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Amanda Precourt named 2023 Citizen of the Year
Avon, Colo., Dec. 30, 2022 — There are a seemingly endless string of adjectives that are applied to life as an adolescent girl: tumultuous, ever-changing, challenging, or uncomfortable. For many, these words stir up memories of a worrying time – one filled with confusion and difficulty. Thanks to the vision and leadership of Amanda Precourt, the words applied to life as an adolescent girl in the Eagle River Valley can now take on a different tone: empowering, exciting, wonderful and memorable. [embed]https://vimeo.com/841322089[/embed] In 2011, Precourt founded Girl PowHER. The unique program, operated by the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365, has connected with hundreds of young women to help build confidence, provide clarity, and to build lasting bonds of support during the adolescent years. Girl PowHER is only one example among many programs, institutions, and initiatives that have benefited immensely from the leadership, vision, and financial support of Amanda Precourt. Along with creating and spearheading the Girl PowHER program, Precourt has been a strong supporter of Vail Health, Vail Health Foundation, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Walking Mountains, First Descents, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (MCA Denver), and a significant benefactor of the Vail Valley Foundation’s arts, athletics, and education mission. Along with all of the above, she also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Vail Health Foundation, and the Denver Art Museum. In recognition of an exceptional level of leadership and contribution across a wide range of causes and initiatives in the community, the Vail Valley Foundation today announced that Amanda Precourt has been named the 2023 Vail Valley Citizen of the Year. The award has become one of the highest honors in the community, and Precourt will be celebrated at the 2023 Black Diamond Ball at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Learn more at blackdiamondball.com. “Amanda Precourt is not someone who lets the grass grow under her feet. She is an exceptional contributor to our community’s well-being, and it’s difficult to quantify how valuable she has been not only as someone with the financial means to accomplish great things, but with the vision to see where we have great needs in our community, and where she can be of the most help, and how to create pillars of support throughout the community that provide help where it’s needed most,” said Mike Imhof, President of the Vail Valley Foundation, which manages and bestows the Vail Valley Citizen of the Year award each year on behalf of the community. “She has taken her own experiences deeply to heart, and learned from them, and then applied that to our community in a way that is insightful, powerful, and profound,” said Elaine Kelton, a friend and early supporter of Precourt’s Girl PowHER program. “She isn’t afraid to talk about the challenges she’s faced in her own life, and that has been a powerful force to help de-stigmatize many of the issues faced not only by young women in our community, but by everyone of all ages. She is truly a special human being and very deserving of this award.” Building up the community In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Precourt was working in the finance field, and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center had a profound effect on her. “After 9/11, my career kind of came to a halt,” she told Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine in 2018. “I had worked at Morgan Stanley and had spent a lot of time in New York and in the Twin Towers training all the brokers on the dot-com platform, so it hit me pretty hard. I decided I wanted to reevaluate my life. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference and was giving back.” Precourt was born and raised in Denver, and first came to Vail when she was two years old. Both communities are “home” to her, and so she turned her attention to Denver and Vail to see where she could make a positive impact. Early on, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley had a strong appeal to Precourt. She joined the Board of Directors in 2009 and served in that role until 2018, helping create, initiate, and fund a multitude of projects including creating the International Volunteer Program. “Amanda was really the visionary and creator of getting our community involved not only here but internationally,” remembered John Welaj, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. “She volunteered here locally, was extremely supportive at the Carpenters Ball [fundraiser event], and at the same time she had a broader vision and was enamored with the international