Blue Skies Memorial Fund: transforming tragedy into “flying high” for community

For community-minded donors who want their philanthropy to be part of something bigger, Community Foundation Boulder County offers Donor-Advised Funds as one of several vehicles for donors to make a difference by mobilizing resources around community needs.

Through the Blue Skies Memorial DAF, Carol and George Solich annually give away about $80K in grants to Longmont nonprofits, including capital campaign gifts to organizations like the OUR Center, also a foundation grantee.
“We wanted to turn the tragedy of Jeff’s death into something positive for the local community,” says Carol of her brother, Jeff Sands, an accomplished pilot – and one of the world's elite, record-setting skydivers – who died in 2003 near Longmont doing what he loved best: flying. “The Blue Skies Memorial Fund is a great way to keep his memory and his spirit alive.”
According to Carol, the fund grants monies to a cross-section of funding areas – from basic needs and emergency response to children and education.
“Anyone who knows skydivers knows they’re very positive people,” continues Carol. “That was Jeff, and flying – and the Mile-Hi Skydiving Center – were his passions.”
As Carol and George are Denver-based, they rely on the Community Foundation to navigate Boulder County needs and giving opportunities. “We’re so appreciative of the foundation and love working with the staff. We trust them to provide us the information we need to make informed decisions about the most worthy opportunities to make a difference.
“Community Foundation Boulder County makes it easy for us to achieve our philanthropic goals in Jeff’s memory by doing all the background research. The foundation is so tuned in to the community, and we know that our dollars are making the most impact as a result."