Solomon and RISE Fund Founders on the Evolution of Youth United

In 2016, Beano Solomon had a vision. She noticed that the participants of local youth ski programs and other extracurricular activities didn’t reflect the demographics of our town, and she set out on a mission to address this. Beano’s goal of bringing the community together through youth activities has proven to be a successful model for increasing inclusion in our community. Over the past seven years, Solomon Fund has significantly increased Latino participation in over thirty local youth programs.

In early 2020, Molly and Kevin Efrusy, inspired by the work of Solomon Fund, kickstarted a similar effort at Park City High School with the goal of eliminating barriers to extracurricular participation for students whose families are navigating financial hardship.

In total, these programs have helped hundreds of students participate in extracurricular activities from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, increasing access through scholarships, gear, outreach, and community engagement.

The growth and impact of these two programs led to their integration into one powerful and unified program, now named Youth United. Park City Community Foundation would never have been able to make this program possible without our generous founders: Beano Solomon and Molly and Kevin Efrusy.

We asked each a few questions about the evolution.

Why do you feel this is an important issue in our community?

“Our goal is to see children of different backgrounds sitting together in the lunchroom,” said Beano. “All children should feel like they belong. We are a very privileged community and together we can ensure that ALL children are included in ALL activities.”

“Activities are where real relationship building and friendships occur across social divides in our community,” added Molly. “But there are real economic barriers around fees, travel, and equipment. These barriers keep kids isolated, prevent many from developing their passions, and deprive our teams of great talent and enthusiasm. It isn’t terribly expensive to solve this problem, and the spillover effects of bringing people together and tapping additional talent pools are extensive and strengthen our community.”

These programs, that have now merged, have been an amazing success. What inspires you about the future possibilities of Youth United?

Molly and Kevin said they are “excited that we now have a unified program that serves all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.”

Beano is looking forward to further serving hardworking families that should feel included in our broader community. “We should value their families–their parents for keeping all our houses clean, our yards mowed and food cooked when we feel like eating out,” she said.

How can this program grow? 

“I hope these initiatives continue to thrive, but that can only happen with monetary donations. We need others to join us,” Beano said.

“I hope that the program will grow organically in response to the needs we’re seeing in the community and those expressed by the youth with whom we’re partnering,” Molly answered.

Learn more about Youth United and how to get involved »

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