Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz Donates $1.5-Million to Children’s Charities Surrounding Vail Locations

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vail resorts, Rob Katz
CEO of Vail Resorts Rob Katz. Photo by Matt Nager

Vail Resorts CEO, Rob Katz, and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling author and founder of Elana’s Pantry, today shared the grant recipients of their previously announced $1.5 million donation to support youth organizations in cities surrounding Vail Resorts’ locations. Each of the 14 nonprofits receiving grants work to strengthen communities and support youth of color in urban centers across North America, including Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis, among others.

The donation is part of a five-year, $10 million commitment from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust and Vail Resorts to expand its youth access program and broaden engagement in skiing and riding. However, due to the challenges presented by COVID-19, this year’s grants will fund the top priorities determined by each organization for the kids they serve.

“We’re honored to be partnering with these organizations now and look forward to our future efforts to enhance access to winter sports for underserved kids. As youth of color and their families have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, it’s essential that the nonprofits receiving grants this year are able to determine the best use for their community. All of these organizations have had to pivot their services due to COVID-19, and, additionally, many are helping the youth they serve find their voice to be part of the national dialogue on systemic racism.”

– Rob Katz

In Dec. 2019, Vail Resorts announced a significant initiative to expand its youth access program to all 34 of its North American resorts, including over a dozen that serve major metropolitan areas. Currently, Vail Resorts hosts nearly 4,500 underserved kids across many of its resorts each year and hopes to double that number when the new programs launch. The company provides free lift tickets, ski school, and equipment rentals while funds from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust will help develop and expand programs and fund transportation. Nonprofit partners will combine those services with youth mentorship for enriching, on-mountain programs.

“We were faced with many challenges prior to the pandemic that have only intensified since the COVID crisis began. Having the ability to adjust programming and resources for youth and families is even more critical now. This grant significantly enhances our impact on Baltimore’s youth by deepening our program services focused on social and emotional wellness, social justice, racial equity and aiding their transition to virtual schooling. We thank Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust for their commitment to strengthen communities such as Baltimore.”

– Latisha Franklin, vice president of youth development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore

The youth organizations receiving this year’s grants from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust include:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (Boston) – $200,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio (Cleveland) – $200,000
  • Good Shepherd Services (New York) – $200,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Baltimore (Baltimore) – $175,000
  • Chicago Youth Centers (Chicago) – $150,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) – $150,000
  • Ski and Snowboard Outreach Society (SOS Outreach) – $85,000
  • Girls. Inc. (Chicago) – $75,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City) – $50,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver (Denver) – $50,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake Tahoe (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) – $50,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of North Lake Tahoe (North Lake Tahoe, Calif.) – $50,000
  • Zero Ceiling (British Columbia) – $15,000 (USD)

Additionally, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, British Columbia, will receive $50,000 (USD) from the Trust to help launch the Centre’s new Cultural Sensitivity and Indigenous Leadership Program Development initiative. This program aims to develop a culturally-rooted approach to Indigenous leadership, focused on elevating Indigenous people in the regional workforce and within their communities as leaders. It also includes cultural sensitivity training for local businesses to increase understanding of historical impacts that Indigenous people have suffered.

Today’s grant announcement from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust is part of a larger announcement from June 2019, which also included grants for COVID-19 relief and social justice.

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