.”

The CMC Board of Trustees has been named one of five higher-education boards nationally to receive the Nason Award. Trustees are, from left, Chris Romer (Eagle County), Patty Theobald (Summit County), Peg Portscheller (West Garfield County), Marianne Virgili (East Garfield County), Bob Hartzell (Lake County), Marky Butler (Pitkin County), Bob Kuusinen (Routt County), and  David Armstrong (Salida liaison).
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According to its nomination materials, the publicly-elected CMC Board of Trustees received the award because of its commitment to address the needs of students and the region the college serves through several initiatives. These include investing $45 million for affordable housing and leveraging this funding to expand four critical projects in high-cost mountain towns; expanding academic programming and technology for high-demand fields, like nursing; growing concurrent enrollment opportunities for high-school students throughout CMC’s region; and focusing board advocacy for critical public-policy changes — including modifications to the state’s constitution — that strengthen CMC’s financial health and its support for underserved students.

Other recipients are the Holyoke Community College Foundation Board of Directors, the Texas Christian University Board of Trustees, the Utah State University Foundation Board of Directors, and the Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees.

“Strategic governing boards play a vital role in assuring the value and vitality of higher education,” said Henry Stoever, president and CEO of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “We are grateful for these boards’ contributions to creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, and we hope that their efforts will inspire more boards to hone their strategic thought partnership with chief executives and leadership teams. I am impressed by the achievements of our honorees, and I look forward to their future strides in promoting student success for all students.”

The Nason Award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped nearly 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II.

Aspen Thrift Shop distributes funds

The Aspen Thrift Shop volunteers for this month have decided to meet to distribute funds to Aspen High School Drama Club, GlenX Career Expo, Aspen Elementary School Theater Program, Aspen High School Aspen Mountain Guide School, Aspen High School Book Club, Aspen High School Spirit & Dance Team, Aspen Middle School Band, Basalt High School Aerospace Club, Basalt High School Environmental Club, Basalt Middle School 8th Grade Science, Blue Lake Preschool, Bridges High School Adventures in Reading, Childrens’s Rocky Mountain School, Our School, Science in Schools (Bruce Gabow).

The Thrift Shop is able to provide this funding funding from those who volunteer, donate, and shop.

Wildlife safety on roads featured on Naturalist Night

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, and Roaring Fork Audubon on Wednesday announced an update to the annual winter-speaker series, Naturalist Nights. The Jan. 25 and 26 Naturalist Night presentation will now be Where Wildlife Meets the Road — Advancing Safe Passages in the Roaring Fork Valley with Julia Kintsch and Cecily DeAngelo. 

Community members may recognize Cecily’s name as director of the newly-formed Roaring Fork Safe Passages organization.

As described on its website, “Roaring Fork Safe Passages was launched to create citizen advocacy in support of reducing vehicle wildlife collisions in the Roaring Fork Valley. This organization will also serve to coalesce local and state stakeholders to conceptualize and build land bridges, tunnels, and fencing to knit back together our now fragmented watershed and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.” 

Professor Lisa McKenzie, who was going to speak on Health Implications of Developing Oil and Gas in Residential Areas is unable to attend.

Naturalist Nights speakers present on Wednesday evenings in Carbondale at the Third Street Center and on Thursday evenings at ACES Hallam Lake. Presentations will also be available to watch on each organization’s Facebook page, Grassroots TV, and other local media outlets. Registration is strongly encouraged for each presentation but not required. 

Gravel pit plans proceed off I-70

A 20-acre gravel pit between Silt and Rifle got a green light this week from the Garfield County commissioners.

IHC Scott Inc., a civil contractor based in Englewood, plans to create a wet-mining operation within 57.9 acres situated south of the Colorado River and north of Interstate 70. The project itself covers nearly 20 acres, while excavation activity is set to cover 12.39 acres.

The area will include a five-foot perimeter berm for visual and noise mitigation.  

The site is currently irrigated pastureland with typical upland pasture grasses, according to county documents.

The biggest question to come from this proposal is whether the operation disturbs neighboring wetlands and vegetation. One of the permit conditions includes a 35-foot setback between operations and wetland areas, as well as another 100-foot setback from neighboring property lines.

“Significant portions of the site have been identified with wetland vegetation,” county documents state. “A portion of the site contains riparian woodland consisting of Russian olive and sparse shrub understory.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham suggested in a letter to the county that measures be taken to avoid excessive sedimentation into the Colorado River at the point of the operation, “as there is critical habitat for native and endangered species downstream from the proposed operation.”