aspect of what we do and embraced that.” A place for healing Girl PowHER and Habitat for Humanity are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Precourt’s leadership role in the community. After years of struggling with depression and anxiety, Precourt decided to open up about her own experiences and to partner with Vail Health in creating much-needed behavioral health infrastructure and facilities here in the Eagle River Valley. Precourt and her father, Jay Precourt, are the lead supporters for Vail Health’s Precourt Healing Center, which will be an inpatient behavioral health facility centrally located in Edwards. The 28-bed facility is scheduled to open in 2025 and will provide specialized care for adolescents and adults. "Amanda is driving change in the behavioral health landscape and helping us move from a model of ‘confinement’ to a model of healing and care,” said Chris Lindley, Vail Health Chief Population Health Officer and Executive Director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. "She is also allowing us to be on the frontier of new mental health treatments and modalities as we are working to transform the way we are taking care of people with mental health challenges.” Painting beyond the canvas Precourt has also been a stalwart supporter of Walking Mountain Science School, and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, among others. And her support does not stop at the boundaries of Eagle County. Precourt has been a supporter of First Descents, and been instrumental in the Denver both in her support of the arts and in cultivating the healing power of art among adolescents. Since 2017, for example, Amanda has been a Trustee of the Denver Art Museum. “She generously gives her time and support to programs she is passionate about, like her impactful gift to create our new Architecture and Design galleries. Amanda is a wonderful hostess, and we are so grateful for her glamorous events that help raise funds for the museum,” said Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the Denver Art Museum. Precourt is also active in supporting the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, in particular with their adolescent programs. “Having champions like her, who are really so aligned with our mission and who are ready to do whatever they can to animate that mission, it’s just such a gift,” said Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director of MCA Denver. Only the beginning In all of the above and more, Precourt has shown a proven ability to work collaboratively with the people and institutions she supports, helping amplify their mission and provide real-world solutions to pressing issues. “With Amanda Precourt, one can sense that this is just the beginning of what is already an extremely active and impactful life of giving back to her community,” Imhof said. “She is energetic, highly motivated, and she brings true problem-solving abilities to the table. We are extremely pleased to be honoring her as the Vail Valley Citizen of the Year.” PREVIOUS CITIZEN(S) OF THE YEAR HONOREES: 1981 Peter Abuisi 1982 E.B. Chester 1983 Jack Crosby 1984 President Gerald R. Ford 1985 Harry Frampton 1986 Helen Fritch 1987 George Gillett 1988 Merv Lapin 1989 Sheika & Pepi Gramshammer 1990 Paul Johnston (Gerald R. Ford) 1991 Kent Rose (Phil & Jane Smiley) 1992 Rod Slifer (John Galvin) Mike Kloser-Athletics*** Patricia Herrington-Arts & Culture*** Nick Seaver-Education*** 1993 Dr. Richard Steadman (Winton & Carolyn Blount) Bib Isbell-Athletics*** Helen Fritch-Arts and Culture*** Jerry Santoro-Education*** 1994 John Garnsey (Bob Brotman) Kara Heide-Athletics*** John Giovando-Arts & Culture*** Jim Himmes-Education*** 1995 John Horan-Kates (Brian Nolan) John Rammuno-Athletics*** Marilyn McCray-Arts & Culture*** Susie Davis-Education*** 1996 Vi & Byron Brown (John Boll) 1997 Gil Giordano (Alison Knapp) 1998 Barbara Treat (Craig Tuber) 1999 Judy Alexander 2000 Pete Seibert (Peter May) 2001 Mary Louise Shaw (Vince Cook) 2002 Gerald Gallegos (Michael Balk) 2003 Cathy & Howard Stone (Suzy & Jim Donohue) 2004 Oscar Tang(Susan & Harry Frampton) 2005 Diana Donovan 2006 Chupa Nelson 2007 Erik & Kathy Borgen 2008 Jack Eck 2009 Beth Slifer 2010 Martha Head 2013 Ann Smead 2014 Amy & Steve Coyer 2015 Pat & Pete Frechette 2016 Mary Sue & Mike Shannon 2017 Jay Precourt 2019 Betsy and George Wiegers 2020 Donna Giordano 2021 Sheika Gramshammer *In 2018 the award dates shifted to reflect the new dates of the Black Diamond Ball, where the Award is presented each year. ** From 1990–2005 the Beaver Creek Citizen of the Year Award was awarded as an integrated aspect of the Vail Valley Citizen of the Year Award. Recipient indicated by parentheses. *** Indicates the three annual recipients of the Hornblower Award, given from 1992-95.