About Us

Aspen Community Foundation builds philanthropy and supports nonprofit organizations by connecting donors to community needs, building permanent charitable funds and bringing people together to solve community problems.

About Us

Since 1980, Aspen Community Foundation has advanced the quality of life in our region by focusing its resources on solutions and programs that help children and families thrive. We work with hundreds of donors to provide millions of dollars in funding to nonprofit organizations in the Aspen to Parachute region whose purpose revolves around children and families too. ACF is very proud of the fact that our leadership has resulted in more children having a preschool experience and being kindergarten ready, along with more high school students receiving career training or entering college upon graduation. Beyond our focus on children and families, we are always here for the community. Thanks to the continued support of donors, we have capacity to meet immediate needs of the community through housing, food, and mental health support.

ACF's History

The Aspen Foundation was created by the Aspen Skiing Company in 1980 to generate charitable contributions in the Aspen community. The earliest fundraising occurred through the sale of special ski passes, which brought in $32,475 in 1980. The Aspen Foundation, as it was then called, steadily built its organization and its Board, issuing its first grants to the community in 1982, when they received their official nonprofit status. Events were crafted to raise the profile of the organization, such as Winternational and Le Grande Affaire, a black-tie fundraiser which raised $250,000 annually.

By 1986, the Aspen Foundation reported annual revenues in excess of $1,000,000, and affirmed its mission as “providing philanthropic leadership to meet immediate and long-term human needs in Aspen, Snowmass and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.” The local press declared “Foundation Aims to Better Quality of Life in the Aspen Region.”

Much of what grounds the current Aspen Community Foundation and guides it are the achievements and philosophies from these early founding years.

In 1990, the year of its tenth anniversary, Aspen Community Foundation had distributed more than $6 million to nonprofits in the greater Roaring Fork Valley. Areas of giving had grown beyond the first recipients—the arts and sporting events—into the areas of education, health and human services.

During the 1990's, the Board of the Aspen Community Foundation realized that to truly fulfill its mission, it would address the needs of working families throughout the Roaring Fork Valley who provided critical services to Aspen and were an important part of the larger community. By 1998, over $1,000,000 was distributed through grantmaking and donor-advised funds, effecting real change in the lives of the region’s families and individuals in need.

In 2000, the Aspen Community Foundation sought to ensure its sustainability and longevity far into the future by endowing its operations. A special ski pass program—the Silver Medallion Pass—was issued by the Aspen Skiing Company to raise $5 million for the Foundation’s endowment over a four-year period. This effort was very successful in securing an endowment that is now $14 million.

Through individual donations and donor-advised funds, a culture of philanthropy and caring has been forged, reflecting the generosity and humanity of the Aspen Community.

As ACF neared its 30th Anniversary in 2010, it began strategizing ways to engage the community on issues that are important to the region. With a 30-year history of funding organizations and projects focused on children, families and the underserved, a concept began to take shape that would expand and create a system of linked opportunities for early education, afterschool programs and academic mentoring that would support children at every stage from cradle to career.

The Cradle to Career Initiative soon followed in 2012. Its progress and milestones can be seen and learned about throughout these web pages.