The Foundation’s Special Initiatives create a laser focus on a particular need in the community and bring key stakeholders together to address the issue.
These community-wide initiatives make a strong impact, addressing a variety of needs including mental health, education, healthcare costs, and housing.
The Mountain Scholars initiative aims to empower aspiring first generation, low-income, and academically motivated students in completing a four-year college degree or postsecondary certificate by providing financial and academic support throughout college along with extensive one-on-one mentoring, college navigation and other support services such as career planning and academic tutoring.
After the sudden loss of the primary elementary afterschool care program on the north side of the county in the Spring of 2022, working families were scrambling. The County gathered community leaders to address the issue and looked to the Summit Foundation for support and leadership. The collaboration immediately went to work, recognizing a need for consistent and affordable afterschool and summer care. Project Thrive was born and is poised to coordinate and elevate academic and enrichment opportunities for elementary-age children and their families.
When long-time Summit County resident Patti Casey took her own life in 2016, the community was in shock. She was a loving and devoted mother, and the family wanted to find a way to honor her. Almost immediately, the Casey family looked to The Summit Foundation for assistance in channeling their grief to help other people struggling with mental health and addiction in our community. The massive effort was led by nonprofit consultant Gini Bradley, with over 60 community leaders and partners coming together to address the need for coordinated and effective mental health services. The collaboration quickly led to the creation of Building Hope, the community-wide mental health initiative in Summit County. Now in its seventh year, Building Hope is a thriving nonprofit making a significant impact in helping our community members through Stigma Reduction and Public Education, Access to Care, and Service Integration. For more information on Building Hope visit their website.
In 2019, Summit County health care costs were among the highest in the nation, yet we had one of the healthiest populations. It didn’t make sense.
These high costs were a significant financial burden to individuals and businesses in Summit County, and The Summit Foundation decided to tackle this critical community issue. The Foundation commissioned an actuarial study to analyze local health care costs and charges to consumers. The shocking data led to the formation of the Peak Health Alliance, a unique healthcare collaborative aimed to reduce health care costs.
Peak Health Alliance has now saved consumers over $8 million in healthcare costs and the program has been replicated in seven other rural Colorado counties. Recently Bright Health insurance withdrew its services in Colorado, and Peak is currently seeking another health insurance partner to continue this critical work.