Governor Polis and the  Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) recently announced this year’s recipients of the Govenor’s Creative Leadership Awards, an annual award program which recognizes Coloradans who have demonstrated a significant commitment to the state’s creative landscape through civic leadership and volunteerism.  President of the Park County Creative Alliance (PCCA) and longtime Park County local Ann Lukacs is one of the 2023 recipients!

Ann was recently certified a Colorado Change Leader by Governor Jared Polis for exceptional community development efforts. As part of her certification, Lukacs created the PCCA, a nonprofit arts alliance dedicated to uniting Park County through the arts. Since December 2018, PCCA has united local artists, delivered educational workshops, created the Art Adventuring in Park County map, launched a successful annual Pass Notes event, and more.

Ann is being awarded the Arts and Community Action Award, which is presented to individuals that have demonstrated selfless service and inspired others to take action or catalyze change in their community using the arts. Artist, photographer, cinematographer, small business owner, and nonprofit board member, she continues to be dedicated to preserving and advancing arts and culture in Colorado and in her community.

“The Governor’s Creative Leadership Award recipients embody the remarkable ways in which arts and culture impact Coloradans’ lives and our communities. Each has made a unique contribution to Colorado, and we are thrilled to recognize their achievements,” said Eve Lieberman, OEDIT Executive Director.

The awards will be presented on June 1, 2023 at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit to be held in Crested Butte.

Learn more about Ann’s career and the good work of the PCAA at

Read the full, original press release that includes the list of all 2023 award recipients here.

When the Keystone Science School put out a call for winter gear donations, the employees of Breckenridge Grand Vacations jumped into action.

“Many of our program participants aren’t adequately prepared for Summit County’s winter weather, explains Kristin Williams, Keystone Science School’s Development Director. “By having extra gear on hand, like jackets, rain coats, water bottles, we can better serve all of our campers that want to experience Summit County’s great outdoors.”

Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ new Community Impact department organized the gear drive, which generated over $2,500 in donations and included over 100 unique items.

Emily Kimmel, BGV’s Sustainability Manager, explained, “We did outreach to our owners and all BGV employees about the drive. The gear drive had a dual benefit in that it saved over 100 items from the landfill, and also equipped kids with the gear they need to enjoy the outdoors, even in tough conditions.”

Each year, the Keystone Science School serves over 1,500 students in day camps, overnight camps, and outdoor education field trips. Visit the Keystone Science School’s website to learn more about their programs.

On February 24th and 25th, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) celebrated hosting the 14th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival.

From sinkholes in Mexico to Afghan women runners to adaptive mountain biking, this year’s films celebrated diversity and perseverance through incredible hardship. Over two nights, the Banff Mountain Film Festival showcased 16 films and welcomed over 1,400 viewers in the audience.

BOEC Development Director, Hallie Jaeger, shares, “Being able to rely on BGV and BGV Gives as integral supporters of this event allows us to bring the community together offering an evening of outdoor adventure films showcasing diversity, equity, and inclusion- which is exactly our mission on screen. We are so thankful to BGV and BGV Gives for everything they do in this community, especially for BOEC!”

As the Mount Elbert Premiere Sponsor, BGV Gives and Breckenridge Grand Vacations provided financial support to help make the event a success. Raising over $70,000 net from sponsors and attendees, the Banff Mountain Film Festival is one of BOEC’s largest fundraisers of the year.

“BGV and BGV Gives are grateful to be supporting cornerstone community events such as the Banff Mountain Film Festival,” explains Ellen Reid, BGV’s Director of Community Impact. “This event generates funding for the BOEC; it builds community and leaves all of us in the audience with a sense of awe and inspiration for what we can achieve if we put our minds to it.”

Established in 1976, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) aims to expand the potential of people with disabilities and special needs through meaningful, educational, and inspiring outdoor experiences. Serving over 2,500 individuals each year, the BOEC’s primary programs include the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard program, the Wilderness program, and the Internship program.

Breckenridge Grand Vacations and BGV Gives recently announced $1,393,770 in support for the community in 2022. The grants represent both cash and in-kind support, such as sponsorships, grants, volunteer time, lodging donations and more.

With a strong focus on philanthropy, Breckenridge Grand Vacations celebrates an impactful 2022, including a successful RAM Heart Health Walk, 4,500 hours volunteered by employees, and a personal gift of $1,000,000 from Mike and Anna Dudick towards Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s Sol Center.

