Putting Education First: Raifie Bass on Feeding the Local Aspen Community

During the times of COVID-19, students are going through lots of dramatic changes, changes that involve more than just learning from home. Douglas Elliman agent Raifie Bass saw the need to give back to his community by helping the local school children who rely on subsidized lunches during the school day—children who don’t have access to these meals now that schools are closed. Elliman Insider sat down with Raifie to explore why he thinks education is the foundation of any community and how he is giving back to students.

Elliman Insider: What are some ways you’re giving back to the community?

RAIFIE BASS: I’m the president of the Aspen Education Foundation (AEF). Our mission is to raise money for shortfall of inadequate state funding. We have switched all of our efforts to raising money/food donations to help feed kids. We have 20% of our local school children on free or subsidized lunches. With the closing of school they are now missing five meals plus snacks a week. We need to keep our children/families fed and healthy especially during these challenging times.

EI: What’s inspired you to donate your time or efforts to that particular cause?

RB: I’ve volunteered my time and money to a number of different charities over the years. I’ve always felt that education is the foundation of every community. I got involved in AEF through a client; I wanted to feel like I was moving the needle, not just spinning my wheels.

EI: What’s the best way you think we can provide emotional and motivational support to each other through all of this?

RB: Personal connection: call/DM/text. Zoom meetings are very helpful to see people’s faces so that you can read their emotions and lend support if needed.

EI: What are some ways you think others can give back while still practicing social distancing?

RB: Support local business that are suffering. Donate money, canned goods or your time if you are healthy. Reach out and recognize people on the frontlines by telling them how much you support them.

EI: When business goes back to usual, how do you think you can still maintain your sense of community and continue to give back?

RB:  I’m fortunate to live in a small community—the Aspen community has given me and my family so much support over the years. I will always continue to give back.

EI: People have been coming together to support each other during this time; have there been some examples/moments that have inspired you?

RB: Multiple moments have been inspiring: our food drives and our local restaurants donating all of their food after they were forced to close. Local communities taking the lead because of the leadership vacuum and reaction from the top.

Donate to the Aspen Education Foundation today.

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