Author Archives: Matthew Hamilton

About Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton is Aspen Skiing Company’s (ASC) Sustainability Director. He is also the Executive Director of the Environment Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million over the past 15 years. Matthew oversees ASC's community philanthropy, and runs ASC's day-to-day environmental programs, including the monthly Greenletter, and GREENTRACK, ASC's ISO 14001 certified environmental management system. Matthew is also consultant with Aspen Sustainability Associates, and has lectured nationally and internationally on ASC's work. He currently serves as President of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, and on the boards of the Carbondale Tourism Council, Colorado Youth Corps Association and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Previously, Matthew was a Research Officer at The Piton Foundation, working with low income neighborhoods on issues of education reform, affordable housing and economic development. Prior to that, he worked for Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger anti-poverty group; the Independent Sector, a national association of nonprofits and foundations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (on a project called Enterprise for the Environment), for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and for Middlebury College. Matthew has a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University where he focused on nonprofit management. During his free time he can be found on his bike spending time enjoying many of the local trails and back roads. He lives in Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Jen, and their children Boden and Beck.

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Inconsistent Marriage Laws Impose Significant Burdens on Employers and Employees

Aspen Skiing Company has signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed today by Morgan Lewis in the United States Supreme Court. The company is one of 379 employers and employer organizations urging the High Court to consider the burdens imposed on both employers and employees by a fractured legal landscape with no uniform rule on same-sex marriage. The amicus curiae brief was filed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a uniform principle that all couples share in the right to marry.

“We’re participating, and doing so publicly, because marriage equality is a pressing business issue, and a pressing ethical issue, ”said Aspen Skiing Company President/CEO Mike Kaplan.  “Our guiding principles say we want to treat others as they’d like to be treated. This is one way to do that for the benefit of our guests, our employees, and the community at large.”

The brief argues that the existing, confused legal landscape places significant burdens on employers and their employees—making it increasingly hard to conduct business. In addition to Aspen Skiing Company, which is the only ski resort to sign,  other amici range from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 100 companies, and corporate responsibility leaders like Starbucks and Nike, and are evenly distributed across many of the country’s most important industries, including technology, finance, sports, healthcare, and retail.

Aspen Skiing Company as well as other employers across the nation share a desire to attract and retain a talented workforce. As the brief points out, today most Americans live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are recognized. However, the laws of many states continue to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, and decline to recognize these valid, existing marriages from other states. This makes it hard to recruit and retain good employees, and to allocate benefits in patchwork legal framework. In coordination with our fellow signatories, Aspen Skiing Company presents empirical evidence showing the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the detrimental effect of the absence of a single, uniform law in this area.

West Elk by John Fielder

THE ENVIRONMENT FOUNDATION RELEASES $31,500 IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT ROARING FORK VALLEY YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY EDUCATION   

Foundation also donates more than $64,000 to maintain trails, promote energy efficiency and ensure responsible oil and gas development.

The Environment Foundation Board recently invested $31,500 in six organizations working to educate the next generation of public land stewards. An additional $64,000 in grants was released to seven organizations focused on energy efficiency, reducing the impacts of resource extraction on western Colorado and maintaining/expanding trail networks throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

basalt longhorns logoA grant to Basalt Middle School (BMS) will allow all students attending the school to participate in outdoor education programming regardless of their ability to pay, building cross-cultural relationships while also providing many young people the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. Basalt Middle School Principal Jeremy Voss says, “The $10,000 grant from the employees of the Aspen Skiing Company and their community partners deepens our students understanding of regional ecosystems, energy development and the environmental impacts of their actions.”

“Increased access and higher quality experiences along the Crystal River throughout Carbondale enhances resident’s connection to one of the west’s last free-flowing rivers,” says Martha Cochran, Executive Director of the Aspen Valley Land Trust, another grant recipient. “Work to improve community connections to the watershed deepens our resolve to maintain this community asset while encouraging residents to recognize the value of this community resource.”

14117608086_e5fa66da1d_oConservation Colorado’s Education Fund will use its grant to expand upon Colorado’s efforts to wean off fossil fuels by encouraging our elected officials to develop policies that value efficiency over extraction. Pete Maysmith, Conservation Colorado’s Executive Director sees “a real opportunity to support continued growth of Colorado’s economy through efforts to reduce consumer’s energy expenditures freeing those dollars to be used in other ways.”

In total, the Foundation donated more than $95,000 to 13 projects in the fall of 2014. The foundation is funded by donations from Aspen Skiing Company employees and matched in whole or in part by the Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund, Keurig Green Mountain and Swire Coca-Cola. Since its inception the foundation has supported 438 projects with more than $2.5 million in grants.

