In response to the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on mountain resort communities, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elena Amsterdam are donating $2.5 million to employees and the towns where Vail operates. The Park City Community Foundation will receive $200,000 which will provide emergency assistance to those most in need.
Park City Community Foundation Executive Director Katie Wright says the Katz Amsterdam donation is a generous response to the foundation’s requests to address the most immediate needs of individuals and families who are out of work resulting from the Summit County Stay-At-Home Order issued about 10-days ago.
“The community response fund was put in place to really make rapid response grants to trusted nonprofits to ensure that people who are most vulnerable in our community have access to resources through this really unprecedented time.”
Wright says they completed a survey of the non-profit and Latin X community and she called the information they gathered startling and severe.
“Ninety-three percent of the respondents to our survey of the Latin X community said that they've either lost their jobs or had their hours dramatically reduced so the ability to pay bills and rent and car insurance is going to be a big challenge for a lot of our community members in the upcoming months.”
About $80,000 has already been distributed through seven different grants. They’ll continue to help non-profits as needs emerge. Wright says they plan to continuously evaluate the most desperate situations and with board and staff input, will issue grants a couple times a week.
“The grants are always restricted to the nonprofits because we understand that things are changing just so rapidly. However, they’re in response to really targeted programs such as food security, emergency assistance to individuals and health care access. So, we've granted to People’s Health Clinic for supplies and increase staffing and also telehealth access for our mental health providers.”
They are primarily focused on rental assistance and helping with bills. She’s appreciative of all donations to the emergency relief fund because, like everyone, they’re uncertain how long the stay at home order will go on.
“Emergency assistance for folks who just have bills stacking up that they are not able to pay and the hope is that you can keep a family from crisis so that they do stabilize and when people go back to work they’re in an okay situation to really begin normal life again.”
They’re in touch with local leaders, taking frequent survey’s and participating in local community coalitions. Wright says the Community Response Fund has committed gifts up to $500,000. As those funds come into the foundation, they can act quickly to get the money out the door to those who need it most.
Vail CEO Rob Katz declined to be interviewed.
A link to the Park City Community Foundation can be found on KPCW.org.