Built to Serve07/06/2023 07:00AM ● By Sophie Dingle
From Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2023.
Advocacy. Partnership. Impact.
These three words are carved into the stone above the entrance of the brick building on Oak Street that is home to the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation. It’s a reminder to those who walk through the door each day what their mission is: to serve.
The Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation provides funding for local organizations through partnerships and initiatives that work to address a community need. Their focus on improving quality of life by increasing equitable access starts right here, in this building.
Inside, the office is full of clean lines, minimalist interior design and bright, open rooms with plenty of natural light. When CSFF’s founders, Sara and Michael Craig-Scheckman, bought the building in 2017, it was on its last legs. But Sara saw the potential to renovate it into a space that could serve the community for years to come.
We wanted to create a space that had flexibility with use,” Sara explains. “It had to be peaceful and welcoming and have the ability to facilitate a lot of good community dialogue.”
Working with Fox Construction and architect Bill Rangitsch, the previous building came down and a new vision was brought to life.
Each aspect of the new building was meticulously planned. Materials, like the hardwood floors and the marble surrounding the downstairs fireplace, were expected to stand the test of time. The entire first floor is accessible to those in a wheelchair, with features like a lower front desk area and a roll-in steam shower in the bathroom. A large, open kitchen rovides an inviting space for hosting events. The room known as the “zen room” consists of a wall made entirely of leafy green plants and offers a peaceful reprieve from the stress of the outside world.
Bonnie Hernandez, who is in charge of impact for the foundation, says, “The funder/grant recipient dynamic can be difficult. When we have funding conversations, we always make a beeline for the zen room; it’s a comforting environment in which to talk about difficult things.”
In warmer months, the outdoor deck and patio – complete with a firepit and bar area – can be used for meetings in the sun, parties or as a spot to eat lunch in the fresh air. A bike rack on the outside wall invites employees and visitors to get around in true Steamboat style.
Plants are prevalent and paintings by local artists adorn the walls. Upstairs, the offices are homey with dog beds, exposed brick walls, couches used for impromptu meeting spots, and in Sara’s office, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Storage spaces – like employee lockers – are functional while still being aesthetically pleasing, and an upstairs fitness room provides space for employees to workout with a private Pilates instructor.
We work from the inside out to be well and build from there,” Sara says. “We want to set the example for others to follow. When you feel good about your work and you feel valued, it’s really authentic for you to then open the door and invite people in because you’re excited, you’re connected, you’re engaged, and it’s genuine and people feel that. We work hard at that.”
The emphasis on partnership is a bright beacon throughout the building as the office provides a soothing space not only for CSFF employees, but for their partner organizations – to work, to facilitate change and to make the community a stronger place.
The building was built to last, creating a space that is functional for today but that can also accommodate future growth.
“The building isn’t about us,” Sara says, “it’s about how we can serve our community.”