The mission of Leadership Steamboat Class of 2022-23 is to cultivate safety and inclusivity for the LGBTQIA2S+ community in Routt County and to raise funds for a future resource center*.
*Funds raised by Leadership Steamboat will be donated to Yampa Valley Pride with Better Tomorrow serving as the fiscal agent in support of creating a resource center where suicide prevention, youth services, counseling, education, temporary housing, and access to LGBTQIA2S+ specific healthcare services could be available.
The center will have three areas of focus including creating a safe space for LGBTQ people, fostering health, equity for LGBTQ people in this community and making sure health care services are accessible to this community, while also providing education that will help the community understand LGBTQ people, how to be welcoming and to be great allies.
The Board of Directors of Better Tomorrow has approved the creation of a new program serving the
LGBTQIA2S+ Community in the Yampa Valley.
Better Tomorrow, the Steamboat Springs 501(c)(3) responsible for operating Advocates of Routt County,
Brighter World Child Advocacy Center, and the recently launched COMMA Projects, collaborated on an in-
depth assessment of needs specific to the LGBTQIA2S+ community in our valley beginning over a year ago. The resulting report identified gaps in services for and in support of the community, which led to a long period of work to identify solutions able to address those needs.
Better Tomorrow Executive Director Mark Fitzgerald shares, “This new program will make Better Tomorrow
stronger across all our program offerings. It will make Steamboat a better place to live and visit for our queer
community, add sends a strong message to the larger Valley about our commitment to being a catalyst for
positive change. “ Fitzgerald added, “None of this would have been possible without the dedication,
commitment, and hard work of various community partners too numerous to list. I’m excited for the growth
of our offerings and the much-needed resources this program will provide.”
When creating the administrative umbrella of Better Tomorrow, organizational leadership did so with the
explicit intent of expanding services through the addition of independent programs that empower people and inspire courage. These programs utilize shared administrative and other systems through Better Tomorrow, freeing up program capacity to focus on their unique constituent needs.
The program proposal was created in coordination with Yampa Valley Pride and received the following
statement of support from Chair Chelsie Holmes: “The Yampa Valley Pride Committee strongly supports a
home in Better Tomorrow for an LGBTQIA2S+ Resource Center. This movement started at Better Tomorrow,
and... Better Tomorrow has continued to show deep and impactful solidarity with the LGBTQIA2S+
community. The community and our allies see and know that.”
The organization will shortly begin the search for a Program Director, who will be responsible for all
programmatic activities, including development of a program name and brand. Formal activities will follow,
including education and outreach work, a health equity focus, and development of a safe space for the
For more information about Better Tomorrow, visit www.bettertomorrowco.org. For questions about this
release contact Mark Fitzgerald, Better Tomorrow Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 2022 survey conducted by Yampa Valley Pride revealed that 85% of LGBTQIA2S+ respondents felt unsafe in Routt County.
LGBTQIA2S+ Community RoundTable 2022
The annual Leadership Steamboat program, facilitated by the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce, exists to create a foundation from which its graduates will grow their personal leadership skills and further expand their involvement within the Steamboat Springs community. It is designed to serve as the beginning of a long-term relationship with various aspects of Steamboat Springs, allowing class participants to learn about numerous segments of the community and develop an effective network of contacts.
A large part of the program is a group project of the class’ choice. Past Leadership Steamboat projects include Yampa Valley Gives Day, Bear Aware, Steamboat Bike Guide, recycling containers on Lincoln Ave, and many others. This year, the 2022-23 Leadership Steamboat class will collaborate with Yampa Valley Pride and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation Out and Proud Fund to provide LGBTQIA2S+ awareness and fundraising events during the first two weeks of June of 2023.
Yampa Valley Pride
Yampa Valley Pride was founded in 2021 with the purpose of increasing the visibility of the LGBTQIA2S+ community in the Yampa Valley, creating and sustaining annual pride events, and building community and connection between members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community in the Yampa Valley.
Founder and Chair of Yampa Valley Pride Chelsie Holmes said “It is so important for community leaders to stand up and send a message that LGBTQIA2S+ people belong in the Yampa Valley. I’m grateful to this year’s Leadership Steamboat class for setting an example and going above and beyond to make folks feel welcome. Since the founding of Yampa Valley Pride, a lot of issues and gaps in services for the LGBTQIA2S+ community have been identified, and Leadership Steamboat’s fundraising efforts gets us one step closer to having a dedicated resource center for this population.”
Out & Proud Yampa Valley Fund
The Out & Proud Yampa Valley Fund was established at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation in 2022, with a mission to provide funding for organizations, projects, and initiatives which support, advocate for, and advance the LGBTQIA2+ community in the Yampa Valley, its members, and allies.
Thanks to our funding partner, the Out & Proud Fund, the first $25,000 in donations will be matched!