Reflecting on his family’s donation to the Sol Center, Breckenridge Grand Vacations Chief Executive Officer Mike Dudick shares, “The Sol Center will be a wonderful and necessary resource in our community.  We feel fortunate to play a small part in making this dream a reality.”

Tara Dew, BGV Gives Program Manager, adds “Philanthropy is a top priority for Breckenridge Grand Vacations. From the company’s executive leadership to our newest hires, every day BGV employees reflect what it means to build community and give back to those around them.”

Rounding out Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ 2022 philanthropic funding was the announcement of its fall and spring grant awards, totaling $537,000 for 61 organizations serving the Summit and Park County communities.

BGV Gives awarded grants addressing six focus areas: health, human services, education, art and culture, environment, and sports and recreation. With a commitment to supporting organizations across the community, the selected grantees provide valuable contributions to the quality of life in Summit County, from sustainability initiatives, to support for preschools, food banks and more.

Jen Schenk, High Country Conservation Center’s Executive Director, remarks, “Grant funding is critical for High Country Conservation Center to further our mission to reduce waste and conserve resources in Summit County. Support from BGV Gives allows HC3 to focus on our core programs and helps us leverage support from other funding partners around the community.”

In addition to program and general operating support, Breckenridge Grand Vacations was pleased to provide a significant capital grant towards construction of the new Silverthorne childcare center.

According to County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence, “A capacity shortage in local preschools is one of Summit County’s top issues, for families and for our workforce. This new childcare center is a huge step in the right direction, but it will require collaboration across sectors in the community. We are grateful to have Breckenridge Grand Vacations as a partner.”

Grants from Breckenridge Grand Vacations are awarded through BGV Gives, a philanthropic program created to support local nonprofit organizations through fundraising, sponsorships, grants, volunteering, and in-kind donations. Focusing on health, human services and education sectors, BGV Gives funds capital projects, special event sponsorships, programs, equipment, scholarships, educational materials, and general operating support, among other needs.

On December 16th, Breckenridge Grand Vacations and BGV Gives “wrapped up” its 9th Annual Adopt a Family Program. During a busy time of year that’s tight on any budget, 24 departments and individuals across Breckenridge Grand Vacations stepped up to bring extra holiday cheer to 28 local families in need.

In total, BGV employees purchased over 300 gifts for 109 local individuals, including 64 children and 45 adults. Several employees and departments teamed up to review wish lists, go shopping, and wrap the gifts.

BGV Gives partnered with Summit County Youth and Family Services, who referred local families that would benefit from the support. “Our department was amazed by the gifts that that BGV delivered. The recipient families were beyond grateful that they’d be able to celebrate the holidays with gifts and important winter gear, like new snow boots.”

Since 2014, Breckenridge Grand Vacations employees have provided holiday gifts for 238 families across the Summit County community. To learn more about BGV Gives and its initiatives, visit

Since 1993, SOS Outreach (SOS) has cultivated a deep sense of belonging in kids and teenagers, unlimiting their future potential and impact on our world. SOS engages local youth from Summit County while operating programs at Keystone and Breckenridge. SOS uses a unique combination of mentorship and winter sports to deliver a progressive curriculum that creates a sense of purpose and belonging for youth, fosters self-regulation through social and emotional learning skill development, and fosters ethical decision-making. In partnership with Summit County schools, youth are recruited for programs in 4th grade and progress through high school to develop critical social and emotional learning skills: relating well to others, understanding and managing feelings, responsible decision-making, and social responsibility. The mountains are the catalyst for creating opportunities on and off the hill. In Summit County, over 20 local community mentors help make SOS programs possible. SOS is a gold badge partner of Mentor Colorado for consistent excellence in the delivery of mentor programming.


“All the skills that I obtained during my time in SOS have opened so many doors for me—in the form of leadership skills, networking opportunities, and even a discovered love for volunteer service. I will always hold on to these skills wherever I go. SOS taught me that sticking to your core values can take you a long way in life.” – Andrew Reynolds, recent program graduate

If you’d like to impact youth in your community, please consider donating or volunteering to support SOS!  To get involved in a volunteer or mentor capacity, please reach out to Alison Canavan, Senior Colorado Program Manager, at or visit

As we move into the winter months, we must prepare our homes for the larger energy load they consume. With colder months, we use more natural gas or electricity for heating and lighting our homes. Here are seven low-cost recommendations for helping you save money and energy during the winter season.

