OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – May 5, 2008 (Aspen/Snowmass, Colo.) – The Environment Foundation donated $90,000 to 13 projects protecting the environmental quality of the Roaring Fork Valley (and beyond) as part of its spring grant-making cycle. Since its inception, the foundation has donated more than $1.2 million to almost 250 projects. The foundation is funded by Aspen Skiing Company employee contributions with substantial support from the Aspen Community Foundation and the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund.
This spring, the foundation partnered with X Games Environmentality to fund a 5.4 kW solar array atop the roof of Solara Preschool in nearby El Jebel, Colorado. The high profile location showcases the beauty and simplicity of renewable energy systems to thousands of drivers commuting along Highway 82 each day. In addition, the system will provide 60 percent of the school’s electricity and reduce carbon emissions that would have resulted from using non-renewable energy sources, primarily coal, by more than 500,000 pounds. To install this system, X Games Environmentality donated $15,000 and the Environment Foundation donated $13,000.
In the four months since the foundation last made grants, Aspen Skiing Company employees donated $37,000. The Aspen Community Foundation and the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund subsequently matched these funds. The 15-member board of directors, made up of Aspen Skiing Company employees, determines which qualified applicants receive a grant. Funded projects represent a broad range of environmental issues facing the Roaring Fork Valley:
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers coordinates volunteer projects throughout the valley, as well as from Glenwood Springs to Rifle. They received $9,000 to support their slate of summer 2008 projects including work on the Maroon Lake, Arbaney-Kittle and Wulfsohn Mountain Park trails.
Western Resource Advocates received a $10,000 grant to conduct an analysis of the impacts of commercial scale oil shale leasing on all western slope water resources.
Roaring Fork School District launched an energy committee to implement energy saving projects throughout its facilities to address rising energy costs and a desire to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The Environment Foundation provided $1,100 to provide a stipend to a staff person to coordinate this effort.
Solara Preschool serves many valley youth and their families providing critical day care and after school care while seeking to expose every child to environmentally conscious living outside their home. To support this mission the Environment Foundation, in conjunction with X Games Environmentality, provided $28,000 to support installation of a 5.4 kW solar system.
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies <http://www.aspennature.org/> provides environmental education programming for more than 86,000 Roaring Fork Valley residents and visitors annually. They received $8,000 to support staff salaries and other general operating costs.
Western Colorado Congress (WCC) <http://wccongress.org/> seeks to empower residents throughout the western slope to protect the environment and their homes in the face of outside development pressures. They received $10,000 to support development of their Quarter Century Fund, a reserve fund available when other funding has been committed but not received and to fund urgent non-budgeted policy actions.
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative <http://www.14ers.org/> works to reduce the impacts of climbing Colorado’s fourteeners through the development of improved trail networks and maintenance of existing trails. They received $4,000 to develop a Roaring Fork Valley based peak ranger program that will adopt the newly completed Pyramid Peak trail.
Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) developed the Colorado Climate Action Plan, the only privately funded statewide plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions developed in the nation. A $10,000 grant was awarded to RMCO to support development of a statewide coalition of nonprofit, for-profit and government entities to advocate on behalf of adoption of elements of the Colorado Climate Action Plan.
Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork seeks to graduate lifelong learners who give purpose and direction to their lives and communities. They are creating an organic vegetable garden on campus with the help of a $3,000 grant.
Wilderness Workshop and the Colorado Mountain Club are collaborating on the Hidden Gems Wilderness campaign to add more than 600,000 acres to the already designated wilderness of the White River National Forest. They received a $10,000 grant to support this campaign.
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association is a newly formed organization that seeks to create a valley-wide mountain bike trails plan and serve as the voice for the mountain biking community as public land use decisions are debated. To support their formation the Environment Foundation provided a grant of $4,000.
The Town of New Castle recently adopted a more stringent building code. In order to explore the impact of the revised code on the energy consumption of a home the town received a $3,000 grant to conduct energy audits of two houses built before the new code was enacted and an audit on the same model homes built under the new, more stringent code.
Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley is developing a store to sell lightly used items being removed during home renovations or demolitions. The revenue collected is used to support Habitat’s mission to build affordable housing for valley residents. To support continued development of this store a $5,000 grant was provided.
The employee-funded, -founded and -directed Environment Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million to almost 250 diverse local environmental projects since its inception in December 1997. More than 1800 employees per year contribute to the foundation directly from their paychecks. The Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund and the Aspen Community Foundation matches all donations. For additional information about the Environment Foundation visit www.aspensnowmass.com.