Elevated Living Blog

16 Ways to Give Back to the Roaring Fork Valley

Posted on December 8, 2020 by emilee kelloff

These local non-profits, philanthropies and organizations are especially close to the hearts of the Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty team. Each one continues to make a positive, lasting impact on our communities. Despite the new regulations, health concerns and continuing logistical difficulties of 2020, our valley remained strong, united and taken care of. Whether you are a longtime local or visitor, we hope you will help us celebrate these organizations with donations and continued support this holiday season. 


Alpine Legal Services 

My wife Jeanne is the President and they provide legal assistance for anybody that needs help from Aspen to Rifle, this is a lifesaver for people who need help regarding domestic violence, eviction and lots more.” - Andrew Doremus, Broker Associate

The Aspen Animal Shelter 

“The Aspen Animal Shelter is a non-kill facility that rescues animals, finds homes for our furry friends and does a yeoman's job of caring for many dogs, cats and even other animals. As an animal whisperer, I have enjoyed being an active supporter of the Aspen Animal Shelter for close to 20 years. They make an enormous impact in saving the lives of our precious dogs, cats, and other animals.  Seth and his team are literally lifesavers!” - Bennett Bramson, Broker Associate

 Photo courtesy of Bennett Bramson

Aspen Community Foundation

“At this time when so many of us have done so well, there remains great need in our community. In fact some numbers indicate as many as 15k people from Aspen to Rifle are at risk. The Aspen Community Foundation is spearheading efforts to support those who need food, require assistance paying the rent, as well as mental health assistance, all related to the continuing impacts of COVID.” - Scott Bayens, Broker Associate

The Aspen Flight Academy 

“I am the Vice President of Aspen Flight Academy and have been on the board for 3 years. We teach Aspen High School students how to fly. The best part is we provide a flight for any students that wants to see if they are interested in flying (Every Student Fly’s). To date I think we have flown over 100 students and teachers for free.” - Andrew Doremus, Broker Associate
Photo courtesy of aspenflightacademy.org

Aspen Public Radio

"I am currently a Board Member and was Board Chair 2018-2019. Personally, I support APR because it fosters and maintains our connections throughout Roaring Fork Valley alive and healthy." - Penney Evans-Carruth, Broker Associate  

"In a time where we can't be with people in person, Aspen Public Radio would like to thank our listeners and donors for making our reporting and our community connection possible this year.  In 2020, thanks to your support, we provided critical information relating to COVID-19, the Grizzly Creek Fire, election 2020 coverage, new Spanish-language translation of stories, and support for our community." - Aspen Public Radio website


Aspen Valley Land Trust 

“My dad, John Doremus,  is a founding member of Aspen Valley Land Trust”. He started creating  small parks in town back in the 60’s. Currently they work on conservation easements to preserve ranch and open space land for generations to come. Jeanne, my wife, has been a board member for 6 years and I have helped in the background. It is truly amazing how much land they have saved, thousands of acres.” - Andrew Doremus, Broker Associate

Photo courtesy of avlt.org

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

“ I am the Chairman of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation and we raised almost $1.5 million over the last nine months to help all our health care workers with their many needs. How fortunate we all are to have such a great hospital and staff taking care of us!” - John Sarpa, Broker Associate

Photo courtesy of John Sarpa

Challenge Aspen

“I've been supported and involved with Challenge Aspen for the past 25 years. Challenge Aspen is so much more than a winter ski program for people with disabilities. During these challenging times, Challenge Aspen has organized many additional programs for people with disabilities while they are isolating at home. Through their Zoom gatherings that include bingo, theater group, art, exercise classes and a little human connection with their "Drive by Wednesdays" they’ve continued to give purpose to many individuals to wake up out of bed every day with something fun and meaningful to look forward to. The summer added socially distanced adaptive paddle boarding and biking. A big thank you to all the staff at Challenge Aspen for your creativity and passion!” - Katie Grange, Broker Associate

“We did start off the COVID close-down by driving to each local participant’s homes and waving with signs each Wednesday. We actually did our ‘drive-bys’ until this fall, often dropping off arts & craft projects, puzzles, seeds for herb gardens and a lot more. It was so wonderful to see everyone’s smiles and chat with them about the happenings at their homes and how they were managing their time. We learned so much more about people through this time – we saw and spent more quality time with each of them, than we did during the same time period in previous years. While the times are challenging, I’m finding some big rewards in slowing down and getting to know people even better!” - Deb Sullivan, REC Program Director

Photo courtesy of Katie Grange

Chris Klug Foundation

“Our mission is to inspire and educate young adults to increase registration for organ and tissue donation. Through our programs we reach tens of thousands of young people each year, equipping them with facts about organ donation so they can make educated decisions. Our vision is to eliminate the wait for transplantation.” - Foundation’s Mission 

As a liver transplant recipient and Olympic snowboarder, Chris Klug started this foundation in 2003 with his own money in hopes of spreading the word of the need for organ and tissue donation. Chris is also a Broker with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, using his sales as a way to help support the Chris Klug Foundation. 

