Craig and Kathleen Wasserman have been named the 2023 Philanthropists of the Year for their outstanding contributions and dedication to various causes in the Yampa Valley.
The Wassermans’ impact on the Yampa Valley has been immense, and they have supported numerous organizations without seeking recognition or fanfare. They give generously financially and of themselves with their time, expertise and energy, but lot of what the Wasserman’s do is quiet. They are humble about their contributions and the multiple organizations they have supported and served. If you ask them, they will deflect the question, because they don’t want it to be about them. They just want to see the valley and its people flourish.
Since they moved to the valley in 2006, Kathleen is most proud to have co-founded the Choose When initiative, which provides funding for long-acting reversible contraception to women, regardless of their ability to pay, to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies. This program has been adopted by Caring for Colorado and is scaling state-wide to benefit women across Colorado. Kathleen’s leadership and passion have made her a role model for those seeking to make a difference in the lives of women in this community and beyond.
Kathleen served as the President of the Board for Perry-Mansfield for many years, including during their 100th anniversary and through a period of significant growth and change. She enjoys volunteering with the Catamount Ranch & Club Scholarship Committee, and serves on the Board of the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Craig contributes his time and expertise advising and consulting for numerous nonprofits in the community, helping them with general business organization, staff motivation, and relationship-building between management, staff and board members. Utilizing a background in psychology and business consulting, he has assisted local organizations such as the City of Steamboat Springs and has supported nonprofit development programming offered through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. He is a former Trustee for YVCF, is currently on the board of Strings Music Festival, and serves on the advisory board for Catamount Ranch and Club.
They have a deep appreciation for the valley’s sense of community where people care for one another, regardless of socio-economic differences. For them, philanthropy is not just about making donations but rather giving back in meaningful ways to make life better for others and solve problems in the community.
As Kathleen says, “The valley holds you in the palm of its hand. For us, it was a warm, welcoming and embracing place. The Yampa Valley has a small town feel that is very comfortable to me, but it also has a level of cultural experience, educational opportunities, and engagement among the people who live here, and we’ve found it to be very fulfilling.”
“This valley attracts people who share an appreciation for this place. Yes, there are those who are exceedingly wealthy and there are those who are exceedingly poor. But the common denominator is that people here are all willing to give of themselves, however they can. It seems that despite our differences, everyone here is committed to taking care of their neighbors,” says Craig.
When asked about what being a philanthropist means to him, Craig says that he doesn’t consider himself a philanthropist – he is just sharing what he is good at with others and is hopeful that it can help organizations and ultimately help our community.
Prompted with the same question, Kathleen shared that the term ‘philanthropist’ can be perceived to only apply to wealthy people who make big donations. “But that’s not how we think of ourselves. We are just regular people who are trying to do things to make life a little better and hopefully solving some problems along the way.”
Craig and Kathleen Wasserman epitomize the true spirit of philanthropy. Their commitment to making a difference in the Yampa Valley has earned them well-deserved recognition as the Philanthropists of the Year.