“Together, we’re better.” This statement that perfectly captures the diverse interconnected relationships that define our valley is a mantra repeated by Mountain Rec and a tenet of operational philosophy.
“Mountain Rec’s Board recognizes the value of recreational programs, services, and facilities to instill strong and positive character in young boys and girls. Teaching important life lessons such as how to work hard, persevere, be a team player, set goals, and follow rules, reducing social isolation, creating connections, and staying healthy for a lifetime are the foundations of recreation agencies,” says Janet Bartnik, Executive Director of Mountain Recreation. Yet, the District’s Board understands that this goal cannot be achieved by going at it alone.
In 2019, Mountain Recreation implemented the new Community Partnership Grant Program to afford assistance to qualified organizations striving toward outcomes like those of the District. In its first partial year in existence, the grant program received five applications from qualified non-profits, awarding over $16,000 in in-kind support and monetary contributions split among the organizations identified as having a mission in alignment with the District’s goals.
Returning to request a third year of support for the Arts, the Vail Valley Arts League was awarded up to $2,000 in art supplies and staff support for the Youth Art Discovery activity held alongside Art on the Rockies in July. Kelsey Siggins, activity director, notes that the activity originally started as a day camp in 2015, adding, “We want to bring access to the fine arts and to high-end art materials not typically available in schools. Different techniques are taught with year over year progression in mind. Toddlers may start with bubble art, and then are challenged with a more technical art form as they grow older.”
Ernest Saeger, Director of the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, shared his excitement for the $7,500 award to VVMTA. “We believe that our mission statements align seamlessly, with both striving towards world-class recreational opportunities to improve our community’s quality of life. This support of the Eagle County Trail fund will allow us to continue to maintain, build, and advocate for soft surface trails in Eagle County. Specifically, the grant will be used to provide resources for the Adopt A Trail program and for the construction of the Minturn Bike Park.”
Awards granted to organizations with the most directly aligned missions are awards to The Cycle Effect and La Liga Women’s Soccer League.
The Cycle Effect’s (TCE) Girls Mountain Bike Program is offered during out of school time to low-income, at-risk girls in 5th-12th grades. The Cycle Effect’s main goal is to create a pathway for underserved girls in our local community to graduate from high school and move on to a career or college education. The organization was awarded in-kind support in the form of complimentary use of field house facilities in off-peak times and financial support for these important programs.
La Liga Women’s Soccer League representatives, whose program offers social connections and emotional support to women through a recreational sport experience operates in similar fashion to Mountain Rec’s own Mountain Women’s Hockey League. The adult soccer program was awarded in-kind field use through a reduction in rental fees.
The Eagle Valley Child Care Association requested use of the Edwards Field House to operate a joint holiday fundraising event in December. The Santa’s Workshop (Sunday, Dec 8 in Edwards) event has outgrown its space in the Miller Ranch Community Center and is the sole fundraiser for the childcare service located in Miller Ranch. Mountain Rec has typically offered a free open house event for Christmas, but this year will partner with the EVCCA at the Edwards Field House. Admissions associated with the event will benefit EVCCA.
The Community Partnership Grant Program is funded directly by the District. In the 2019 fiscal year, a total of $20,000 was budgeted for the grant program.
In order to qualify for a Community Partnership Grant, organizations must meet specific eligibility criteria including offering programs that are recreational in nature, open to community members equally, serve Eagle County residents, and be designated as a public charity in good standing. Awards are offered based on need, alignment with Mountain Rec’s mission, vision, and strategic plan, access, demonstrated outcomes, and experience in the field of service with a proven track record of community benefit in Eagle County.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a quarterly review at board meetings in January, April, July, and October.
For more information, please visit our Community Partnership Grant Program information page.