Around the Institute

Good Neighbors

July 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

Give NowThrough small dollar contributions, generous gifts, and volunteer hours, Institute employees look out for the colleagues and coworkers who have been hit especially hard by Covid-19.

The Institute’s work touches people across the planet, but when the coronavirus hit home, the Institute’s Social Impact and Volunteer Committee looked inward. The committee joined forces with president and CEO Dan Porterfield and his staff, Office Services, Human Resources, and the finance team to support workers employed by other organizations who were affected by the Institute’s closure. The catering, cleaning, and parking staff are an integral part of the Institute community, and, to date, the group has provided them with more than $25,000 in relief aid through Institute business partners, a GoFundMe campaign, direct cash disbursements, and collaborations with neighboring tenants at the DC headquarters.

The financial support was vital for Roxana Encinas and her husband, both employees of the Purple Onion catering service, a top Institute vendor. With no special events to cater, the pair had worried about paying their bills and making their daughter’s final college tuition payments. Thanks to the Institute, the tuition was paid, and Encinas’s daughter graduated from George Mason University in May. The Social Impact and Volunteer Committee also made sure to support the Institute’s Wyndham employees on furlough at the Aspen Meadows campus. The Institute paid for the employees’ portion of health benefits, and Wyndham distributed staff-donated funds directly to the affected workers. What’s more, Aspen Meadows provided lunches to 40 frontline staff, including workers from the Aspen Fire Department, 911 Dispatch, and Aspen Ambulance Service.

Three Institute trustees—Bob Hurst, Melony Lewis, and Jerry Greenwald—also got involved, contributing and raising significant funding for the 2020 Rescue Fund at the Aspen Community Foundation, which serves the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys. To bolster their efforts, the Institute donated one staff member’s time to provide administrative aid to the fund. This support, collaboration, and passion from people across the Institute is indicative of the Aspen spirit: putting values into practice.