Frequently Asked Questions

What does AEF do?

AEF is a fundraising organization that partners closely with school administrators to identify and fund extraordinary programs across our five schools -- Aspen Elementary School, Aspen Middle School, Aspen High School, Aspen Community School, and Aspen Cottage Preschool.

Why was AEF founded?

AEF was created by a small group of concerned parents in 1991 to raise money for the Aspen School District for the purpose of increasing the quality of the schools beyond what is possible with state funding.

What does AEF fund?

Over the last 25 years, AEF has invested more than $11 million on a broad range of programs, positions, and facilities that benefit K-12 students including: Language Arts; Academic Support; Technology; Music; Outdoor Education; Read With Me; Student Scholarships; Aeronautics; Robotics; Ascent Program; Music; Arts; International Baccalaureate Program; Science; Athletics; College Counseling and the College Fair. For more information, click here.

Why does AEF need to raise money?

AEF raises money to fund programs of distinction for our students. State dollars and taxes do not fully fund our schools. To maintain the excellence in our schools that Aspen residents have come to expect, we rely upon the generosity of the community to ensure that our students have access to exceptional educational experiences and resources.

Why doesn't the State of Colorado spend more on school funding?

In 1992, Colorado passed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), which bars the state government from any tax increase without voter approval and places strict limits on how much the government can spend. While TABOR creates an environment in which legislators need to appeal to Colorado residents for new taxes, it has had a negative impact on school funding. Funding for education has not kept up with inflation or the need to provide our children with 21st century learning opportunities. The gap between what the Aspen School District receives and what it needs has increased and will continue to widen going forward.

How is AEF governed?

AEF, led by Executive Director Cynthia Chase, is governed by a 20-member volunteer board comprised of local residents who are committed to working closely with the Aspen School District.

How much does AEF donate on an annual basis?

Annually, AEF typically donates between $400,000 - $700,000 to the Aspen School District in addition to granting funds to programs such as the College Fair and to community iniatives related to education.

How much should I give to AEF?

Our goal is to get 100% participation from all families in the district since every student benefits from the programs that AEF funds. All donations - no matter how much - make a difference and contribute to the vitality of the educational experiences at our five schools.

Can I select the program that I want to support?

Yes. If you would like to make a directed gift, please contact Executive Director Cynthia Chase at AEF (