Foundation sets goals

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— The Yampa Valley Community Foundation has decided to focus a considerable portion of its resources on the issues of quality child care, affordable housing and accessible youth activities during 2001.

The foundation has contributed $50,000 of its own resources to launch its "Make Something Special Campaign." Taken together, the three prongs of the campaign are meant to address the overriding issue of affordability.

The campaign marks something of a change for the foundation, said President and Chief Executive Officer Dianna Sutton.

Tom Litteral, past chairman of the foundation's granting committee, said the new initiative came about only after exhaustive meetings with elements of the community.

"The board discussed exploring a lot of directions and had a lot of community meetings. We met with 40 to 50 individuals," Litteral said.

Litteral said during that process, the board members came to understand that issues of affordability translate into issues of livability throughout the Yampa Valley.

Board members also realized the single issue of affordable housing could not be separated from related issues.

The foundation granted a total of $19,000 in its fourth round of granting in 2000 toward the special initiative. Recipients included Steamboat Springs High School, Habitat for Humanity, Young Tracks and the Northwest Colorado Association for the Education of the Young Child. All four grant awards related directly to the campaign.

"Take Habitat," Litteral said. "That's a family. What does the family need?"

Among other things, Litteral suggested they need transportation and they need programs for their children in the case that both parents work.

Foundation program assistant Neera Harmon said the grant to the high school will help it replicate a successful program already in place at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

The three-day workshop for freshmen and sophomores will encourage mutual respect in the school community.

Litteral said the campaign is already beginning to gather momentum with the local philanthropic community. Just recently an individual who is new to the valley wrote a check for $10,000 to aid the campaign, he said. Harmon said the foundation's operating budget is covered by the proceeds of the "Passport Club," which is underwritten by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

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