Photo courtesy chrisklugfoundation.org

Fred Braun Huts

“I have been on the Fred Braun Hut Board for the past 18 years, 17 as its President….and in that time all the huts have been gloriously updated, and totally remodeled.  We even added a totally new 7th hut, the Opa’s Hut near Taylor Pass.  We quietly raised over $1.1 Million for all these upgrades. It takes huge planning and coordination, to build and maintain remote cabins in the high country near 11,000 feet.  Enjoying them as winter havens is the icing on the “cake” of hard work and thousands of hours of volunteer summer outings. Two years ago the huge avalanche cycles obliterated our revenue, and last year Covid blew out our typically strong March-May usage.  These are high mountain gems that need your support.  Places like these are things we take for granted….but they are typical of the diverse community-supported “amenities” that make our valley special.” - Craig Ward, Broker Associate

Charitable donations can be made  either by check to the Braun Hut System, Box 7937, Aspen, CO 81611 or make a gift of appreciated stock to the Braun Huts.  Visit their website for more information.

Photo courtesy of Craig Ward

Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley

“When I was on the APCHA board in 2019 I did many volunteer days at their site in Basalt.

Housing is such a huge topic, with high demand, at affordable pricing for the local work force.” - Valerie Forbes, Rental Coordinator

Photo courtesy of Valerie Forbes


"I am a board member of Response, which works to end domestic and sexual abuse in our valley and support victims.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated the frequency of abuse in our valley due to loss of work and victims having to remain with their abusers for financial and quarantine reasons.  I am most proud of the work this organization does in our school systems, working with teens and young adults to educate them on respect and what good relationships are." - Amy Feldman, Response

Photo courtesy of Response



Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers  

“Despite pandemic and wildfire, Valley residents and visitors alike contributed more volunteer stewardship hours in 2020 than last year! With building and maintaining our most cherished trails, (think Smuggler, Sky Mtn Park), Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers enables all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to get outdoors and play an active part in our Community!” - Tory Thomas, Broker Associate

Photo courtesy of Tory Thomas

The Rotary Club of Aspen Foundation

“I love being a member of the Rotary Club of Aspen because all of our funding goes to support other organizations, non-profits, community groups, local school scholarships, and international projects. Our annual Ducky Derby is the one community event that involves everyone from ages 1 - 100!” - Bennett Bramson, Broker Associate

Photo courtesy of Bennett Bramson

Shining Stars Foundation

 “I have personally been involved with them for a long time as a committee member for their fundraising events Wine Women & Shoes & The Day of Rosé.  I strongly believe in this organization as it provides "Hope, support, and strength to children living with pediatric cancer or another life-threatening illness and their families through outdoor, social, and recreational experiences." And they honestly do it.  The programs they offer are life-changing to the children and their families.  And even during these covid times, they have adapted to still provide support to them and their families, as well as many online programs for the children.  

Unfortunately, due to covid, all their major fundraising events have been canceled, and they are struggling.” - Giovanna Kennedy, Broker Associate

 Photo courtesy of Giovanna Kennedy


"I am a huge fan of Youthentity in Carbondale! This non-profit serves over 4,000 students throughout Western Colorado with financial literacy and job readiness programs. I love the financial literacy component as it teaches children some of the basic principles that set them on the right path to be conscious and intelligent with how they handle their money and think about the future. Youthentity's high school career exploration program, Career Academy, is very impactful, as it allows high school kids to gain hands-on experience in various professions relevant to our valley such as building and architecture, culinary & hospitality and animal & human health services. Their culinary arts program is especially interesting, as it includes hands-on learning in YE's commercial kitchen at their office, gives students opportunities to earn college scholarships, and is led by local professional chefs working hands-on with the students. (I love stopping by their office - I usually get  a taste of whatever they are making). I am trying to convince them that they need to have a real estate program too!  My connection with the organization, besides helping them with the occasional event, is my wife works there, handling their marketing and business development.  I get to see first hand how much a difference this program makes in the lives of these kids.“ - Jay Wright, Broker Associate
Photos courtesy of Youthentity





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