by Rohn Robbins
The Vail Valley Charitable Fund will be 20 years old this September. In those 20 years, we have given grants in excess of $8 million and have aided more than 1,800 families in our community. We have helped your friends and neighbors, your loved ones, people you likely know and care about.
The hardships, however, never end and the needs are often more than we can fully address. While we can help, too often, we cannot fix the suffering that has knocked so desperately at our door.
What the Vail Valley Charitable Fund does is assist those in our community who have fallen on challenging financial times owing to an unexpected medical crisis. Just like illness itself, the Charitable Fund does not discriminate for or against any particular condition; if it is serious — heart disease, cancer, accident, or a myriad of other ills — for the last 20 years, we have been here to help. A little girl who needed a new heart. A family man who would die without a kidney transplant. Too many kinds of cancer and maladies to remember.
Sometimes, the money we grant goes directly to doctor’s bills. Sometimes, it goes to keep the lights on or to pay the rent, or for child care when a family member cannot work, owing either to his illness or in caring for a sick or injured loved one. Once, it went to fulfill a toddler’s wish to see the ocean before she died.
Most of our funding is small, with donations under $100 outnumbering those that are higher. And for each donation, we are grateful. To be sure, we have had our angels who have given larger sums but these are few and far between. To quote one of my favorites, Dr. Seuss, “Oh the places (we’d) go” with a larger nest egg.
We are the folks behind the Vail Undressed calendars, the Summer Solstice Trail Run, the BecTri, the LG Tri, the Oktoberfest Shuffle and a dozen more events throughout the year. We have been the beneficiary of the largesse of others from the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines, to the Reds Whites & Brews, to Vail Valley Cares, to the United Way, the Vail Daily and too many more to name, each of whom we count as blessings.
We do more than simply help financially — though that alone is often a life-saver.
What else we do is rally the community and offer love and hope. From the hundreds who showed up in support of Cindy Nash, to the hundreds more who strained the capacity of the Kaltenburg Castle in our Relief for Eef, to the crowds that gathered in support of Andrew Claymon, to the nearly 1,000 who lined up to care for Kailyn Forsberg, the love, tears and generosity have poured forth for them and for the dozens and dozens more for whom we have helped raise funds and spirits.
Where we started 20 years ago was with a young family with a dire need. The mother of a two-year-old was battling advanced-stage cancer. That little girl is now a bright, gracious and accomplished young woman who we like to think we helped get through the hardest time with the outpouring of support that met her family in their time of need.
What is next, with your continued support, is the next 20 years, in which we hope to expand the giving we can offer and the building up of our community we, in joining hands with all of you, will hopefully accomplish.
Together, we can dream great dreams. Please join us in our 20th year celebration.
And oh, the places we’ll go.