Medical foundation announces donations
A local foundation this week released its annual list of grants to nonprofit groups throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and started its fall drive to raise money for similar donations next year.The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation announced it has handed out $411,255 to health and human services agencies.The money went to some three dozen organizations, among them Advocate Safehouse Project ($10,000), Alpine Legal Services ($20,000), Aspen Counseling Center ($30,000), Catholic Charities Western Slope ($25,000), Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains – Glenwood Springs ($15,000), RESPONSE, ($17,500), Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention ($30,000), Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District ($5,560), Garfield County Social Services/Childcare Program ($9,600), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program ($1,000), and Sopris Therapy Services ($10,000).A variety of sources fund the annual awards, the foundation’s Ruth Minetree said, but a big part comes through Neighbor to Neighbor, a paycheck deduction program involving employers and employees throughout the valley.For example, she said, Vectra Bank has been a longtime supporter of the foundation through Neighbor to Neighbor. “Neighbor to Neighbor was the only local entity that supports the work of so many great organizations from Aspen to the Glenwood Springs area where we have our bank locations. So it made perfect sense for us to sign on,” said Lisa Bugner, the bank’s vice president and regional branch manager.The Neighbor to Neighbor program is similar to the United Way in that it asks business leaders to encourage their employees to take part, and the companies then agree to match the employee contributions.And the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, which has been providing its own 100 percent match for the contributions, will raise that to 200 percent this year, Minetree said. The money for the foundation’s matching program comes from its general donor base.”As always, 100 percent of all contributions go directly to fund health and human service agencies in our valley,” she said.Partner organizations get awards in three-year packages, while affiliates receive grants on a year-to-year basis.Contributing businesses include Alpine Bank, Aspen Meadows, Aspen School District, the Aspen Skiing Co., Gant, Myers & Co, Reese Henry & Co. and Rocky Mountain Institute.For information on Aspen Valley Medical Foundation and its community grants program, e-mail Minetree at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 544-1397.
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Mario Ruiz came to Aspen Highlands from Bariloche through the ski patrol exchange as part of the Sister Cities program last winter. He quickly ingrained himself with the Highlands patrol. Ruiz was killed July 27 in an avalanche while working at his home ski area. The Highlands patrol is raising funds for his family.