Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ Launches Redesigned Website ℠ to Connect with Donors, Grant Candidates

November 17, 2014 – Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ is pleased to announce the launch of its redesigned website,  The new and improved version of Sky Ranch Foundation’s ℠ “home on the web” has been crafted to convey the foundation’s heritage, mission and ongoing efforts to serve at-risk boys and girls through grants to community-based care organizations.

“By updating our presence on the web, Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ has provided an improved destination to connect with the organization, support its mission or seek its support for worthwhile causes,” said Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ President Ralph Aguera.

In addition to providing information on the foundation’s long-standing support from distributors, retailers, suppliers, and other companies associated with the beverage alcohol industry, the site catalogues the foundation’s work to give at-risk youth a second chance by identifying and offering grants to efficient and effective programs focused on improving the quality of help available to these boys and girls.

Visitors to the site will notice streamlined menus, simple navigation and access to information on how to support Sky Ranch Foundation ℠, as well as how to apply for grant support from the foundation.  The site also provides information about the organization’s governance and its continued association with the beverage alcohol industry.

“As Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ continues to develop as a difference-maker in the lives of young boys and girls, we’re also evolving technologically as an organization to connect with those wo want to learn more about the foundation or those who wish to join the men and women of the beverage alcohol industry supporting Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ goals,” said Aguera.

Formed in 1961 and building on more than 50 years of tradition, Sky Ranch Foundation’s &#8480 funds have come largely from individuals and companies associated with the beer, wine and spirits industries.  Sky Ranch Foundation ℠ continues to strive to be the uniting force within the beverage alcohol industry for aid to at-risk youth and reflects the industry’s great concern and commitment – without commercial self-interest or promotion – to the youth of America.

Peggy Donovan Named Vice President Sky Ranch Foundation

August 12, 2014 – Sky Ranch Foundation (SRF) announced today that Foundation Director Peggy Donovan has been elevated to the position of Vice President on SRF’s Executive Committee.  Donovan, who has served as Secretary on the SRF board of directors, will bring her more than 40 years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry and a profound understanding of non-profits dedicated to helping troubled youth to the organization’s leadership team.

“We’re delighted to recognize Peggy’s dedication with this new role on the Sky Ranch Foundation Executive Committee,” said SRF President Ralph Aguera.  “Her passion for Sky Ranch, and her tireless personal support of community youth programs will contribute to the foundation’s mission to serve at-risk boys and girls.”

Donovan got her start in the beverage alcohol industry with Kobrand Corporation in 1962, spending thirty-two years with the company.  In 1994, she joined Wirtz Beverage Group, working as the assistant to Rocky Wirtz until her retirement in 2006.  During her time in the industry, she served as the national President of the World Association of Alcohol Beverage Industries (WAABI) from 1995-1999.  In addition to her vast experience within the beverage alcohol world, Donovan has been an engaged supporter of numerous charitable organizations.  A longtime member of the Alzheimer’s Association, she served as President of the Chicago chapter from 1990-1992.

With her affiliation with Sky Ranch dating back to the early 1990’s, Donovan has seen the organization go through numerous transitions – from a ranch for boys, then for girls, then back to boys, to Sky Ranch Foundation’s new focus and approach to helping troubled youth today.

“Seeing the positive impact that Sky Ranch had on those kids made me realize how important it is to help them,” said Donovan.  “It made me want to do more to give them a voice.”

True to her word, Donovan has been a volunteer guardian for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the 5th judicial circuit of Florida since 2007, and was named Guardian of the Year in 2011.  Her duties include monthly visits to children and acting as their voice in the court system.  She also serves as a board member of Voices for Children, a not-for-profit that assists the guardian program.

“Times have changed, and programs have changed, but we still have to use our resources to help abused and neglected children,” said Donovan.  “I’m thankful for this opportunity to be part of the Sky Ranch Foundation leadership team but regardless of my position, I believe in the Foundation’s mission and am committed supporting this tremendous organization.”

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.