Education Legacy Award

The 2016 Star Dancing Gala honored the first recipients of our Education Legacy Award, recognizing those who have helped YouthPower365 get started and who are integral in helping to bring us to we are today.

The EducationLegacy Award recognizes leaders in our community who have given over $1 million to the Vail Valley Foundation’s education initiatives. Although our Legacy Award criteria is the support of $1 million or more, equal to the financial generosity of our honorees is the fact they have given us countless hours of their time, guidance, resources, connections and a collaborative, problem solving spirit.

Please join us thanking and congratulating our first annual Education Legay Award recipients:

Ann -and -michael

Ann Smead & Michael Byram

Ann Smead and Michael Byram are active philanthropists residing in Vail. Ann serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations, including the Vail Valley Foundation, where she chairs the Education Committee, and Vail Mountain School, where she served as Board Chair and her four granddaughters attend. Prior to retiring in 2006, Michael was the president and CEO of the University of Colorado (CU) Foundation. 

After completing her degree from the University of Iowa, Ann’s successful and varied career began as an IBM systems engineer and moved into real estate and financial and asset management. She along with her late husband, Joe Smead, had a passion for raising the educational level for youth and young adults in our valley and beyond. Joe was an initial donor along with Oscar Tang and Erik Borgen of the first large gifts dedicated to education at the Vail Valley Foundation; the Success at Six Kindergarten scholarship program. Growing up financially challenged, Joe knew at a young age that a great education was the key to his future and attributed his successes to the scholarships and exceptional educational opportunities he received.

Brought together initially through their passions for CU, improving opportunities in the aerospace engineering doctoral program and improving health care, Ann and Michael were married in 2006 and have made children and education at all levels a priority. Ann stated, “You can’t change the world, but you can make a difference. You can change your community and the best way to do that is through education.” Ann and Michael’s personal investment of their time and passion in addition to their financial gifts make them a wonderful model for giving in our community.

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 Borgen -Family

Borgen Family

The Borgen Family have been residents of Vail since 1966. If there is a person who epitomizes the phrase, "Realizing the American Dream," it is family patriarch, Bjorn Erik Borgen. As a twelve year old, he emigrated from Norway to the small town of Strum, Wisconsin, where he learned English and flourished under the individualized attention and opportunities available to him through the local public schools. He received a scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin, later completed his MBA at Harvard Business School and went on to a very successful career in entrepreneurship and investment.

Erik and his wife, Kathy, have three children: Kaia, Randi and Jon-Erik and 10 grandchildren. The entire Borgen family makes charitable giving a priority, with a focus on educational projects. "If you don't have education and knowledge, you're at a disadvantage in life," explains Erik. Two generations currently serve on nonprofit boards including the Denver Foundation, Vail Valley Foundation and Walking Mountains. The Borgen family has given over $3 million to Vail Valley Foundation educational initiatives, making it possible for students in Eagle County to be afforded opportunities that are otherwise out of reach. Their commitment to the future of children in Eagle County is incredibly inspiring.

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 Legacy _Tang

Tang Family

The Tang family has been enjoying the Vail Valley community since 1970. Originally from Shanghai, family patriarch, Oscar, and his parents were forced to flee China in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war.  He was sent to school in the United States at the age of 11, eventually attending Phillips Academy, Andover.  He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Yale University and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School.

Oscar states that he “feels every young person should be given the opportunity to succeed through access to an education. I came as an immigrant and the opportunity to get a good education has provided me with the foundation for a rich, productive and fulfilling life. Every child should have that opportunity.” This philosophy has inspired the Tang Family’s philanthropic objectives; Oscar, his wife, Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, his four children and 11 grandchildren are committed to the transforming role that education, art and culture can play in enhancing the position of underserved children. Oscar and his family have set a strong precedent for philanthropy in our community and beyond and inspire others through leadership in education.