  • Dial back your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you set your thermostat back you save 1-3% (depending on the size of your home) on your energy bill. It is more beneficial to wear another layer of clothing or have a space heater for the one room you use the most. You could also consider investing in a smart thermostat. These can help learn your family’s habits when you are in the room. The smart thermostat will then only operate during those times to your desired level of comfort. You may also choose a thermostat that you can program for specific times to provide the same outcomes.
  • At the beginning of fall, you should perform a quick inspection of your furnace to make sure that it is turning on properly. This is done by turning on each thermostat around the house, one at a time, and watching the furnace turn on and off for each zone. Along with this, you will need to inspect the room’s heating source to make sure it is warming up. Furnaces should be inspected annually by a professional to verify the correct levels are being met for gas, intake, and outtake of the system. This will help prolong the life expectancy of your furnace and make sure you do not have any problems during the coming winter months.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans. When reversed, it allows the fan to pull hot air up and push it back down the walls to circulate the air in the room more efficiently. You can do this by turning your fan off and locating the black switch on the housing of the fan. Flip the switch, the fan will know to run in reverse, then turn the fan back on. Do not forget to reverse the fan again in the spring to help push the cold air down for the summer months.
  • Performing an annual inspection of the weather stripping around your doors, windows, and attics is recommended. These are the most common areas for air leaks. Inspect for deterioration or damaged areas. You may also place your hand around the frame when the door, window, or attic is closed to feel for air blowing in or out. Replace the weather stripping when necessary.
  • Get in the habit of closing all blinds and drapes in rooms that are not being used and at sunset. These barriers help add a layer of protection from the cooled windows. Even double pane windows can still be chilly from the low outside temperatures. Insulated cellular blinds (Honeycomb blinds) are the highest recommended blind for forming a sustainable barrier due to their extra built-in pockets. Highly reflective blinds can reduce your heating up to 40% or more. This equates to about a 10% savings on your heating bill.
  • Switch light bulbs to LED. In the winter months we use our lights more often, so this is the best time to switch to LED light bulbs to save an average of $225 per year. Light emitting diodes (LED) use up to 90% less energy and will last up to 25 times longer than a traditional bulb.
  • Make sure vents or floorboard heaters are not covered. If they are, you will be reducing the output of your heating system. This leads to more energy or gas being produced, raises your energy bill and puts a larger demand on the heat exchanger in the furnace leading to a shorter life for your furnace.










Smart thermos

Fan Reverse switch location

Insulated cellular blinds (Honeycomb blinds)



Have you ever wondered if your carton of almond milk is recyclable? Or wondered what it would be like to drive an electric vehicle in the mountains…during winter? The High Country Conservation Center (HC3) is here for you. Here are just a few ways their work helps you and all of Summit County.

Recycle and Compost Like a Pro

We get it – recycling can feel complicated. Fortunately, HC3 has resources to make it easier. During the week, the staff at HC3 is available for all your tricky recycling questions. And their printable guidelines help you make sense of the rules whether you recycle at the curb (or a shared dumpster) or use one of the local recycling centers. They also have maps of local glass and food scrap collection sites.

What about your food scraps? Summit County is lucky to have a free food scrap composting program. And if you don’t already participate…well, what are you waiting for? Sign up online and then drop by the HC3 office for a free bucket to help collect your food scraps.

Help Fight Climate Change

We are a community that cares about doing its part to fight climate change. Our countywide Climate Action Plan set a goal to reduce local carbon pollution 80 percent by 2050. It’s a big undertaking, and we need YOU to get involved. How? Energy use and transportation are the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the county. So, you can help by making your homeor business – more energy efficient, supporting renewable energy, and switching to an electric car for your next vehicle. Or you could ditch the car entirely by riding the bus to work or the slopes. And of course, ask your elected officials – from the local level to the national – to advocate for climate policy.

Get Water Smart

The American West is in the midst of a decades-long megadrought. That’s why HC3 collaborated with local water providers to develop the new Water Smart program. Set to fully launch in 2023, Water Smart will provide water-efficiency training for local landscapers, incentives for improving residential and commercial irrigation systems, and community workshops about the importance of water conservation.

Making Sustainability a Community Value

From peak-baggers and leaf-peepers to powder-hounds and star-gazers, HC3 serves more than 10,000 residents and visitors each year. You could be one of them! Track HC3’s progress by signing up for their newsletter, donate to support their programs, and let them know if you’d like to get involved. HC3 is working to create a healthy planet through local action, and it takes everyone to make that vision a reality.

For more information about HC3, visit their website at High Country Conservation Center.