Fall 2014 funded projects represent a broad range of environmental issues facing the Roaring Fork Valley:

Organization Amount
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: General Operating Support $7,500.00
Aspen TREE: Earth Keepers Day Camp $5,560.00
Aspen Valley Land Trust: Carbondale Crystal River Restoration Project $10,000.00
Basalt High School Flower Club: Don’t Be Trashy: Recycle $1,000.00
Basalt Middle School: Outdoor Education $10,000.00
Citizens for a Healthy Community: General Operating Support – Protect the North Fork Campaign $10,000.00
Colorado Mountain Club: Backcountry Snowsports Initiative Mapping and Travel Planning $5,550.00
Conservation Colorado Education Fund: Advancing Energy Efficiency in Colorado $10,000.00
Energetics Education: Solar Rollers Program $5,000.00
Lower Valley Trails Group (LoVa): General Operations Support $3,500.00
Rocky Mountain Institute: Create an educational package for the new RMI Innovation Center in Basalt describing design, process, and technology used to support utilization of similar practices $15,000.00
Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork: Gardening School Program and Curriculum $2,500.00
Western Colorado Congress: Environmental Justice Campaigns $10,000.00
TOTAL $95,610.00

Applications for spring 2015 funding are due Mar. 2, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com.

The employee-funded, -founded and -directed Environment Foundation has awarded almost $2.6 million to 438 diverse local environmental projects since its inception in December 1997. Almost 1,800 employees per year contribute to the foundation directly from their paychecks. For additional information about the Environment Foundation visit theenvironmentfoundation.org


OPEN TO ALL ASPEN SKIING COMPANY EMPLOYEES:
There are 4 openings on your Environment Foundation Board of Directors. Directors meet roughly four times a year for about three hours per meeting. The board has three primary roles: to fundraise, to determine worthy recipients of grant funds, and to serve as an ambassador of the foundation to your fellow employees and community. In addition, directors are expected to make up to two site visits to funded projects. All ASC employees who are Foundation donors are eligible to serve on the Environment Foundation board. We are especially interested in recruiting board members from the following divisions and departments:

  • Ski School: Aspen and Snowmass
  • Mountain Ops/Patrol: Highlands and Buttermilk
  • Human Resources
  • IT

The board selection process is quite competitive so be sure to tell us why you think you’re the best person for the job. Remember, if you are not selected in this round we keep applications on file and reconsider them when we have additional openings. For an application please go to: http://www.aspensnowmass.com/-/media/sustainability/EF_BoardApplication.doc or email mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com. Applications are due February 4th.

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Written by Sean Keery, Ski Pro based at Aspen Highlands

Today, there are more than 21 million Americans with a physical disability, many who are eligible to compete in Paralympic sport. Over the past decade, thousands of military personnel have sustained serious injuries during active duty tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Research shows that daily physical activity enhances not only an individual’s self-esteem and peer relationships but also results in increased achievement and better health, enabling a higher quality of life. However, despite these findings, most individuals with Paralympic-eligible impairments do not have the opportunity to participate in any regular sports activity.

Sean Keery

Sean Keery

I was able to represent the Aspen Skiing Company and EMC as a volunteer for the International Paralympic Committee Events at Aspen Highlands during the second week of December.  The races were organized by U.S. Paralympics, part of the United States Olympic Committee.  They are dedicated to promoting excellence in the lives of people with Paralympic-eligible impairments while demonstrating the values of the Olympic Movement, thereby inspiring all Americans.

Since its formation in 2001, U.S. Paralympics has been inspiring Americans to achieve their dreams. Through relationships with hundreds of organizations across the country including National Governing Bodies/High Performance Management Organizations and Paralympic Sport Clubs, U.S. Paralympics is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people with Paralympic-eligible impairments every day with educational opportunities and sports programming.

While grassroots programming is an area of emphasis for U.S. Paralympics, the organization is also the National Paralympic Committee in the United States, as recognized by the International Paralympic Committee, and is responsible for elite sports programming including sending a U.S. Paralympic Team to the Paralympic Games, summer and winter. U.S. Paralympics operates as the NGB/HPMO for six sports: alpine skiing, cycling, Nordic skiing (biathlon and cross-country skiing), snowboarding, swimming and track and field.

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Kevin Jardine, left – Director, High Performance, Paralympic Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding, US Olympic committee.

 

My responsibility on the course crew was to keep the venue safe for the athletes. Competitors included athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments.

EMC Gives Back supports health, human services, arts programs, and disaster relief efforts in order to strengthen society and help shape the future of our local communities.

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Aspen Skiing Company believes that the health of the communities in they operate IS critical to their success. They believe that strengthening local communities through volunteerism helps build:
• A cohesive team of employees
• An ethic of service
• Measurable and sustainable impact in communities where we live and work
• Opportunity to develop leadership skills
• Strengthened relationships with stakeholders (from friends & family to community & business partners)

Although the skiers were in the spotlight, the snowboarding team was out training for their January 11-13 World Cup Events in Aspen.

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Snowboarders Amy Purdy – 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, Coach Miah Wheeler and Evan Strong – 2014 Paralympic Gold Medalist

Learn more about Aspen Skiing Company’s volunteer program and the U.S. Paralympic team.

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These events are open to the public and fall perfectly into the Limelight’s happy hour from 3pm-7pm. Come early or stay later for dinner – ASC employees don’t forget your ski pass to get your employee discount after 7pm. $4 draught beers, $10 cheese or pepperoni pizzas, networking, and powerful speakers – you can’t lose.

