Behind every impressive event, you’ll find generous, invested partners insuring its success. We are so honored to introduce you to three incredible funding partners of our 2024 Ascent Launch Event. Collegiate Peaks Bank, Aristata Communications, and Kenneth King Foundation are each vital to entrepreneurialism, innovation, and job growth in Chaffee County. We invite you to learn more about them and campion their initiatives. 

Meet Collegiate Peaks Bank

Collegiate Peaks Bank is committed to supporting the communities it serves and has made it an important part of the company culture. The bank’s employees donate their time and effort to causes that help to build a strong community spirit and contribute to the success of the businesses, organizations and individuals around them.

Our Bank was founded in the mid 1980’s by a group of local Community Members in Buena Vista, Colorado. The Bank was acquired by Glacier Bancorp, Inc. on February 1, 2018. The bank is now a division of Glacier Bank, a regional bank holding.  Glacier Bank provides commercial banking services in 143 communities through 224 banking offices.

Collegiate Peaks Bank continues to cultivate strong relationships within the communities we live and work by emphasizing personalized service combined with the full resources of a larger banking organization.

Learn more about CPB:

Meet Aristata Communications

Formerly Colorado Central Telecom and Crestone Telecom, Aristata Communications was born from community. The residents within the town of Crestone banded together to bring broadband to town after realizing they were cut off from knowledge and access to resources without a solid internet connection. It was truly a grassroots effort when neighbors pitched in with start-up capital to get the company off the ground. When service reached Methodist Mountain, perched at over 11,000 feet along the Continental Divide, it became the catalyst for providing high-speed, reliable internet across the region. Over the years, service has expanded to reach underserved areas like Salida, Maysville, Chalk Creek Canyon, Twin Lakes, Cotopaxi, and Westcliffe in the Wet Mountain Valley. Today, Aristata Communications works diligently to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural America and provides internet and communications services to nearly 5,000 customers throughout five counties in the Central and South-Central Rocky Mountains including Lake, Chaffee, Fremont, Custer, and Huerfano Counties.

Learn more about Aristata:

Meet Kenneth King Foundation

The Kenneth King Foundation has refined its Theory of Change to better define our purpose through a cause-and-effect logic statement, providing a high-level view of our desired results, beyond our typical answer: jobs. Our Theory of Change outlines our strategy and assumptions that ground our mission, vision and funding interests. Our three main funding areas, Entrepreneurship, Employment and Removing Barriers to Employment, are defined with short- and long-term outcomes with related activities, processes, theoretical assumptions and principles. We believe this framework will provide additional information for organizations to determine mission alignment in seeking grants. We also took a hard look at metrics and how they align with the multitude of measurement guidelines in this industry. We took a stab at mapping metrics we are interested in measuring and how they tie to industry accepted metrics. Click on the link below to read more about our theory of change and logic models.

Learn more about Kenneth King Foundation:

Meet Monarch Mountain

Monarch Mountain is a ski resort located in the state of Colorado. It is twenty miles west of Salida, Colorado, on U.S. Highway 50. The resort is situated on Monarch Pass at the continental divide

Learn more about Monarch: https:

Meet The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) creates a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. We advance the state’s economy through financial and technical programs under the leadership of the Governor and Executive Director.

We work hard to grow a resilient economy where everyone not only gets by, but thrives. Our agency consists of 14 divisions and offices that support various industries, regions, and sectors.

Learn more about OEDIT:


DRAM was created by husband and wife team Shae Whitney and Brady Becker. They make award winning beverages, CBD Drops, Bitters and Switchels right here in Salida, Colorado. DRAM was created out of their shared passion for plant magic, and delicious food and drinks. We are so proud they have chosen Chaffee County as their headquarters.

Learn more about DRAM:

Meet Elevation Beer Company

Elevation Beer Co. is an artisanal microbrewery located in Poncha Springs, Colorado just outside Salida. Specializing in adventurous seasonal barrel-aged beers for the craft beer fanatic as well as a solid line-up of lagers, pale ales, and darker beers. Visit their tasting room and enjoy 16 beers on tap, 1 beer engine and beer to-go as well as local art and a very cool patio tent for keeping the sun and snow out of your pint.

Learn more about OEDIT:

Are You Driven By Nature?

Interested in becoming a Funding Partner? We’d be honored to hear from you.

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Chaffee County Success Stories – In Their Own Words

Chaffee County is an incredible place for makers and doers to live, work, and play. It is also a place where successful businesses and leaders uplift and support a growing economy and strong community. We want to share those stories of success, passion, and enjoyment with you.

Charlie Chupp, CEO, Fading West Development

How do you drive job creation while addressing a community need, in this case attainable workforce housing? Charlie Chupp, CEO of Fading West, talks about how they’re doing just that at The Farm in Buena Vista, Colo.

Lenny Eckstein, Founder, Deerhammer Distilling

How do you capture the spirit of a vibrant community that’s home to a dozen 14,000-foot peaks and the headwaters of the Arkansas River?  Deerhammer Distilling in Buena Vista, Colo. puts it in a bottle.

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