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What is the Hurst Community Initiative? 

Generously funded by Bob and Soledad Hurst, the Hurst Community Initiative seeks to promote dialogue, increase understanding, and facilitate opportunities for meaningful collaboration – among the communities of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys (Parachute to Aspen, Colorado).

We believe that individuals are most resilient as integral members of communities that promote equity, inherent belonging, justice, and civic engagement.


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Distance: 80 Mile Corridor​

Area: 4,000 Square Miles​

Total Population: < 90,000 Total​

Working Class: Tourism & Oil/Gas​

White:                           +/- 70%​

Hispanic/Latinx:           +/- 30%​

Other Race/Ethnicity:          3%​

Immigrants:                   15-18%​

Children Under 18 yo:   20,000​

Free & Reduced Lunch Qualifying Students:

Aspen School District:              5%

Roaring Fork School District: 43%

RE-2 School District:               45%

Garfield District 16:                 58%


Garfield Self-Sufficiency Standard:     $75, 239

Garfield Median Household Income: $69,161


Eagle Self-Sufficiency Standard:          $76, 608

Eagle Median Household Income:      $79, 556


Pitkin Self-Sufficiency Standard:           $95, 667

Pitkin Median Household Income:       $74, 576

Pervasive Regional Challenges:


Fair, Equitable & Affordable Access to Quality

• Food & Housing

• Medical Healthcare & Mental Health Services

• Preschool & Childcare

• Skills-Based Training & Professional Development

• Diversity of Competitive Career Opportunities

• Living Wage | Financial Self-Sufficiency

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Aspen Institute Hurst Community Initiative Leadership and Advisors

Leadership & Program Advisors

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A Colorado native, Evan Zislis joins Aspen Institute with over twenty years in the Roaring Fork Valley working as an educator, social entrepreneur and community advocate. With a career focused on building relationships through program development and organizational leadership, Evan’s expansive network in the public and private sectors strategically positions him to launch and direct the Hurst Community Initiative, targeting public policy and regional populations hit hardest by the defining challenges of our time. Evan lives with his wife and daughter in Carbondale, Colorado.

Evan Zislis  

Director of Community Engagement                                                             970.366.2532

[click on each for more information]

Cristal Logan

Cristal Logan  

VP, Aspen Community Programs

& Engagement

Elliot Gerson

Elliot Gerson  

EVP, Policy & Public Programs

International Partners

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Chris Estes
Co-Executive Director
Community Strategies Group

Steve Patrick

Stephen Patrick

VP & Executive Director

Forum for Community Solutions

Domenika Lynch

Domenika Lynch

Executive Director

Latinos and Society Program

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Ida Rademacher
VP, Executive Director

Financial Security Program

Anne Mosle

Anne Mosle

VP & Executive Director


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Frederick Riley
Executive Director
Weave: The Social Fabric Project

Todd Breyfogle

Todd Breyfogle

Managing Director

Executive Leadership Seminars

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Aspen Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the greatest challenges of our time.

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