 February 11 – Impact Finance: Investing Your Money for Good and Profit
Stephanie Gripne, PhD. Founder and Director, the Impact Finance Center at the University of Denver, and Research Fellow, University of Denver Daniels College of Business.

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Stephanie Gripne, PhD

Forget government: there’s enough private money in the world to solve climate change and the rest of the world’s problems, usually at a profit. But we need a lot. To have an 80 percent chance of keeping global warming to just 2 degrees centigrade, the International Energy Agency estimates an additional $36 trillion in clean energy investment is needed through 2050—or an average of $1 trillion more per year compared to a“business as usual” scenario over the next 36 years. The problem is the investors don’t know about the investments that make money and do good. Stephanie’s job is to connect the two. She founded the Impact Finance Center in 2012 at DU, and formed a partnership between University of Denver Daniels College of Business and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors – Sustainable Endowment Institute. The Impact Finance Center’s mission is to catalyze investments that produce enduring value for the investor, society, and environment.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, CO

Over 17 years the Environment Foundation has donated nearly $2.5 million to protect our mountain ecosystems (bye zebra mussels), promote responsible natural resource extraction (see ya methane), support youth environmental education and encourage responsible outdoor recreation (without any moose altercations).

  • In spring 2010 the Environment Foundation made a grant to the Ruedi Water and Power Authority to inspect boats for Zebra and Quagga Mussels before these pesky mollusks could wreak havoc on Ruedi Reservoir and the hydro power plant there.
  • In fall 2013 Conservation Colorado and Western Resource Advocates received $50,000 to educate the public about the benefits of proposed rules to reduce methane leakage during natural gas extraction.
  • On multiple occasions the Foundation has supported the US Forest Service Wilderness Intern program to ensure forest guests don’t abuse the forests and vistas we all treasure, while keeping you out of harm’s way when a moose decides to call Crater Lake home.

How does this affect you?ASC_EnviroFound_logo_HIRES

Apply for a Grant
If you are a nonprofit organization, private entity, government agency, or an individual with a project that protects or preserves our mountain ecosystem, raises awareness around regional environmental issues, promotes stewardship of our natural resources, or supports environmental education for our youth, remember the date November 1st.  That first Saturday of November is the fall deadline for submitting your grant proposal for funding from the Environment Foundation. For more information on guidelines check out our ‘How to Apply’ page.

Aspen Skiing Company Employees
Two dollars is all it takes per paycheck to become an Environment Foundation member and the new owner of EF SWAG. That $2 is matched in whole or in part by the Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Swire Coca-Cola. None of these funds are used on overhead. Existing members, please consider increasingEF_Hat your donation. It’s your donations that allow the foundation to significantly impact the local environment, and you’ll get some SWAG too.  Join/increase your donation when you pick up your 14/15 season pass or by filling out this form and sending it to payroll at Highlands. When you donate you join close to half of your co-workers supporting the Environment Foundation.

Guests
If you’re just visiting but this sounds like a pretty good foundation to support, you’re welcome to add on a $1 or $2 contribution when you purchase your lift ticket/season pass. By virtue of staying at The Limelight Hotel or The Little Nell you are donating to the Foundation. Depending on the property $1 or $2 per night is added to your bill to support the Foundation (unless you request otherwise).

Support the Foundation from Afar
Not an employee and not able visiting the Roaring Fork valley this winter? Shop on Amazon and support the Environment Foundation through Amazon Smile. Log in at https://smile.amazon.com/ , select Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation as your charity and 0.5% of every eligible purchase will be donated on your behalf.

 

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LogoThe second annual Aspen TNT (Town -N- Trail) 10K Race is scheduled for Saturday, October 4, 2014.  The race showcases a unique route on a variety of trails, bike paths and sidewalks around the town of Aspen, Colorado and benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Colorado-Wyoming Chapter.  The TNT race will begin and end in Koch Park followed by a post-race party at the Limelight Hotel – not to be missed!  There will be live music, food & drinks, giveaways, and CASH prizes for the top male & female runners, and best costume!  For more information or to register to run or to volunteer see our website at www.aspentnt.com.

MS is chronic disease of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves – it is the leading cause of disability in young women and the second leading cause of disability in young men.  The National MS Society is an organization that wants to do something about MS NOW, and is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS.  100% of net proceeds from the race will be donated to the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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On July 29th, 2014 Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) testified in support of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Between the 29th and August 1st hundreds of Americans, including Protect Our Winter’s Riders Alliance member Eric Larsen, will tell EPA why the Clean Power Plan is critical to their futures, livelihoods and lifestyles. Read our testimony, then join thousands of others and submit your commentsContinue reading

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The Environment Foundation released four grants totaling $55,000 to Wilderness Workshop, Thompson Divide Coalition, Western Environmental Law Center and High Country News. These grants represent a continued commitment of the foundation to support responsible oil/gas development. Wilderness Workshop will Continue reading