This week’s Aspen Times Weekly cover story focuses on the challenges nonprofits face during the coronavirus pandemic. Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization with local roots and year-round programming in Aspen, responded to the following questions from this newspaper by email.
Aspen Times: While some of the Institute’s biggest events of the summer in Aspen — Ideas Fest, Security Forum — have been postponed or canceled, it’s our understanding that digital programming has been considered. Are there any updates on that idea or are there other possibilities of alternative programming in the works?
Dan Porterfield: It has been heartbreaking to have to make the decision to cancel much of our summer programming because of the health risks associated with convening in person. We treasure our opportunities to bring together the Aspen community and support the local economy.
Even though many of our in-person events will not happen this summer, we are pivoting to offer a robust series of digital and online convenings. For example, led by Aspen Ideas Festival Executive Director Kitty Boone, we have launched Aspen Ideas Now, a new online platform to showcase the best of the Aspen Institute. We’ll be presenting programming on this platform each Thursday, and every day that the 2020 Aspen Ideas Festival would have been held — both to serve the public and to make sure that next year’s summer convenings are well-attended.