Community Briefs: Bessie Minor Swift Foundation distributes grants, Aspen Education Foundation executive director resigns |

Community Briefs: Bessie Minor Swift Foundation distributes grants, Aspen Education Foundation executive director resigns

Swift Foundation awards local nonprofits

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, has announced its most recent grants to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills, as well as programs that focus on languages, sciences and interdisciplinary areas.

Grant applications for 2018 totaled 163 applications. This year, $80,986 has been awarded to 36 deserving organizations, including a number of them in the Roaring Fork Valley that include:

• Aspen Youth Center, $1,000 — A free six-week summer STEM program with a focus on computer science, coding and robotics. This program will help children explore STEM fields outside of school so they can pursue their interests and be better prepared for the future. Funds will be used to purchase Raspberry Pi’s for eight kids, six brush bot robotics kits, six art bot robotics kits and three robots that follow black lines, motion, light or touch.

• Family Visitor Program, Glenwood Springs, $2,000 — An in-home “Read to Me” program promoting pre-literacy skills. Children will receive an age-appropriate board book and parents will learn age-appropriate techniques for reading to their babies. These funds will serve around 65 families through book purchases.

• Glenwood Springs Elementary School, $3,000 — A program in which students K-5 receive daily intensive intervention for reading. Funds will be used to provide books to take home each month that are culturally relevant and expose students to rich language.

Yampah Mountain High School, Glenwood Springs, $3,000 — This is a journalism program that produces a school newspaper, yearbook and poetry journal. Funds will be matched and will pay for graphic design, print costs, supplies and curriculum.

Applications will be accepted again starting Jan. 1, with a deadline of Feb. 15. For more information, visit the Bessie Minor website at

Aspen Education Foundation director steps down

The Aspen Education Foundation has announced the resignation of Brooke Bedingfield as its executive director.

Bedingfield submitted her resignation April 20, but she will remain with the foundation until June 30. She will be moving out of state to be closer to family, according to an announcement from the Foundation. In the next two months, she will continue to fundraise for the organization and aid in the new leadership transition.

“As a board member and co-chair of our endowment and capital committee, it has been an honor to work with Brooke,” Jeff Gorsuch said. “She has been a leader with a voice who has brought both integrity and meaning to this important and ongoing work. I have been inspired to have worked with someone who is as talented and accomplished as a development professional. I wish Brooke and her family much happiness and continued success.”

Fundraising through major gifts and the annual fund recently increased over 30 percent, and an endowment is in its beginning stage. The organization’s annual fundraising gala, The Flamingo, has sold out the past three years.

While under Bedingfield’s leadership, AEF broadened its support with the addition of the Aspen Promise, a collaborative effort with high school counselor Kathy Klug and the college counseling department. The Aspen Promise aims to close the funding gap between what students have already received from federal, state and institutional grants and the real cost of attending college. AEF also added a new language arts position at the middle school through endowed dollars.

“Working for AEF has been a great experience and I am happy for the opportunity to leave the organization in a position for further growth,” said Bedingfield. “Serving our children in their pursuit of a strong education has been very rewarding.”