Jay Peak Resort creates community-focused foundation

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Jay Peak Resort creates community-focused foundation

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:56pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Jay Peak Resort today announced the creation of the Flake Foundation, a community-oriented initiative focused on supporting local causes and events throughout the Northeast Kingdom. The foundation is also tasked with promoting other civically-focused organizations within Orleans, Essex, Caledonia, and Franklin counties.

“As the largest independent business and employer in the region, we have a responsibility to support local communities, the people that live within them, and the various causes and opportunities that help them to thrive,” said Jay Peak’s General Manager Steve Wright. “The Flake Foundation was put into place to recognize that responsibility and to create a platform of support as well as integrate Jay Peak into the communities we live and work in at a more deliberate level.”

Jay Peak Resort file photo.

Wright said Flake Foundation support will take several forms. There will be scholarship offerings for local students to apply for and the foundation will expand the donations of resort lift tickets, lodging stays, golf rounds and waterpark visits to local charities. The support of the Jay Peak employee network to help work local events and community outreach efforts will also be offered.

One initiative already underway is the Winter Wear project with Newport City Elementary School. The school has long had a program whereby students spend a day at Jay Peak skiing and riding. The resort offers a discounted rate on lift tickets, rentals and lessons, but having students properly outfitted for winter weather has always been a challenge. Enter the Winter Wear project. School officials reached out to Jay Peak to see what assistance might be available and the Flake Foundation provided a $500 donation to supply 20 neck warmers, 20 pairs of goggles and 10 pairs of gloves.

“Having a resource like the Flake Foundation is incredibly helpful,” said Thyra Monaghan, a teacher at Newport City Elementary School.  “The cost of ski gear often prevents kids from participating in the sport and having easy access to something like the Flake Foundation that can provide funds to purchase gear takes cost out of the equation and gets kids outside and loving winter.”

The Flake Foundation is just the latest in a series of programs Jay Peak has undertaken to bolster not only community outreach, but increase the ways it offers support to its employees. Beginning in June of 2017, the resort started offering a suite of benefits and perks to its team members designed to attract and retain talent. A new 12-plex of mountain cottages dedicated to employee housing was built at its Stateside area. Jay Peak also renovated the neighboring Inglenook Lodge, a resort-owned property, to expand its lodging capacity to accommodate 78 people. The resort is now able to offer housing to close to 150 employees. Late last summer the incentive program was expanded to include a $500,000 revenue pool to be used for wage increases and bonus programs across all employee categories, and a new partnership with a local organic farm was established to promote healthy food choices.

“Employees are the foundation of who we are and how we get things done,” continued Wright. “Having a happy and vibrant team where everyone feels valued is the greatest competitive advantage we can create as an organization. Offering housing, financial and lifestyle benefits supports employees addressing their most basic needs.”

When asked about the overall health of the resort, Wright said the company posted the best financial performance in its history during its first year in Receivership, nearly quadrupling its earnings before taxes, interest and amortization. That accomplishment allowed Jay Peak to reduce the amount of minimum-wage jobs to under 5% of its workforce (down from 28%), increase net payroll budget by more than $3 million and invest close to $2 million in its new on-campus employee housing.

Source: February 1, 2018 (Jay, VT)-Jay Peak Resort