BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts’ CEO, Rob Katz and his wife, author Elana Amsterdam, are donating more than $2.5 million to provide immediate support for Vail Resorts employees and the mountain towns where the company operates.
The donation will be distributed through the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust, which was established to support mountain communities, with an initial focus on eliminating the stigma of mental illness and increasing access to mental and behavioural healthcare.
A donation of $1.5 million in immediate emergency-relief grants will be made, benefiting more than a dozen local organizations providing critical services in Eagle, Summit and Gunnison counties in Colo.; Park City, Utah; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Whistler, B.C.; Vermont; Stevens Pass, Wash.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo.
An additional $1 million is being donated to create a new fund within Vail Resorts’ Epic Promise Employee Foundation, which helps the company’s employees respond to unpredictable setbacks, including medical events. This fund is intended to help meet the increased need for assistance due to the impacts of COVID-19.
“I cannot recall another moment in my lifetime that has caused so much disruption to our lives — to our work, to our health and to our communities,” says Katz. “Throughout this incredibly challenging time, two of our absolute priorities have been, and will continue to be, the health and well-being of our employees and mountain communities. What makes our resorts so special is where they’re located and the passionate people who live there. As we navigate this situation, it’s essential we continue to support our employees and the vitality of our communities, providing partnership when it’s needed most.”
In Whistler, Whistler Community Social Services will receive $100,000 to support the organization’s mobile food bank, mental-health services and social-service outreach efforts. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation will also receive $100,000 to support its COVID-19 relief fund, which will support non-profits across the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
“COVID-19 has greatly impacted our small mountain town,” says Lori Pyne, interim executive director, Whistler Community Services Society. “Whistler Community Services Society greatly appreciates this grant from Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust. Our funding model is social enterprise, which typically funds 75 per cent of our social services, and we’ve been forced to close these stores in compliance with the federal government and our medical experts. Contributions like this helps ensure we can keep up with demand for our essential services of the Foodbank and our Outreach Services, which we expect to soar in the coming months.”