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Our Mountain Towns are made up of incredible groups of people and organizations that keep them ticking!


A Passion for Cambodia – The Doug Mendel Cambodian Relief Fund


Philanthropist, I always thought that was such a snooty word. When ever I heard it, it reminded me of elitist, wealthy, polo club types looking for a tax write off. I have come to learn that our Colorado Mountain Towns are filled with philanthropists who are usually in Tevas sans the Polo, except maybe one of Ralph Lauren’s shirts, and are far from elitist or wealthy (well maybe some). Incredible, compassionate people who actively assist our environment and fellow human being populate our mountain towns. In Summit County a former volunteer firefighter with Lake Dillon Fire and Rescue is one of them. Doug Mendel a local resident took the passion of his career to benefit the citizens of Cambodia.

In 1997 Doug visited Cambodia and fell in love with the people, culture, crafts, food and even the weather! He was hooked and continued to journey back. In June of 2001, his 3rd trip to Cambodia, Doug had the opportunity to visit a fire station in Sihanoukville. He was amazed to find out that the country only had 30 fire trucks and the majority of the crews fought fires with Sandals and shorts. On his return Doug had the idea he could help, and contacted the Cambodian station for a wish list of items the small station would like.

Doug Mendel discovered his calling. In February of 2003, he procured three boxes of station-wear clothing for Sihanoukville fire personnel. Colorado’s Lake Dillon Fire and Rescue donated. Since that time, with incredible patience, media exposure and ongoing generous donations to assist the Cambodian EMS community Doug has made eleven trips helping fire stations in Sihanoukville, Kampot, Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Ban Lung, Ratanakiri Province.

Since that time he has procured Fire Science Books, Training and EMS Education, Bunker Gear, Pants, Suspenders, Helmets, Gloves, Boots, Nomex Hoods, Safety Glasses, Radios, Fire Extinguishers as well as Medical Supplies and a wealth of items for the area children. The largest of the donated gifts were two fire trucks, one to Sihanoukville in April of 2006 and one to Ratanakiri Province in August of 2007.

Doug’s journey continues and he is once again raising funds to procure another Fire Engine. This time a Ladder Truck, which would only be the second ladder truck in Cambodia! This ’77 American La France ’50 Ladder truck will assist Cambodians in protecting life and property.


According to Wikipedia Philanthropist/Philanthropy etymologically means “the love of humanity”, in the sense of “what it is to be human”, the essence of our humanity. In modern practical terms, it is “private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life”—balancing the social-scientific aspect emphasized in the twentieth century, with the long-traditional and original humanistic core of the word’s ancient coinage.

Put simply, philanthropy is the pursuit of excellence in every facet of human life, for every human life, by imagining and implementing new systems, to bring that philosophy to fruition.

An important distinction should be made, that while being admirable, charity is not the same as philanthropy. Simply argued by the concept that an implemented philanthropic idea may make its owner rich, if he or she so wishes. Compare this to the singular act of giving money away, associated with charity, the two concepts almost oppose each other. “A philanthropist knows the act of philanthropy before knowing the definition of the word”. (Paul Gignac Philanthropist.)

With that said Doug Mendel (pictured above) is a true Philanthropist. In October of 2005, the Douglas Mendel Cambodian Relief Fund received its’ 501 (c) (3) non profit status in order to raise money to help with projects for the Cambodian people. Doug is now once again raising funds as $10,000.00 is needed to buy this beautiful vehicle. Please donate if you can, share with friends and family and be apart of something grand for the people of Cambodia! Check out the following links to learn more:


Streets of Afghanistan –

Mountain2Mountain Premiere

Tomorrow evening at the Denver Art Museum the premiere of this nationally touring cultural exhibit Streets of Afghanistan will immerses visitors in an area of the world most will never see. The lifesize multimedia exhibition re-creates the city streets of Kabul, the roads of rural Afghanistan, and the people that live there.

Created by the nonprofit Mountain2Mountain, Streets of Afghanistan is a collaborative effort of Western and Afghan photographers and artists. This living art exhibition combines large scale photography, video projection, music, kites, street art, and humans themselves to create a wholly unique and innovative approach to our ethos of storytelling.  Connecting communities and cultures in an effort to combat apathy and break stereotypes in a region of the world enduring nearly four decades of conflict.

Photographers: Miriam Alimi, Travis Beard, Paula Bronstein, Ann Curry, Gulbiddin, Wakil Kohsar, Paula Lerner, Najibullah Musafer,  Farzana Wahidy,  Beth Wald, Tony Di Zinno
April 28, 2011 at the Denver Art Museum
May 13, 2011 Torpedo Factory, Washington DC
June 2, 2011 Dallas Contemporary Museum of Art
Special viewing at Telluride Mountainfilm May 27-31

ABOUT Mountain2Mountain

Mountain2Mountain was founded in November 2006 by Shannon Galpin. Inspired by becoming a mother, Shannon took action on her deep conviction that all women and girls deserve the same rights and opportunities as her own daughter. She walked away from her career as an athletic trainer and used her own limited funds to launch M2M and “be the change” she wished to see in the world. Shannon recruited volunteers and donors and developed collaborative partnerships with others working across the globe to advance education and opportunity for women and girls. At the same time, she made a number of trips to Afghanistan.

Today, M2M is a burgeoning nonprofit that has touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children in Afghanistan. M2M has launched projects across the war-torn country to create opportunities that were unimaginable ten years ago. In 2009, Shannon became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan. She will repeat her groundbreaking ride this fall.

