Sky Ranch Foundation Begins Delivering Aid to Charities for At-Risk Kids; Announces Reorganization Plans

September 28, 2011 – Sky Ranch Foundation, which has been coordinating beverage industry support for troubled kids since 1961, has launched a new phase of operations with over $200,000 in annual funding for quality programs delivering care to boys and girls who need help. The first several grant awards are being announced now. Additional grant applications are under review and funding announcements are expected in the next few months.

Renewed Commitment to Kids

Earlier this year, Sky Ranch Foundation announced that, due to government budget cuts, the States were significantly reducing the type of care offered to kids in trouble. As a result, Sky Ranch for Boys, which had been the Foundation’s exclusive beneficiary since 1961, was closing. In the wake of this unfortunate development, the leaders of Sky Ranch Foundation rededicated themselves to finding new ways to help programs helping kids. As Foundation President Ralph Aguera puts it, “We want to do what we can to help make sure other outstanding programs don’t meet the same fate that befell Sky Ranch for Boys. These are tough times for everyone in this field. I believe there is enough care, concern and generosity among the people in the alcohol beverage industry that we will be able to continue making an important difference.”

Grants Approved!

Under the leadership of Grant Review Committee Chairman George McCarthy, the Foundation has examined nearly a dozen compelling requests for funding that have been received in just the past few months.

The first commitment made was for $75,000 in support for a surviving part of the former Sky Ranch program. Based in Sioux City, Iowa, what is now known as Sky Ranch Behavioral Services is staffed by experienced individuals who are available to the kids they help on a 24/7 basis. They work with kids who appear headed for serious trouble to try to solve their problems before they require out of home placement. For boys and girls who do wind up being sent away to a residential correctional program, the team works to reintegrate them back into the community, continue their education, find employment, resolve family conflicts and stay out of trouble. The program even has regular sessions with parents to try to improve parenting skills, and a reported 89% of involved parents are doing just that! Meanwhile, 34 young people have been helped by the program since direct assistance from Sky Ranch Foundation began in July 2011. Over 97% have remained in school or completed their education and are, as hoped, still living at home.

Sky Ranch Foundation will also make two grants to California-based programs helping kids with special needs. The grants, total $50,000 for the current year.

Pops Kids, based in Woodside, California, specializes in offering Conductive Training to empower children with motor challenges (such as brought on by Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Bifida, and Childhood Stroke) so that they can live their lives as independently as possible and participate in mainstream society to the fullest. Five wait-listed kids from low income families will be able to receive the special training thanks to the Sky Ranch Foundation grant.

The other California grant recipient is Pacific Lodge Boys Home of Woodland Hills, California. Pacific Lodge has been building productive lives for young men 13-18 for almost a century. They have progressively evolved into a comprehensive residential substance abuse and mental health treatment center facilitating the successful rehabilitation of youth who have experienced acute trauma, violence and abandonment from their families of origin.

Foundation Reorganizes to Lower Costs

According to Mr. Aguera, Sky Ranch Foundation is also making organizational changes to help it perform its new mission. “We have asked the professional money management team at Merrill Lynch to manage our process of grant application solicitation, review and funding to help assure thorough evaluation of all requests and careful distribution of all funds. They will work with our Grant Review Committee chaired by George McCarthy.”

Foundation members will continue to solicit funds for the Foundation from their companies and associates, to help grow the asset base.

“During the next few months we will all be working to make the smoothest possible transition and to put the Foundation on the soundest possible footing to continue our important work. I encourage all members and friends of the alcohol beverage industry who share our concern for young people to visit our web site at to learn more about our efforts and how to help!”

Sky Ranch Foundation to Aid Charities for Troubled Teens; East & West Coast Events in September Launch Funds Drive

August 9, 2011 – Beverage industry members and friends will have two important opportunities in September to renew their support of industry efforts helping troubled kids. Two key events will raise funds for Sky Ranch Foundation, which has been leading industry efforts in this area since 1960. 

West Coast – Live & Silent Auctions Highlight Week-long Festival

The first event is part of the Spirits of Mexico Festival hosted by the Polished Palate in Old Town San Diego, September 11-18. Rare spirits and other items worth more than $30,000 have been donated for a live auction on Friday evening, September 16 and a silent auction on Saturday, September 17, with all profits going to Sky Ranch Foundation! Learn more about this amazing week-long festival at

East Coast – A Day of Golf & Live Auction Action!

On September 26, the 25th Annual Metro DC Charity Golf Tournament & Auction is being sponsored by Sky Ranch Foundation at the National Golf Club at Tantallon in Fort Washington, Maryland. Leading industry companies and associations have worked together to make this event one of the most important annual sources of support for Sky Ranch Foundation. Featuring a $100,000 Hole In One contest sponsored by Diageo, the tournament offers a great day of golf, a hot lunch and hosted bar in addition to some great auction items donated by Sky Ranch Foundation’s many friends. Hole sponsorships are still available. The deadline for golfers to sign up is September 20. See for details or c all foundation headquarters at 540-891-7201.

