Vail Resorts CEO and wife donate to Whistler and Sea to Sky community services' societies 

Grants are part of more than US$2M couple has given to emotional wellness programs in mountain resorts

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRANDON BARRETT - GIVING BACK The Whistler Community Services Society is the recipient of a $100,000 grant donated by Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam. Pictured is WCSS director Jackie Dickinson.
  • Photo by Brandon Barrett
  • GIVING BACK The Whistler Community Services Society is the recipient of a $100,000 grant donated by Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam. Pictured is WCSS director Jackie Dickinson.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam have donated tens of thousands of dollars to two Sea to Sky charities dedicated to the well-being of the communities they serve.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, Vail Resorts announced its top executive and his wife have donated more than US$2 million in grants to emotional wellness programs in “nearly every mountain resort community in which Vail Resorts operates,” according to a release. That includes $100,000 to the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) and $75,000 to the Sea to Sky Community Services Society (SSCSS).

“It is our hope that these grants will help improve access to much-needed services around mental health and substance abuse and reduce the stigma and misunderstanding around these issues to encourage more people to get the help they need,” said Katz in the release. “It is our privilege to be able to support so many outstanding organizations and meaningful programs already in place across our local communities in Colorado, Utah, Tahoe, British Columbia, Vermont and New Hampshire.”

The contribution was part of 30 grants issued by the Katz Amerstam Charitable Trust to organizations in Colorado, Utah, California, New Hampshire, Vermont, as well as the Sea to Sky.

Locally, the grant to WCSS will go towards expanding outreach and behavioural services, as well as a “stigma reduction” campaign.

“On behalf of Whistler Community Services Society, I would like to thank Rob and Elana for their generous grant towards the Outreach Program at WCSS,” said Jackie Dickinson, executive director of the WCSS, in a statement. “This grant will make it possible to increase the much needed services offered by our Outreach team including free, confidential support to community members who are experiencing mental-health issues, substance use, food security, homelessness and financial restriction. WCSS will now be able to meet more community members ‘where they are at’ to provide needed services. This is a great boost to our program.”

The $75,000 going to the SSCSS will support its post-partum support groups and men’s counselling assistance program.

Katz and Amsterdam have donated nearly $100 million dollars in recent years to the family’s charitable trust and foundation. In October, Beth Ganz was named as the foundation’s executive director to help facilitate community engagement, sponsor research and collaboration, and to work with non-profit partners to improve mental-health outcomes in the resort communities where Vail Resorts operates.

“We are spending time getting to know the issues that each community faces around emotional wellness, and the non-profit organizations that are working to make an impact in this space every single day,” said Ganz in the release. “I’m thrilled to join Rob and Elana in finding ways to help fill the gaps in delivering critical services and improve the outcomes across our extraordinary local communities.”

The grants are in additoin to the $12.9 million Vail Resorts contributed in 2018 to more than 250 community organizations.

For more on this story, pick up next Thursday’s issue of Pique.

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