A fountain of youth dollars

Foundation to grant $100,000 this year


— A charitable foundation plans to give funding and hands-on support to youth organizations in Routt County for years to come.

The Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, established as a nonprofit in spring 2005, has pledged to provide $100,000 this year -- and at least that much in following years -- to benefit low-income and at-risk youths throughout the county. The foundation will accept applications for its first cycle of grants next month.

"My whole background has always been in youth advocacy," said Sara Craig-Scheckman, executive director of the Youth Advocacy Project for Routt County, a project funded by the family foundation she started with her husband, financier and investor Michael Craig-Scheckman.

"Our goal is to not only grant money but also to work actively in Routt County to support youth advocacy groups and to nurture youth services agencies. They need a lot of support."

Before moving to Steamboat Springs with her family about three years ago, Sara Craig-Scheckman worked with at-risk youths in a variety of educational and institutional settings.

She and her husband, who manages portfolios and works as a Wall Street consultant from his Steamboat office, had long planned to start a foundation for children when their finances "reached a certain level." When that opportunity arose, Sara Craig-Scheckman said, she spent several months talking with local child advocates and agencies to learn the lay of the land.

"There already are a lot of great agencies here," she said Monday at her Sundance Plaza office, adding that "reinventing the wheel" is not the foundation's intent. "It's really important to me to plan as you get a feel for the needs of the community."

What: Information meeting about the Youth Advocacy Project for Routt CountyWhen: 10 a.m. to noon WednesdayWhere: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.Call: 879-0148

Grant deadlinesApplications for grants in the first funding cycle of the Youth Advocacy Project are due May 1. Beginning April 1, mail or hand-deliver to:Youth Advocacy Project Craig-Scheckman Family FoundationP.O. Box 776429Steamboat Springs, CO 80477Office:Sundance Plaza465 Anglers DriveBuilding J, Suite 2B(above GMAC Mortgage Corp.)

That research led her to Partners in Routt County, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and First Impressions of Routt County, groups that together will receive $60,000 of this year's grant funding from the foundation.

"I plan to give those agencies funding every year," Craig-Scheckman said.

The remaining $40,000 will be split between two grant cycles this year, she said, in May and November. Applications for grants will be accepted in April and October.

Information about the foundation and the Youth Advocacy Project will be presented at a public meeting Wednesday morning at Centennial Hall.

Craig-Scheckman said her family, after more than a decade in New York, has come to Steamboat to stay and wants to improve conditions for children throughout the county.

"I want to make sure people in Hayden, South Routt and North Routt know about us," she said. "It's for the whole county, not just Steamboat."

Benefits from the foundation could be felt for quite a while.

"We plan to leave this in the hands of our children," Craig-Scheckman said.


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