Carbondale Chamber names Ascendigo Autism Services Non-Profit Business of the Year

The Carbondale Chamber recognizes Ascendigo Autism Services as Non-Profit Business of the Year. From left, Katie Montie, Carbondale Chamber; Dan Richardson, COO of Ascendigo; Julie Kaufman, director of Development of Ascendigo; and Kelcey Nichols, Carbondale Chamber board president.

Ascendigo Autism Services, a leading local nonprofit working to elevate the spectrum for individuals with autism, was recognized as the Non-Profit Business of the Year by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce during its Business After Hours gathering at the Third Street Center on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

“We had several nominations for Ascendigo,” Katie Montie of the Carbondale Chamber said of the award.

One of the largest employers in Carbondale, Ascendigo provides opportunities for growth and independence for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Ascendigo’s mission is to elevate the spectrum by empowering people, inspiring lives and shattering expectations. In 2019, Ascendigo provided customized services to over 225 individuals on the autism spectrum.

Founded in 2004 by Aspen resident Sallie Bernard as a summer sports camp (formerly known as Extreme Sports Camp), Ascendigo has expanded to offer winter camps, employment and residential services, in-home behavioral therapy for children, and life coaching. Not only does Ascendigo serve local individuals and families affected by autism, but the organization attracts clients from throughout the United States and beyond.

Ascendigo integrates people with autism into the community through participation in adventure sports, practicing basic life skills, community engagement, and compatible employment with local companies. The organization has several vocational partnerships with local employers throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

“Put in real life terms, you may see an Ascendigo client ordering a cup of latte from Bonfire Coffee, cleaning office space at CoVenture, skiing the slopes of Snowmass, or creating a pot at the Carbondale Clay Center — all with the help of a coach specifically trained in autism learning tools,” Ascendigo Director of Development Julie Kaufman said.

“Ascendigo has had a strong presence in this community for over 15 years,” said Peter Bell, Ascendigo’s president and CEO. “We are honored to be recognized by the Carbondale Chamber as a viable business with a meaningful mission and the unique ability to serve both our clients and the staff who support them.”

Ascendigo currently employs over 55 full- and part-time professionals as well as an additional 60-65 seasonal employees. For more information about Ascendigo Autism Services visit

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