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Valley groups get help

Julianne Beesley

Many local nonprofit organizations recently received spring grants totaling $307,830 from the Aspen Valley Community Foundation.

The awards were divided among organizations falling into three main categories: health and human services groups received $224,694; education-related agencies received $57,436 and organizations grouped under the category of “Strengthening Communities” received $25,700.

The foundation was established in 1980, and since then, hundreds of nonprofit organizations have benefited from almost $20 million in contributions. The foundation assists groups from Aspen to Parachute and has assets of $12 million.

“There are hundreds of all-important individual contributors,” said Lynn Russell, the foundation’s executive director. Although there is also some government support, Russell said, “I don’t think it should play a more significant role than the individuals who live here.”

The Family Visitor Program received the largest grant in the latest round of awards – $60,000. The program’s objective is to promote healthy families and prevent child abuse and neglect. According to program Executive Director Sandy Swanson, the agency deals with problems that are related to the valley’s resort economy.

“Due to the seasonal nature of work here, there are often no job guarantees. There are a great number of poor people in the valley, which puts stress on the family. Child abuse and neglect are on the increase,” she said.

“Domestic violence is also escalating and the Safehouse is always full and needs to expand,” she said.

The Advocate Safehouse Project, which fights domestic violence and sexual assault in Garfield County and provides a safe haven for victims of violence, received $10,000.

Other grant awards include $30,000 to Roaring Fork Legal Services, which provides legal services to low-income and impoverished clients, and $15,000 to Roaring Fork Hospice, which provides care and support for terminally ill patients and their families.

The Yampah Mountain High School/Teen Parent Program in Glenwood Springs, which aims to provide teen parents with high school and vocational education while meeting the needs of their children, received $28,324; and the New Castle Community Center received $10,000 to buy a new roof.

For more information on the foundation, contact Ellen Freedman at 925-7887.


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