The Vail Valley Partnership, the valley’s chamber of commerce, celebrates the best of the local business community with its success awards. Most of the winners were selected by a committee of former winners, but a couple of winners were honored by the Partnership’s leadership.
Category: Timeline Stories
We launched the leadership and social impact fund, Elevar, to provide a continuum of support to emerging Latino leaders who have gone through other community leadership programs to continue their journey and further advance power and voice in leadership roles throughout Eagle County. Elevar, or “elevate” in Spanish, provides community investments through grantmaking and program-related investments to emerging Latino leaders and people of color. By engaging existing programs and partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, Elevar will create the connection point between existing education and leadership training programs, to the resources needed for emerging leaders to make their dreams a reality, while building economic power and creating a more empowered and socially-just community
Dan Godec is appointed as its new chairman. Founder Mike Rushmore stepped down as chairman of the board of directors after serving in the role since the organization got its start in 2015. Susie Davis, Ryan Kipp, and Jeff Malehorn are added to the Board of Directors. The rest of the members that make up the foundation’s board are Jason Denhart, Seth Ehrlich, Merv Lapin, Chris Moffet, Kathryn Regjo, Chris Romer, Carter Sharfstein, Bill Simon and Mark Wurzer.
Eagle County partners celebrate launch of mobile clearinghouse program. The MIRA RV is a rolling clearinghouse for services available in Eagle County. Examples include basic health education and screenings, application support for public assistance programs, food resources, workforce development, early-childhood education coordination and physical activity programming. In Spanish, MIRA means “look” or “vision.” In the language of acronym, MIRA means “Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance/Alianza Movil de Recursos Interculturales.” In actual practice, MIRA is a 40-foot RV that will bring resources directly to Eagle County neighborhoods and workplaces.
The Eagle Valley Community Foundation selects Melina Valsecia as its executive director. Valsecia has managed MIRA (Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance), a partnership program with Eagle Valley Community Foundation, since 2018. “The entire board is proud of the work that Melina has done with MIRA, and we are confident that Melina will extend her positive influence in this new role,” said Mike Rushmore, Eagle Valley Community Foundation’s founder and board chair, in a news release. “Melina’s combination of education, work experience, understanding, professionalism and dedication is remarkable. We are excited to work with Melina to maximize the foundation’s impact on our community with Melina’s energy and leadership.” Chris Lindley, the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, has partnered with Valsecia, and echoed his support: “Melina’s deep commitment to building community, and ability to bring people together aligns well with Eagle Valley Community Foundation’s vision and values. I am pleased to continue our partnership with the team at the community foundation, and excited to have Melina leading the charge.”
In 2014, Our Community Foundation (OCF) was capitalized with $25,000 to fund early legal expenses and build awareness of the idea. In the summer of 2015, OCF received the letter of determination qualifying the organization as a 501c3 charitable organization. Local residents interested in developing local, smaller, needs-oriented non-profit organizations quickly embraced the idea as members of the Advisory Board and as significant financial sponsors.
In September 2015, OCF was invited to partner with Advisory Board member Beth Slifer to sponsor a bi-annual gathering of Eagle County nonprofit leaders. That gathering now includes over 100 community leaders and facilitates awareness and collaboration across organizations and people. In December 2015, OCF was awarded a grant by the Corporation for National and Community Service to hire and manage a team of ten AmeriCorps VISTA members to work locally on issues of community poverty. Susie Davis, Director of Community Impact develops and manages this program. The OCF VISTA program is now engaged in addressing several areas of need including hunger, access to higher education, non-profit collaboration, healthy lifestyles for children and funding of emergency resources including food and shelter.
The original members of the Board of Directors include Chair Mike Rushmore, Bill Jensen, Seth Ehrlich and Jeremy Reitmann. In July 2016, the Board of Directors was expanded from four members to six members with the addition of Ron Davis and Chris Moffet. In August 2016, OCF and the Western Colorado Community Foundation (WCCF) entered into a strategic partnership designed to increase local Eagle County philanthropy and generate financial resources for the OCF General Fund. The partnership allows local families to establish donor advised funds (DAF) that are managed by WCCF for the purpose of investing in nonprofit organizations. OCF receives 50% of the DAF management fees under this program Currently, there are approximately $250,000 in assets under management.
AmeriCorps VISTA Several local non-profits are fighting poverty but are under-resourced. With funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, EVCF established a scalable AmeriCorps VISTA program in Eagle County. OCF’s AmeriCorps VISTA program places National Service within local non-profits to assist in capacity building measures. EVCF managed seven VISTA staff as they increased access to healthy meals, built capacity for the local food pantry, developed structures for improved mental health, optimized scholarship programs and reduced the impact of environmental privilege in our valley.
We welcomed five new AmeriCorps VISTAs to the valley. Our current AmeriCorps VISTA members are hard at work serving within EVCF, the Eagle River Valley Food Bank, the Vail Valley Salvation Army and the Eagle River Watershed Council. The AmeriCorps VISTA program is managed by EVCF and funded by a combination of discretionary and dedicated donations, a federal grant, and cost-sharing agreements with participating non-profit organizations.