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Bernie and Suzanne Scharf: A Lifetime of Giving Back

Philanthropy is instilled in some people at a young age, and longtime Vail Valley resident Bernie Scharf is one of those people.

“When I was in junior high school, the Leukaemia Society was looking for fundraising volunteers,” he remembers. “I went door to door, home to home, and was successful at it.”

And so began a lifetime of giving back. Recently, Bernie made a generous unrestricted gift to Vail Health to support the exceptional services the organization provides to a community that needs them. Since Vail has grown as a community, he believes commitments must be made to ensure necessary services are available locally rather than traveling to Denver.

Bernie gave an unrestricted gift because he was confident the Board of Directors would allocate the money in the right way. He also believes in maintaining involvement in the organizations he supports. Bernie specifically mentions Dr. Jack Eck, who he feels was always very dedicated to his patients, as well as Vail Health Shaw Cancer Center and Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health as crucial to the well-being of our valley.

Philanthropy In The Forefront

Prioritizing philanthropy and making a difference have always been important to Bernie and Suzanne. The couple arrived in Vail in 1987, which led to them buying a home in Beaver Creek. “We bought in the summertime, and the following winter was the first time I skied,” he recalls. “There’s nothing like starting in your 40s.”

Currently, the Scharfs split their time between Colorado and Florida. They are both entrepreneurial, have a vast interest in real estate, and love to travel. Their interest in travel includes visiting countries such as Uganda and Rwanda that conserve animal habitats and ensure their survival. Whether Bernie considers himself retired, he says, “I’m working on all different things and feel that every day should be a learning experience.”

Giving That Advances the Mission

In addition to Vail Health, Bernie and Suzanne support Roundup River Ranch and Bravo! Vail. Suzanne and Bernie, both Roundup River Ranch founding board members, say their philanthropic contributions primarily focus on children and health issues, but they also support music and education.

Looking back on their philanthropic contributions, Bernie says, “The object of giving is that it sustains itself forever and continues to perform its mission. If you have something great going, you want it to go on forever and be able to support it even if you’re not there.”

He adds, “There’s giving for today, there’s giving for tomorrow, there’s giving for forever. We stay involved to ensure we’re there if nonprofits need our help. Contributing to worthwhile causes has a ripple effect, like throwing a stone into the water. Our goal is to improve situations for a long time to come.”

“There’s giving for today, there’s giving for tomorrow, there’s giving for forever.”Bernie Scharf

Your unrestricted gift helps us react quickly to the changing needs of our community by providing all our patients the high-quality care they have come to expect.


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