Youth Foundation merges with Vail Valley Foundation
Contrary to traditional mathematics, one plus one is equal to one, especially when it comes to creating a single collaborative organization to fully serve Eagle County's current and future youth educational needs by combining the efforts of the Vail Valley Foundation and the Youth Foundation.
Effective immediately, the two organizations will join forces to create one consolidated educational organization under the umbrella of the Vail Valley Foundation that will become known as the Vail Valley Youth Foundation, a program of the Vail Valley Foundation.
“History may well determine that this merger between the Youth Foundation and the Vail Valley Foundation will be one of the greatest contributions both organizations have made to the youth of this valley,” explained Steve Coyer, chairman of the board of directors for the Youth Foundation. “I applaud the board and staff of the Youth Foundation for all that they have accomplished and I look forward to taking the next step on this educational journey alongside the Vail Valley Foundation.”
Created in 1997, the Youth Foundation was designed to impact youth with positive mentorship, community interaction and recreation applications that inspire self-confidence, friendship, and integrity in the hearts of all participants, as well as volunteers and supporters. Headed by inaugural chairman Mark Smith, the 15-member founding board also included Rod Slifer, Chupa Nelson, Bob Hernreich, Gerald Gallegos, Steve Fossett, along with nine other individuals that donated their time to the organization's early efforts.
With programs that now include the Magic Bus, First Tee, Power Hours after School, KidSTRONG, Guardian Scholars and GirlPowHer, the Youth Foundation is charged with helping young people discover their individual gifts and develop qualities that will help them become happy and contributing members of society.
“Having the chance to become one team with the Vail Valley Foundation is a tremendous opportunity for our organization,” offered Susie Davis, Executive Director of the Youth Foundation. “This union ensures that we can all continue to not only focus our full attention on providing wonderful ongoing educational programs for the full spectrum of students in this community, but also that we can now do that with a unified front and one voice. We are obviously extremely proud of the Youth Foundation's accomplishments through the years, but we are equally excited about the prospects of what can be done collectively in the future.”
Since its inception in 1981, the Vail Valley Foundation has supported and funded numerous educational initiatives, from the Magic Bus and Success at Six kindergarten scholarships to the Vail Valley Scholarship Program.
Recently, in conjunction with the creation of the Great Start pre-kindergarten readiness program, the Vail Valley Foundation made the decision to specifically focus on the pre-kindergarten and early childhood arenas for all future education initiatives, with an overall goal of ensuring that Eagle County does a better job of preparing their children to enter the school system than any community in the nation.
“I have always been tremendously impressed with the passion that the Youth Foundation board has for truly making a difference in the lives of young people in our community,” said Harry Frampton, Chairman of the Board of the Vail Valley Foundation. “By combining the experience, vision and skills of their board and staff with our organization, we can truly mount a focused effort to ensure that our children have the best educational opportunities that we can possibly provide.”
All existing programs and staff of the Youth Foundation will be incorporated into the Vail Valley Foundation structure. In addition, Davis will also become the Vice President of Education for the Vail Valley Foundation, responsible for running the day-to-day operation of the newly consolidated arm of the nonprofit organization.
“One of the goals of our two organizations coming together,” added Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, “is to continue to work in partnership with the Eagle County School District and their board. The district is truly making a difference up and down the valley and together, we can have a much greater impact than separately.”
“The true beneficiaries of this merger are most certainly the children of Eagle County,” concluded Eagle County School District Superintendent Sandra Smyser. “Both organizations bring a unique set of resources and experiences to the equation, along with a singular passion for enriching the educational opportunities from one end of the valley to the other. The educational future for Eagle County is considerably brighter with this announcement.”
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