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SAM Magazine—Aspen, Colo., May 9, 2013—The Environment Foundation, with primary funding provided by Aspen Snowmass employees, has made the largest grant in its 16-year history, donating $50,000 to protect 220,000 acres of Federal land from oil and gas development. The land is at Thompson Divide, outside of Carbondale, Colo. The grant is part of a total $118,000 in donations made this spring to 13 environmental projects.

“Thompson Divide is a national, not a local issue,” said Matt Hamilton, executive director of the Foundation. “It’s about whether we want to convert multiple-use land with huge economic benefit to single-use. It’s about where we ought to drill and where we should weigh competing benefits.” As a multi-use area, the Divide is said to support 300 jobs and generate $30 million in economic activity yearly.

The Foundation’s employee contributions are matched, in whole or part, by several other entities: Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Swire Coca-Cola. Since its inception, more than $2.2 million in grants have supported 401 projects.