Mountain2Mountain believes education is an entry point for community growth and change. M2M works to implement cyclical programs that include training, job creation and microfinance. We start where many organizations finish, with education and vocational training. We believe education and vocational training are empowering only if there is sustainable economic output. We believe the job isn’t done unless there is a market for the midwives we train or the teachers we teach or the agricultural co-ops we help create. We believe change and empowerment come from the inside. M2M works alongside local communities to help develop the tools they need to help themselves.

Create opportunities for a woman through education and training, follow through with job creation and microfinance, and gender equity rises from within. Women who contribute to their communities and families as teachers, skilled birth attendants and business owners gain lasting respect, altering the female role in a dramatic and culturally sustainable way.

Mountain2Mountain doesn’t just build brick and mortar structures without supporting their long-term viability. We don’t train women and girls only to leave them where they started with a few new skills. We seek sustainable progress on human rights, gender equity and the economic vitality of communities on the fringe.



Social Consciousness in Aspen

Post and Photos Provided By: AspenSpin

Team Rubicon in Action. Disaster Relief Aspen is a small town at the end of the road.

We the people who live here have a passionate social conscious  and  feel the responsibility to give back to those less fortunate than us, especially in times of crisis. The Boyz at ESCOBAR ASPEN are “up to good”…partying with a purpose.  On Sunday March 27, 2011 Escobar is holding a fundraiser for TEAM RUBICON, an International a disaster relief organization.  See the invite below.

Maybe you’ve heard?? Our planet is under siege.  Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunami and other natural disasters are becoming more and more prevalent.  TEAM RUBICON  (TR) is a team of dedicated volunteers who provide “immediate, efficient emergency medical response to 3rd World disaster zones”.

Jesse Levin, one of the entrepreneurs behind Escobar Aspen has had first person experience with Team Rubicon.  Levin spent 6 months volunteering in earthquake torn Haiti.   During his time in Port Au Prince, Levin became aware of the work that TR was doing, he became an instant supporter.  Jesse and his partners at Escobar are asking the people of Aspen to give back.  Come out to ESCOBAR ASPEN this Sunday Night, 3/27/11 to party with a purpose.  The stated goal of this event is to raise $4000 for Team Rubicon.

Per their website :


We are a new way of thinking in disaster response. We bridge the gap between catastrophe and large-scale response, uniting military veterans with medical professionals.  We utilize flat command structures, social networking technology, and simple decision-making processes. We don’t wait for ideal situations to develop, we make dysfunctional situations ideal.

We are volunteers not satisfied with standing on the sidelines.  We believe that inaction is not an option; that our skills are needed, and that Team Rubicon is a model for delivering them.  We are 21st century “Medical Minutemen.”

We are capable of doing MORE with LESS.  We are self-sustaining, self-reliant and self-deploying.  We bring only what we need, deploying rapidly to where we are needed.  We arrive on-site, identify problems, create solutions and GET THE JOB DONE.

We are doctors, firefighters, medics, nurses, physician assistants and military veterans.

We are Team Rubicon.

So finish the weekend strong , come to Escobar on Sunday March 27, 2011 at 8pm.  Win some serious raffle prizes from TAD and Rite in the Rain, and help Team Rubicon BRIDGE THE GAP.  Thank you.

Stay in touch with Aspen through! Thanks for the GREAT Post!


The Summit Foundation and The Anschutz Foundation Fund Basic Needs in Mountain Towns


The Summit Foundation and The Anschutz Foundation Fund Basic Needs

Through a grant from The Anschutz Foundation, The Summit Foundation has awarded $100,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations in Summit, west Grand, Lake and Park Counties to provide food, rental and shelter assistance; utility/energy assistance; health care; counseling; and emergency basic need services.  The intent of the grant from The Anschutz Foundation and the subsequent nonprofit awards is to assist individuals, children and families with basic needs as they encounter difficult financial situations.

“The effect of a down economy in the mountain region has caused and will continue to cause financial difficulties for many in our communities,” noted Lee Zimmerman, Executive Director of The Summit Foundation.  In Summit County, these financial distributions will assist all of the county food banks, social service providers, health care programs and counseling programs.

Organizations receiving funding are Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), Summit Community Care Clinic, Advocates for Victims of Assault, Mountain Family Center (Kremmling), Grand County Rural Health Network, Lake County Advocates, and Park County Senior Coalition.

Through the award to the Family and Intercultural Resource Center includes assistance provided through FIRC, Dillon Community Church, Summit County Social Services, the Church of Christ (Frisco), Father Dyer Church Food Bank and Lord of the Mountains Church.  The award to the Park County Senior Coalition includes assistance provided through the Salvation Army of Park County and south Park County food banks and Rocky Mountain Rural Health.

In 2010, The Summit Foundation distributed more than $1,181,000 in grants to 80 nonprofit organizations and nearly $142,000 in scholarships to 64 high school graduates in Summit County and neighboring communities.  The Summit Foundation made a special initiative grant in partnership with Summit School District, Colorado Mountain College and the University of Colorado- Boulder, Vail Resorts Echo and a donor advised fund to continue the pre-collegiate program that encourages first generation students to stay in school and pursue post-secondary education.  These awards and others have raised the distributions by The Summit Foundation to more than $13.1 million over the past 26 years.  The generous contribution of transferable ski privileges from Vail Resorts, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Copper Mountain Resort and the funds raised from these medallions has provided significant contributions toward these grant and scholarship distributions in our community.

The Summit Foundation is currently accepting grant requests from nonprofit organizations in Summit, Grand, Lake and Park Counties.  The Spring 2011 grant application is available on The Summit Foundation website and the application submission deadline is Friday, April 8, 2011.

For more information contact:  Lee Zimmerman, The Summit Foundation (970) 453-5970