Sky Ranch Awards Announces Grant for Youth Counselor Positions at Boys & Girls Haven

Grant for Youth Counselor Positions at Boys & Girls HavenJuly 22 2013 –Sky Ranch Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant to support two Youth Counselor positions that are integral to the success of Boys & Girls Haven’s Campus School. On average, children entering the school are two to three grade levels behind in their education. Many of them also have learning disabilities or emotional behavioral disorders, or both.

By assigning two Youth Counselors to actively serve in the school, the staff-to-student ratio is significantly increased. This allows for greater supervision, safety, and one-to-one assistance, as well as providing positive role modeling and counseling. This grant will support the educational success of approximately 90 children who attend the campus school as residents of the campus-based programs.

“The generosity of Sky Ranch Foundation is humbling. Together, we share a commitment to give every troubled child the opportunity for success and a fulfilling future. Our campus school is the cornerstone to helping our kids catch up to their peers and to shatter any barriers standing between them and educational success,” said Jeff Hadley, CEO of Boys & Girls Haven.

Boys & Girls Haven is a nonprofit organization that strives to shelter, heal and teach struggling young people to become productive and healthy members of our community. Since 1950, Boys & Girls Haven has transformed the lives of more than 3,500 abandoned, abused and neglected children.

Boys & Girls Haven is more than a home. We heal the scars left by abuse and neglect. We teach struggling youth to be successful as they embark on lives of independence. We change children’s lives by providing stability, education, and new, productive skills that will lead to success in adulthood.

Sky Ranch Foundation Joins with Distilled Spirits Council to Support Wounded Warriors Family Support Program

September 30, 2013 – Keeping with its mission of supporting boys and girls who need help, Sky Ranch Foundation was proud to lend its support to the Wounded Warrior Family Support program with a $20,000 contribution.  The amount was matched by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), and along with other funds raised at DISCUS’ annual Spirit of Mt. Vernon Gala, totaled $75,000 for the program which provides support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations.

“A number of terrific organizations are doing great work to help our returning soldiers who were wounded in combat operations, and rightfully so,” said Sky Ranch Foundation Chairman Ralph Aguera.  “We should never overlook are the needs of the families of these wounded warriors, especially their kids.”

Sky Ranch Foundation’s coordination with DISCUS was not a matter of coincidence.  The foundation was established and energized by the support of companies and organizations associated with the beverage alcohol industry, including DISCUS’ member companies.

“A generous grant of $20,000 from the Sky Ranch Foundation made it possible for the annual Mount Vernon Industry event to reach its goal of raising $75,000 for the Wounded Warrior Family Support program,” said Dr. Peter Cressy, President & CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).  “Colonel John Folsom, the founder of this important program, was extremely grateful and thankful as were all DISCUS members.”

Wounded Warriors Family Support originated from a small-scale, pass-the-hat campaign initiated by Col. John Folsom in 2003 benefitting U.S. soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany — the first stop for wounded military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home. From those humble beginnings, Wounded Warriors Family Support has grown into a national organization serving wounded veterans and their families across the country.  It is an independent nonprofit organization that addresses the many ways – emotionally, psychologically and financially – that families of American casualties suffer.  By working with military and nonprofit partners, it identifies and fills gaps in services for wounded veterans and their families.

“We look forward to Sky Ranch Foundation’s contribution making a difference for the loved ones of our brave and dedicated military men and women,” said Aguera.

Sky Ranch Foundation Announces $12,000 Grant for Launch of POPSKIDS Achievement Academy

July 22, 2013 – Sky Ranch Foundation, a charitable organization established through the support of companies and organizations associated with the beverage alcohol industry, announced today that it has made a $12,000 grant to Peninsula Outreach Programs (POPS) KIDS, a nonprofit organization providing educational, financial and support services to Conductive Education centers and children with motor disabilities and their families.

Founded in 1993, POPSKIDS has become the primary funding source for pilot programs and permanent Conductive Education Centers in California’s Bay Area. Conductive Education focuses on the whole person recognizing physical, social, intellectual and emotional aspects of learning. It requires active learning and participation in an attempt to overcome motor disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injuries and stroke. POPSKIDS programs are designed to empower the participants to reach for the stars and find their personal best.

“This incredibly generous grant from the Sky Ranch Foundation has made it possible for POPSKIDS to immediately launch the Achievement Academy,” said Ursula Miller, President of POPSKIDS. “The Achievement Academy has been designed to build self-esteem and to provide much needed fun and recreation in a nurturing summer camp setting. It is now in full swing at six summer camps through United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay.”

Kids participating in POPSKIDS Achievement Academy are recognized at the conclusion of the academy session with achievement awards that highlight campers who epitomize “life without limits” and those with the best attitude despite any physical challenges or limitations they may face.

Sky Ranch Foundation joins Southern Wine & Spirits of California as beverage alcohol industry organizations supporting POPSKIDS. Each year, Southern Wine and Spirits of California hosts a charity golf tournament to raise funds for POPSKIDS’ programs. This year’s tournament raised $100,000 for the non-profit.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help POPSKIDS provide programs that improve the quality of life of boys and girls with motor disabilities,” said Ralph Aguera, President of the Sky Ranch Foundation. “It’s heartening to join with Southern Wine and Spirits to take a targeted approach to giving that magnifies the impact of the funds.”