After 50 years of coordinating alcohol beverage industry support for Sky Ranch for Boys, the Sky Ranch Foundation has now broadened their scope to offer financial help to worthy programs helping troubled boys and girls nationwide. This move came following the decision by Sky Ranch for Boys to close their doors earlier this year in the face of trends favoring community-based programs over remote facilities such as Sky Ranch operated. Funds raised through these and other initiatives will help make sure that troubled kids get the second chance they deserve.

Sky Ranch Foundation Renews Commitment to Troubled Youth; Will Aid Programs Giving Boys and Girls a 2nd Chance Nationwide

May 6, 2011 – Concluding more than 3 months of internal study and consultations brought on by the decision of Sky Ranch for Boys to cease operations due to declining placements, Sky Ranch Foundation has renewed its determination to make an important contribution to programs nationwide that are helping troubled boys and girls.  A Strategic Planning Committee under former Foundation Chairman George McCarthy has worked since mid-January to identify and define the right new mission for the organization. Foundation President, Ralph Aguera announced the new Mission Statement:

“Building on a 50+ year tradition, Sky Ranch Foundation is committed to giving troubled youth a second chance by identifying and offering financial aid to efficient and effective programs focused on improving the present quality of help available to these youth. We will continue to strive to be the uniting force for aid to troubled youth within the alcohol beverage and related industries and reflect our industry’s great concern and commitment without commercial self interest or promotion to the youth of America.”

Mr. Aguera also announced the first grant awarded under the new plan is a $75,000 commitment to a surviving piece of the Sky Ranch Program – the Sky Ranch Reunification Program in Sioux City, Iowa. He described the Reunification program as “A highly effective and innovative project helping kids at risk to avoid the need for out of home placement, and helping those who have been sent to residential programs continue their progress once they return home. We’re especially happy to announce that the Sky Ranch Reunification Program is already working with several troubled young ladies, (in addition to young men) helping them turn their lives around.”

The Foundation notes that there are over 100,000 young people who have been sent to residential placement programs nationwide. Many states are cutting resources for helping these young people, raising the risk many will fail to correct their behavior and present even more serious danger to society and themselves once they become adults.  Under their new plan, Sky Ranch Foundation will consider grant requests from qualified programs around the country. A $56,000 contribution has already been received and has been earmarked to help qualified programs in California. The Foundation expects to resume normal fundraising appeals very soon.

Ralph Aguera summed up developments this way; “We are heartbroken to see the end of Sky Ranch for Boys, but we are committed to keep doing everything we can with the support of the generous people of our industry to make a real difference in the lives of the coming generation, to make sure as many troubled kids as possible get the help they need to become responsible, productive adults.”

After 50 Years of Service, Sky Ranch for Boys to Close; Sky Ranch Foundation Continues Commitment to Troubled Kids

 January, 6, 2011 – Sky Ranch For Boys issued the following statement today:

We are deeply saddened to report that our program will cease providing residential treatment and educational services for troubled teens in the first part of 2011. This painful decision was a result of the trend away from the kind of residential treatment program Sky Ranch offers in favor of less expensive, community based alternatives for kids in trouble and at risk. The Ranch is currently caring for less than 20 boys (down from 40 a few years ago) and that number is expected to decline sharply in the weeks ahead as states implement new budget policies. Although exacerbated by the recession, this does not appear to be a short term trend.

Sky Ranch Foundation leadership was closely consulted on the decision. The Foundation has assured the Sky Ranch for Boys Board that they will give as much help as possible so that the remaining boys at Sky Ranch are well cared for as the program is wound down in coming months. The Foundation will also assist the Sky Ranch Board as appropriate to make sure the dedicated employees of Sky Ranch are provided for.

Everyone concerned recognizes the great impact this will have on the local community as well as the staff and their families. Every conceivable alternative to closing was examined by Sky Ranch management, the Sky Ranch Board of Directors and by the leadership of the Foundation. Even with the continued generosity of Sky Ranch Foundation supporters who have contributed well over $20 million to help Sky Ranch in the past 50 years, the ranch needs more boys than are likely to be sent there.

Sky Ranch for Boys has been helping troubled kids since 1960, primarily on a campus and ranch owned by Sky Ranch Foundation on the South Dakota/Montana border. Sky Ranch Foundation, whose membership and contributors are primarily associated with the alcohol beverage industry, has provided the facility and as much as 35% of the annual operating budget of Sky Ranch for Boys since shortly after the Foundation was established in 1961.

The Sky Ranch Foundation plans to continue helping troubled youth by offering grants to outstanding programs across the United States. Sky Ranch Foundation President, Ralph Aguera said; “The decision to close Sky Ranch was extremely difficult for all concerned. For 50 years this program has been helping kids who others had given up on. We believe the positive spirit of Sky Ranch deserves to continue and to guide us in our efforts to help those in need. We will retain the name Sky Ranch Foundation even after the Ranch closes. This will help us and those who support our work to always remember what brought us together and to strive for the highest standards in all that we do. The people of the alcohol beverage industry are tremendously generous and we hope they will continue supporting Sky Ranch Foundation as we move into a new phase of our mission.  Our goal is to continue and expand the great legacy of Sky Ranch by supporting the very best programs for troubled girls and boys nationwide.”