Aspen’s resilience is more evident now than ever. These local businesses are dedicating time, money, and energy to bolstering our community
Aspen Skiing Company is driven to protect both the natural landscape that is so cherished as well as the community that enjoys it. Their responsibilities include several Aspen peaks, such as Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands, as well as overseeing ski and snowboarding schools, Four Mountain Sports rental shops, the Little Nell Hotel, and three Limelight Hotel properties in the valley.
Aspen Skiing Company is one of the most proactive businesses in the area. The Caring for Community Fund engages directly with Roaring Fork Valley communities by funding grants to support a strong and healthy community. Skico offers a 2-for-1 matching commitment to employees and the fund is overseen by an employee board, which allows direct insight into the struggles of Aspen’s most vulnerable citizens and garners increasing compassion and solidarity.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund at the Aspen Community Foundation will match contributions made through July 15th up to $250,000. Skico is donating 100% of these contributions to local and national organizations providing food, safe housing, and financial assistance to those in need.
Aspen Skiing Company has frequently championed for those in need. In early 2020, the business raised nearly $30,000 in just three weeks to help offset the damages of devastating brush fires in Australia, donating the money to Australian Red Cross. The company also matched $12,500 in donations for the Australia Wildfire Relief. Additionally, the company has created The Environment Foundation, which is funded by voluntary payroll deduction from Skico employees. Each dollar donated is matched by the Aspen Skiing Company’s Family Fund and the Aspen Community Foundation. Projects that receive funding from the Environment Foundation aim to educate on environmental issues, reduce climate change effects, protect natural mountain ecosystems, increase the use of renewable resources, and more. In over twenty years, the company has donated $3.5 million dollars to various projects by tripling donations. Their commitment to the Roaring Forks Valley community shows no sign of stopping.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, hand sanitizer became one of the most prized goods— and one of the most difficult to locate. However, local Aspen distillery transformed their services to answer the needs of their community. In March, Woody Creek Distillers temporarily shifted from producing vodka, gin, bourbon, and rye to crafting hand sanitizer instead. Following the recipe promoted by the World Health Organization, their hand sanitizers were crafted with 190-proof alcohol and glycerin.
Woody Creek Distillers has donated hand sanitizers to first responders in the area, including the Aspen Police and Fire Department, the Snowmass Police Department, the Basalt Police and Fire Department, and the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office. Additionally, donations were made to healthcare professionals in the area and essential workers who weren’t able to shelter-at-home during the pandemic’s peak. Making this resource available for free helped first responders stay safe while on the frontlines. Over 2,000 liters of their hand sanitizer has been distributed throughout the county.
This long-standing Aspen establishment has survived for decades, which can be largely attributed to one thing: they continuously support the community. Operated entirely by a staff of women volunteers, this shop primarily sells donated goods at affordable prices, making it a great option for consignment finds—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since its establishment, The Aspen Thrift Shop has worked for the betterment of our community and still today dedicates all of their proceeds to causes within the Roaring Fork Valley community.
In 1949, the Thrift Shop of Aspen opened to support a nearby citizens’ hospital and housed up to three nurses in its converted attic and helped pay the nurses’ salaries. Funds from the Aspen Thrift Shop were used to create the Red Brick School, which remains in operations today as the Red Brick Center for the Arts, and the shop helped directly fund the school’s kindergarten and its inaugural hot lunch program. Although the thrift shop has changed locations several times throughout its storied history, its commitment to Aspen has never faltered. Today, Aspen Thrift Shop sponsors a number of grants and scholarships, and they are one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s largest contributors to non-profit organizations. Annually, Aspen Thrift Shop awards $75,000 in scholarships to students with academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, and who represent the shop’s enthusiasm and passion for charitable efforts and the spirit of volunteerism.
Nearby local nonprofit Lift-Up has upped its charitable donations in response to COVID-19. In Aspen, Lift-Up operates a food pantry, and its farm-to-pantry program helps the pantry stock fresh foods in addition to typical nonperishable items. By stocking fresh meat, dairy, and produce, Lift-Up helps give Aspen families more options while also supporting local farmers and vendors, such as Carbondale’s Potters Farms. Eating locally-sourced foods is an excellent option for integrating seasonal and environmentally-friendly foods into a diet, and Lift-Up is making this possible for Aspen residents who seek assistance. The number of families relying on food from a Lift-Up pantry has increased from approximately 675 families per month to 900 families per week as the pandemic swept through Colorado. Lift-Up operates two thrift shops and seven total food pantries throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. Their commitment to bettering the community permeates their mission.
Founded in 1991, the Aspen Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 fundraising organization that partners closely with school administrators and the community to identify and fund in-school or beyond classroom programs across five schools. Over the years, AEF has played a critical role in investing in the educational experiences that our community has come to appreciate and expect.
AEF is proud to support Aspen Family Connections (AFC) through this time. There are hundreds of people in our district who need food and support. AFC is on the front-lines, collecting and distributing food, reaching out and offering resources to our families, and truly making a difference in our community. AFC offers food distribution every Wednesday from 12-2pm at the Aspen High School and in Snowmass Village every Friday 12-2pm at the Rodeo Lot.
Aspen’s community is overflowing with generosity and kindness. When you’re ready to learn more about Aspen luxury homes for sale and Central Core homes for sale, contact me for more information.