In honor of the month of love, February’s Donor Spotlight shares with you a story of giving that features The Elevation Fund, a group of local couples who have formed a deep friendship and have uniquely come together to celebrate and support a cause they are all passionate about. We are honored that they chose the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) as the cause to support!

The Elevation Fund crew

The Elevation Fund members from left to right: Cheryl Golub, Steve Adelman, Kathy Elsner, David Katz, and Leslie Katz.

Originally hailing from across the country, the magic of the Rockies and the allure of Breckenridge is what originally brought these five couples together. Comprised of 10 donors total, The Elevation Fund includes Steve Adelman and Kathy Elsner, Cheryl and Steve Golub, Diane and Steve Jaffee, David and Leslie Katz, and Gail and Milton Klein. What you are about to read showcases how these friends have all united in giving to the BOEC, and each other, in a new and creative way.

The first couple to discover the magic of Summit County was Steve Adelman and Kathy Elsner, hailing from Des Moines, Iowa. They’ve been visiting Breckenridge for the longest of any in the group, for over 30 years. They share, “As the rest of the couples moved here, we met our friends through a variety of circumstances including a neighborly knock on the door, a chance meeting of family members at a Dallas Bar Mitzvah, and a fix-up by a massage therapist in Breckenridge. All of us have experienced the beauty and excitement Summit County has to offer.”

BOEC donors

From left to right: Kathy Elsner, Diane Jaffee, Gail Klein, Cheryl Golub, and Leslie-Katz.

To round out this dynamic group of 10, Steve and Diane Jaffee, from Columbus Ohio, met Steve and Kathy in 2012, a few years after moving to Breckenridge. The Jaffee’s explain, “We were the last to join this gang but we are grateful that the Elsner\Adelman’s introduced us to the rest of the group.” Diane continues, “Although we are all from various parts of the country, Texas (both Dallas and Houston), Des Moines, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio, we share a passion for the outdoor life, great food and wine, and more importantly, a shared value for donating to charitable causes we are passionate about.”

The group often celebrates birthdays and other life-cycle events together which would typically include the ceremonial exchanging of gifts. In early 2020, though, Kathy suggested that instead of buying gifts the group should donate to a local Summit County charity to honor those birthdays and other occasions.

Cheryl shares, “There are many opportunities to give back to the community and we are thrilled to have chosen the BOEC as one. The opportunities for children with special needs are boundless. And not only children, but veterans and other adults as well. Because our group loves the outdoors so much the BOEC is a natural for us to devote our resources to. Thank you to the staff of BOEC for all that you do”

Kathy Elsner and Gail Klein

Left to right: Kathy Elsner and Gail Klein.

Diane continues, “We put our collective heads together and decided on BOEC as our Summit County charity. We agreed that the work BOEC does to help physically or emotionally challenged skiers and boarders get out on the mountain was one worth supporting.”

Diane had volunteered with BOEC’s Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program prior to the Pandemic and has witnessed first-hand the life changing effects of the BOEC. She is also the author of Sheba la Beba, a children’s book story about her Aussie’s adventures in Breckenridge and whose proceeds from all sales also support the BOEC. Her experiences have helped to solidify BOEC as the charity the group ultimately chose to support.

While volunteering at BOEC, Diane mostly worked with kids on the autism spectrum. She was initially inspired by the dedication of both the families and staff for getting these kids onto the mountain. It was an extremely rewarding experience for her, and she hopes to get back on skis with the kids soon.

Following suit, Steve Adelman has now also signed up to join Diane as a BOEC volunteer. Steve shares, “Kathy and I have both recently retired and are planning to spend more time in Breckenridge which can provide more opportunities to become involved in BOEC activities. I would like to be a ski volunteer as well as be able to use my experience as a neurologist for guest support and staff education as needed.”

The Elevation Fund members

The Elevation Fund Crew.

In just a year after establishing The Elevation Fund, BOEC is in awe of the dedication of this group for the knowledge and inspiration they provide to us, their time and interest in our mission, as well as their funding.

Gail and Milton Klein are from Houston but built their home in Breckenridge over 20 years ago. The couple spends 3-4 months in the county each summer and fall and have recently found themselves visiting more often in the spring months as well. Milton shares, “We give to BOEC because it’s an inspiring organization that provides athletic activities to those who, because of their disabilities, might be unable to participate in many other programs. BOEC also strengthens confidence and team-building skills on its scenic campus.”

The Elevation Fund is already making an impact by contributing to capital projects and programming efforts which add value to the participant experience and BOEC as a whole. The group had an opportunity to experience its impact first hand this past summer.

Steve Adelman, Kathy Elsner, Steve Golub, Cheryl Golub

Left to right: Steve Adelman, Kathy Elsner, Steve Golub, Cheryl Golub.

“Our favorite BOEC memory is our group participating in a tour of BOEC’s 39-acre wilderness campus, led by Development Manager, Hallie Jaeger, who inspired us with her passion about the program and the opportunities it offers to people with challenges,” says Gail. “We were fortunate to observe a group that was engaged in activities to build trust as well to maneuver on the ropes course.”

Hallie was thrilled when Kathy and Diane proposed the idea of a friendship giving fund to her. This was something that the BOEC had not seen before and getting creative in how we increase our fundraising is a key strategy moving forward. So, we were willing to work with these very generous couples. However, what really set this group apart was the connections that were formed and being on the tour together. Jaeger says, “Their intelligence, down to earth energy, the questions they asked, and overall interest in the programming was above and beyond my expectations. This was one of the most memorable tours I have given and cannot wait to continue working with the entire Elevation Fund crew.”

BOEC is extremely grateful for the dedication of this group, the knowledge and inspiration they provide to us, and for giving their time and funding.

Steve Adelman and Milton Klein

Steve Adelman and Milton Klein.

While BOEC sends many Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary wishes back and forth to the group, we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to The Elevation Fund and Happy Valentines Day from our hearts to yours!

David Katz concludes, “The BOEC’s mission of introducing people to the outdoor activities in Summit County aligns perfectly with our passions for the activities in our area. We sincerely hope that other groups of friends will consider creating a fund of their own to support sharing their love for the mountains as we have.”

If you have a group of friends that is interested in setting up a similar giving fund, please reach out to Development Manager, Hallie Jaeger at [email protected] to continue multiplying the love.