“Thanks to the generosity of the beverage alcohol industry, Southern Wine and Spirits and the Sky Ranch Foundation, we have been able to transform lives,” said Miller. “With their help, we are empowering motor challenged children to gain confidence and self-esteem.”

“Together, we will move forward, one child, one step, one success story at a time.”

Sky Ranch Foundation Announces Financial Support for Red Hook Initiative Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

November 28, 2012 – Sky Ranch Foundation, a charitable organization established more than 50 years ago with generous gifts from companies and organizations associated with the beverage alcohol industry, announced today that it is making a $10,000 donation to the Red Hook Initiative (RHI) in support of the Initiative’s Hurricane Sandy relief work in the Red Hook (Brooklyn, NY) community.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, the Red Hook Initiative transitioned rapidly from a youth development organization to the epicenter of relief work in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.  Located across the street from the Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s largest public housing development, RHI continues to provide pro bono legal and medical care, hot meals, emergency supplies, mental health support, assistance with FEMA applications, and referrals for shelter to thousands of residents, of all ages, seven days a week since Hurricane Sandy hit.

“After learning about the Red Hook Initiative’s emergency transition from a youth support organization in a low-income area with high unemployment to a relief organization for those in the community affected by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, the Sky Ranch Foundation Board of Directors didn’t hesitate to support RHI’s work,” said Ralph Aguera, President of the Sky Ranch Foundation.

Since 1961, Sky Ranch Foundation has identified and offered financial aid to organizations that, like the Red Hook Initiative, provide effective programs focused on improving the quality of help available to at-risk youth.  RHI offers comprehensive programming for middle school and high school students, and young adults.  These programs provide these young people with opportunities to develop skills and receive support in health, education, and employment, all while learning how to be engaged and active members of their own community.

“Our hearts, and those of the beverage alcohol industry, go out to those who have lost so much, and the families that are bravely dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster,” said Aguera.  “Though the initial crisis has passed, many of those in this community have lost so much and have little to fall back on other than the staff and good work of the Red Hook Initiative.”

Sky Ranch Behavioral Services Recipient of Foundation Grant

February 17, 2012 – Sky Ranch Behavioral Services (SRBS) has been selected as the first recipient of a foundation grant from the Sky Ranch Foundation. Sky Ranch Behavioral Services of Siouxland has been associated with Sky Ranch Foundation for over 30 years. The professional staff provides at-risk youth with the following:

  • In home services for youth and families that are struggling with issues related to communication, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, anger control, emotional regulation and conflict resolution
  • In home services to children prior to out of home placement, which enables children to remain in the home
  • Transitional services for out of home placements – serving the client and the family to reintegrate the child back into the home after placement

Research establishes that youth receiving in-home services are 50% less likely to be placed out of the home for treatment. Research also states that youth who have the highest level of success after treatment and do not re-offend are those that have the support of quality transitional and in-home services.

The Strategic Planning Committee – Sky Ranch Foundation under Foundation Chairman, George McCarthy – has worked since January, 2011 to identify and define the right mission for the organization. Building on a tradition of 50+ years aiding troubled youth, the foundation’s new mission remains committed to prompting a positive environment for the youth of America through grant funding. Although there will be an end to the Foundation’s quality residential treatment center, the generous people of their membership are committed to making a real difference in the lives of the coming generation.

The Sky Ranch Foundation has committed to support Sky Ranch Behavioral Services in the future and will continue to build the relationship between Sky Ranch Behavioral Services and the Sky Ranch Foundation. The Foundation strives to get as many troubled kids as possible the help they need to become responsible, productive adults.

Ralph Aguera and George McCarthy, members of the Sky Ranch Foundation Executive Committee, visited Sky Ranch Behavioral Services in August. They have an existing working relationship with Juvenile Court Services Chief Gary Niles, Department of Human Services staff and members of the Sky Ranch Behavioral Services staff.

HopeFoal Project™ Receives $20,000 Grant From the Sky Ranch Foundation

December 12, 2011 – Medicine Horse Programis pleased to announce receipt of a $20,000 grant supporting our HopeFoal Project™ from the Sky Ranch Foundation. Sky Ranch Foundation, has been coordinating alcohol beverage industry support for at-risk kids since 1961.

HopeFoal Project™: This award-winning program partners rescued foals with depressed and anxious teens. The teens work with trained therapists and horse handlers to help gentle the foals. In the process, both foal and teen are healed.

For more than 11 years, Medicine Horse Program has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of adolescents, families, and adults through unique equine-assisted experiences. We provide group and individual therapy sessions that focus on healing. Individual and group psychotherapy sessions are offered. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Our services meet the particular needs of low-income individuals referred to us by local city and county agencies. Vulnerable youth populations are an emphasis at Medicine Horse Program.

“We are thrilled to have the financial support from the Sky Ranch Foundation,” says Kathy Johnson, Executive Director of Medicine Horse Program. “We have more children in need than ever before. The cost of hay is soaring, expenses are up and donations are down due to the economy. We need these generous donations to provide the quality of services for which we are nationally renowned.”

Sky Ranch Foundation – 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.”

This donation is in memory of Harry G. Wiles (1945-2010), by his friends and associates in the Sky Ranch Foundation, American Beverage Licensees, and throughout the hospitality industry. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Harry knew how horses can help kids. We lend our support to the Medicine Horse Program to help continue this important work.

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.”