As the Summit Foundation commemorates its 40th Anniversary, it proudly reflects on a remarkable journey dedicated to serving and enriching the Summit County community. Established in 1984 by a passionate group of 12 trustees committed to enhancing the quality of life in Summit County, the Summit Foundation has grown to be the foremost leader for positive change and support in the community.
From its humble beginnings that initially provided a total of $29,000 in grants to 10 nonprofits, the Foundation has flourished and expanded its reach and impact to contribute an astounding $53 million total to the community over the past 40 years. Last year alone, the Foundation donated $1.8 million to 98 nonprofit organizations, amplifying its impact across Summit County.
Support for the community has expanded to include not only grants, but also scholarships for deserving local students, support for neighboring communities, and Special Initiatives to address critical community issues in Summit such as mental health, college completion, healthcare costs, and afterschool care, among others.
The Summit Foundation began offering scholarships to deserving local students in 1991 and has since provided a total of $5 million in scholarships to 2,200 students. This support has helped to change the trajectory for many of these students through the value that a good education offers, including those attending universities, community college, and vocational education. Over 30% of the students who received scholarships were the first in their family to go to college.
The Foundation has continued its focus on education through Special Initiatives which have over time included the Pre-Collegiate program at Summit High School to encourage first generation students to attend college, the Mountain Scholars program that has successfully increased college graduation rates for these students, and the CATCH afterschool enrichment program that provided equitable afterschool enrichment programming. Other Special Initiatives of the Foundation have included working with the Casey family and other partners to establish Building Hope, the community-wide mental health initiative, as well as the Peak Health Alliance that provides affordable healthcare in rural areas.
"Our 40-year journey as 'The Soul of the Summit' has been defined by the unwavering support and generosity from our community and dedicated donors," remarked Jeanne Bistranin, Executive Director at the Summit Foundation. "Together, we've woven a legacy of impact across key pillars such as education, youth development, healthcare, mental health, basic needs, recreation, childcare, environment, and the arts."
Fundraising and support for the Summit Foundation is through donations from over 3,500 individual and business donors, iconic community events such as the Great Rubber Duck Race, and revenue from the Ski Medallion Program, a unique partnership between local ski areas.
To commemorate this momentous occasion of the 40th Anniversary, the Summit Foundation has established the Bright Futures Fund, an innovative education initiative aimed at broadening educational and career horizons for the next generation, as well as fortifying Summit County's workforce. The Bright Futures Fund will offer increased scholarships for low-income students, as well as carving out local career paths by providing support for trades education and apprenticeships through collaborations with Summit School District, local businesses, and Colorado Mountain College.
As we embark on our 40th year celebration, the Summit Foundation invites the community to join hands in shaping a brighter future for Summit County. Together, we can build a legacy of sustainable impact for generations to come.