Grant Success Stories

Grant Recipient Success Stories 2022

Aspen Choral Society 

The City of Aspen Grant Funds were used to put on our Annual Spring Concert (Musica Universalis) and December production of “Messiah." 

With the help of your grant, our organization performed 2,250 hours of community engagement and received wonderful recognition with a Mayoral Proclamation from Mayor Torre for Virgil Simon and Aspen Choral Society Day on December 9th. We also were featured in two newspaper articles and radio interviews. The City of Aspen logo was proudly displayed on both of our concert programs this year. After each concert, Paul Dankers, our conductor, stands at the door and shakes hands with the concertgoers. Some of the feedback he heard this year from our guests: 

  • “I drove up from Denver to hear the three new commissioned pieces by Gerald Cohen and they brought me to tears.” “I loved watching your animated Concert Master, MinTze Wu.” “Does the Soprano Soloist, Heidi Paul, really live in this valley - she is so professional!” “I can’t get into the Christmas Season until I attend ACS’s performance of ‘Messiah.’" And from the choir: “After the death of my mother, singing this music helped me manage my emotions and gave me an outlet during this difficult time.” Musica Universalis was the most emotional experience Paul has ever experienced on stage – “I burst into tears and could not control my sobs, and as a professional musician, that has never happened to me before.”

Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club 

Your grant to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club affords children without financial means the opportunity to ignite their love of skiing and snowboarding. Your gift gives local kids access to instruction, equipment, and transportation. 

We are excited to share some letters from the kids that your donation directly impacts:

  • “I like hanging out with funny kids. The group makes me feel like a part of the team” Atlin, 10 years old
  • “Thank you for letting me ski the year. I finally had the courage to try a 360 on skis. Now I am doing them all the time.”       ~ Vlad, 14 years old


This grant was approximately 1% of our annual operating budget, yet every contribution is crucial to our success. It is very important to our state and federal funders to see that every municipality within our service area provides Response with financial support. Because of this financial support, in 2022 Response was able to serve 171 survivors in our community and answer almost 300 calls to our 24-hour crisis helpline. We provided 44 school presentations in middle and high schools from Carbondale to Aspen, reaching 1,300 students with healthy relationships and violence prevention programming.

We have received many glowing testimonials from survivors who were able to leave their abusive partners because of the support provided by Response and our advocates: 

  •  "There are no words to describe how helpful this support has been. Response made this harrowing experience humane and safe. It was still very hard but I felt like I had so much wonderful support which helped me get through it. I wasn't alone and I had support and validation in my new reality which meant more than anything else in the world. I was literally starved to be seen and heard. What a gift! The Response staff is so compassionate, supportive, intelligent and enjoyable. The effect of the safehouse was also amazing and surprising. It was not just a temporary place to be. It gave me a new space and perspective mentally and emotionally which lead me to a new life plan that I did not even anticipate. My heart goes out to all of you and all the good work you do." – Anonymous
  • "Thank you for checking in. My son made a couple concerned comments about being homeless on the way home, and his tone changed the moment he saw his room - he cried. He knows he's safely got stability every day, and that we have a year lease right after this. I cannot express what you've done for our family!! Thank you!" -Anonymous

Anderson Ranch Arts Center 

Climate Change Photography Workshop, 2022: The City of Aspen grant helped engage nine middle school students in approximately 70 collective hours of learning:

  • With the City of Aspen’s generous support, Anderson Ranch Arts Center partnered with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and Aspen Middle School to discuss and explore issues of climate change with nine, fifth through seventh graders. During three after-school workshops, Anderson Ranch and ACES faculty and Aspen Middle School teachers and students traversed, documented and interpreted the surrounding natural environment to acknowledge and consider their relationship with the land, and created large-scale photographic collages through both physical and digital photo manipulation using images from their group hike and themes from their discussions.

The Buddy Program 

The grant’s purpose is to support the general operation of the four youth mentoring programs the Buddy Program (TBP) offers in Aspen: Community-based, School-based, Peer-to-Peer, and LEAD (Leadership through Exploration, Action and Discovery). 

In 2022, The Buddy Program served 156 youth in Aspen in the four programs:                                                                 

  • Unduplicated youth in Community-based Program, 4 unduplicated youth in School-based Program, 60 unduplicated youth in Peer-to-Peer Program, 32 unduplicated youth in LEAD (includes school-year Outdoor Leadership club at Aspen Middle School, 2 summer camps, and Monthly Activities)

We’d like to share feedback from two participants in Aspen in 2022:

  • "I'd like to thank the Buddy Program for everything that they do for me. They have given me a wonderful Big Buddy, named Gus, and provided me with some incredible opportunities like this camp where I can really be myself and meet such nice people like all of you. Without the Buddy Program, I would really be struggling. I mean sure, there would probably be some other program that would exist, some "Knockoff Buddy Program" (he actually did air quotes here!) but it wouldn't be the same as the original Buddy Program like this. I like the OG Buddy Program, it's my favorite". ~ Stephen, participant in LEAD and Community-based Program in Aspen
  • “...I first want to say thank you to you and the Buddy Program for having such an amazing impact on the kids in our valley and most especially for my son. The June highschoolers trip to Moab was the thing he looked forward to the most every year (and was heartbroken to miss the last one before he graduated due to covid). During his time in the Aspen school district, he often felt like he didn’t belong and experienced instances of bullying but the kids he connected with in the summer and then at the reunion in the fall in Carbondale through the Buddy Program made him feel welcome and included. He is now in his second year at CMC – Spring Valley, living on campus and studying professional photography. He is thriving and making great friends (he’s even president of the Resident Hall Association and will probably be an RA next year!) and loving his classes and we couldn’t be happier or prouder.” ~ Sasha, parent of former participant in LEAD, Peer-to-Peer and Community-based Programs