Locally-focused Work: Eagle County
Eagle County is one of four communities that the Foundation is working with as part of our locally-focused work, which complements our traditional grantmaking. A local focus on specific communities allows us to build relationships, learn and support long-term efforts that emphasize community-informed, collaborative solutions to health barriers. Why? Because when ideas are generated at a local level, they are more likely to reflect the community’s needs and create lasting change.
So what does our work look like in Eagle County?
Eagle County has its own unique assets and barriers when it comes to health. For us, working locally in this way starts with listening and learning more about what that really means. The program officer working in this community, is central to this effort. She spends time getting to know the community, looks for opportunities to build the capacity of local institutions, works to improve policies and systems, expands local leadership and helps stimulate broad civic engagement.
They are charged with partnering with the community to harness this energy so that Eagle County is a place where everyone who calls it home has health in reach. Her work takes shape through conversations, networking and meetings with a range of community members.
Over the past year, the Foundation has partnered with institutions like the Center for Creative Leadership, which works with individuals to customize and develop their unique leadership style, and KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all kids have a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive. Through these partnerships, local leaders are building their skills for greater impact, and the community is creating new spaces for children to safely play.
During a recent series of events, we had the chance to hear directly from community members in Eagle County. We gathered information and feedback throughout the set of events that position us to work collaboratively while strategizing towards a healthier community countywide.
Activities and Recent News in Eagle County
KaBOOM! Playground Builds
On Saturday, June 30, community members, partners and the Foundation came together to build a new, kid-designed playground at Dotsero Mobile Home Park in Gypsum, Colorado.
On Saturday, Aug. 18, community members, partners and the Foundation completed a second KaBOOM! playground in El Jebel!
Thanks to all who helped build safe and welcoming spaces for kids to play.
Vail Daily | Nov. 24 | Rising suicide rates in Eagle County reason for concern (letter)
According to the Nov. 19 Vail Daily story, "Eagle County struggles with record number of suicide deaths in 2018," Public Health Director Chris Lindley reports a record number of Eagle County suicides to date for 2018. Lindley also says: "Local efforts will make the difference in Colorado's overall mental health abyss … these are our communities and we must take care of our communities." And so while the healing process of soul, mind and body must necessarily be left to appropriately-trained professionals; nonetheless, cause and effect cannot be overlooked; and "mere" funding for healing shall not reveal the underlying cause of such dangerously poor health. Read more.
The Aspen Times | Nov. 18 | Eagle County leads statewide mental health funding trend
When Eagle County voters approved a 2017 ballot measure instituting sales and excise taxes on marijuana products with the proceeds dedicated to mental health services, they may have started a movement in Colorado. This fall, 10 counties across the state passed measures to improve mental health services in their communities. Read more.