TELLURIDE – The Telluride region’s largest youth organization is one step closer to having a permanent home, as the Telluride Foundation announced last week that it would award the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club a Special Initiative Grant to help pay off the club’s headquarters in Telluride.
The Telluride Foundation Board of Directors approved a $75,000 Special Initiative Grant for TSSC at the Foundation’s recent biannual December board meeting. With more than 300 kids participating in TSSC’s competitive skiing and snowboarding programs throughout the year, TSSC is the largest youth organization, in both size and duration of programs, in southwestern Colorado. The additional funds, explains TSSC Executive Director Justin Chandler, will help the club better utilize its space at the base of Lift 7 (Coonskin) in Telluride.
Leveraging an additional $586,289 in additional pledges and donations raised by the club, TSSC’s Special Initiative Grant will help turn the winter season headquarters into an efficient year-round clubhouse, with adequate room to train and learn by adding a study area, training center, meeting space and locker rooms.
As Chandler explained, TSSC’s capital campaign started in 2002 when the organization purchased the space now known as its headquarters. The organization was left with a substantial mortgage, however, as well as footing the bill for an additional 880 square feet connected to the space (and a subsequent special assessment on the property). To make ends meet, the nonprofit has needed to rent out the space during the spring, summer, and parts of the fall to help pay its debt.
The newly reinvigorated fundraising campaign will ultimately enable the organization to remodel the space and use it for year-round training and club events.
“In 2002, we had 100 kids – now we have 330, and we can’t even fit all of our members” into the space at one time due to its small size, Chandler said. Currently, nearly half of the space is unusable kitchen space, which TSSC hopes to remodel into an equipment and ski storage area, leaving more space in the main room for group meetings, training, and other activities.
By paying off the debt, TSSC will also be able to grow its programs and provide year-round training opportunities for its high-level athletes. TSSC has seen unprecedented growth in its upper-echelon competitive programs, Chandler explains, with more than a quarter of its enrollees now requiring year-round training for their competitive exploits.
“Training for the elite level for some of these disciplines requires a lot of time and cross-training… if we don’t have to move out every spring, summer, and fall, the TSSC headquarters could provide that,” Chandler said.
Founded in 1990, TSSC has a long history of providing positive, healthy activities for regional youth. The club’s mission is to instill and nurture a passion for all snow sports, along with developing character, discipline and the desire among young athletes to reach their highest potential. More than just an athletic program, the club strives to be a support group for members and the youth of the region by setting up structured programs that emphasize safety, discipline, sportsmanship and mountain etiquette. TSSC provides the only extracurricular option for ski and snowboard programs with an emphasis on training and competition, filling a void in after-school and weekend youth athletic participation in Telluride.
“Thanks to the Telluride Foundation and many incredibly generous donors, we are getting close to realizing our ten year vision of creating a true year-round training facility and center of operations for youth athletic activities in Telluride,” said Chandler. “With continued fundraising over the next six months, the TSSC clubhouse will soon become a safe place for local youth and guests to train for their sport, participate in a large number of cross-training activities, meet with coaches, conduct video analysis, study, and maintain their equipment.”
TSSC received the fifteenth Special Initiative Grant since the Initiative’s inception in 2006, bringing the total awarded in Special Initiative Grants to about $1.2 million.
Special Initiative Grants, designed to allow the Foundation Board to act proactively and support larger or long-term projects, such as a capital campaign, real estate purchase, or strategic or innovative, new community initiative, are sponsored by board members of the Foundation and presented directly to the board for consideration. TSSC’s application to turn the TSSC winter season headquarters into an efficient year-round clubhouse was sponsored by Telluride Foundation Board Members Tricia Maxon, Davis Fansler and Mark Dalton.
“The Foundation Board was happy to make the Ski and Snowboard Club’s vision a reality,” said Bridgitt Evans, vice-chair of the Foundation Board. “We strongly believe in the program and how the TSSC benefits our youth and Telluride community as a whole. We are proud to support its efforts.”
This Special Initiative Grant follows three other Special Initiatives granted in July of 2012: $10,000 to Palm Arts for remodel of its new dance studio space; $20,000 to the Paradox Valley School for construction of its school remodel, including a community library and stage; $75,000 to Second Chance Humane Society, a “no-kill” animal shelter that services the Telluride region, for its new Angel Ridge Ranch animal resource center. In 2011, Telluride Academy received $75,000 for acquisition of its headquarters and another $75,000 was designated to help build the Gold Run Early Education/Childcare Facility.
Additional past Special Initiative Grants include funding to enhance the Telluride and Norwood School Districts’ drug and alcohol education programs; purchase a permanent office space for the San Miguel Resource Center; enable the Trust for Public Land’s acquisition of a conservation easement to re-open public access to Mt. Wilson; complete an Alternative Futures Study of the region, providing projected economic, ecological and community trends; complete the building remodel for the Ah Haa School for the Arts; construct Mountain Munchkins Preschool; remodel the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program’s ski-in, ski-out headquarters; and remodel the Telluride Medical Center’s emergency room facilities.
Special Initiative Grants must be sponsored by three Foundation Board Members and are considered at the Foundation biannual board meetings. For information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org. For information about how to participate in TSSC’s capital campaign, call Chandler at 728-6163.