Grantee Spotlight: Blaine County Housing Foundation
Blaine County Housing Foundation – Nathan Harvill, Executive Director
“Many Blaine County residents are stretched thin when trying to acquire housing in our area, creating a house of cards situation,” said Nathan Harvill, Executive Director of Blaine County Housing Foundation. One unexpected expense (medical, automobile, repair, etc) or loss of income can put otherwise secure housing in question. The Blaine County Housing Foundation (BCHF) aids in this problem by providing one-time, supplemental Housing Gap Funds, paid directly to landlords or HOAs.
BCHF has been able to facilitate aid that meets the needs of virtually every applicant through donated funds, a strong collaborative relationship with Blaine County Charitable Fund (BCCF), and by recommending other resources available in Idaho. BCHF and BCCF frequently work in tandem to provide necessary assistance to locals, beyond housing expenses.
The 2021 $11,000 grant from WRWF, and the additional donations it inspired, has shown that our community is ready to step up to help families and individuals in need. Stabilized housing can provide a multitude of benefits, including the retention of individuals who contribute to our community in important ways. Read more about Harvill’s perspective on the importance of stable housing in this Mt. Express feature.
As we (hopefully) transition out of COVID-related needs and situations, BCHF will continue to evaluate what community needs are and how they might be changing.
Grantees In the News:
The Alliance of Idaho team
Wood River Trails Coalition
Lee Pesky student Maya and tutor Jack
Lee Pesky in the News and More!
A lot has happened since we last checked in with Lee Pesky Learning Center! First, Linda Crawford assumed the leadership role of Executive Director and CEO Evelyn Johnson. Linda is excited to continue the “Pathways to Literacy” (PTL) Program that helps first-grade and early elementary students with learning challenges develop foundational reading skills. Second, the Center is hiring a program director and coordinator to continue their work in the Wood River Valley and replicate the model in the Treasure Valley. Finally, on October 15th, the Center in Boise received $600,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to increase high-quality learning. For more information about the grant click here. To read more about Evelyn and Linda click here.
In summer 2021, the PTL worked with 22 Wood River Valley students—double the number from the summer of 2020. Collaboration with several organizations was key to a successful program. The reading specialists at the Alturas and Bellevue elementary schools identified students who needed additional help, and the facilities at the YMCA, assisted parents and students with much-needed logistical support.
WRWF granted Lee Pesky Learning Center $25,000 in 2021 to help fund Pathways to Literacy. The Center would like to thank the Wood River Women’s Foundation for their support of this critically important program.
L-R: Alliance of Idaho leaders Sam Linnet, Becky Lopez, Sarah Sentilles and Luis Campos
A Big Year for The Alliance of Idaho
2021 has been a big year for The Alliance of Idaho! The organization hired Becky Lopez, the first and only Latina Executive Director in Blaine County. They moved into their offices at the Hunger Coalition. The Alliance engaged Attorneys Luis Campos and Sam Linnet. In the first four years, the Alliance helped 100 families. In the first three days that Becky, Luis and Sam began to work together, the organization helped 25 families.
Highlights since July 2021 include:
- Clocking more than 181 hours with clients.
- Providing 54 one-hour consultations to people in our community.
- Meeting with clients at the US-Mexico border to help prepare them for their interviews with the US Embassy in Mexico.
- And helping a family of 15 escape Afghanistan, which will help the nonprofit better understand how to support refugees in Blaine County.
Co-founder and Chair of the Board Sarah Sentilles affirms, “The Alliance is deeply grateful for the support of the Wood River Women’s Foundation as the $25,000 grant helped kick-start this important work.”
Currently, the Alliance has 18 active cases, including 6 asylum cases that involve 10 adults and children.
The Wood River Trails Coalition Impact Report is out! Executive Director Sara Gress said, “We were able to get a lot done in 2021 because of partners like the WRWF, so thank you for helping make it all happen! We are excited that all of our Trail Bosses intend on returning next year! Plenty to look forward to there.”
Congratulations to the Wood River Trails Coalition for the creation and expansion of the Trails Boss Volunteer program that WRWF helped to fund. We commend you for all your innovative attributes to keeping Wood River Valley’s trails beautiful and safe. Read the report here.
WRWF President, Terri Bullock
2021 has been quite a year! We’ve embarked on our first-ever Focus Grant 2022 (FG22), launched the new Future Forward program for members under 50, and completed our strategic plan which sets us up for years to come. We cautiously resumed in-person gatherings, including our Meet & Mingles, and resumed Board meetings at Zions Bank.
However, Blaine County nonprofits continue to struggle to meet the demands COVID has placed on our community, and we at WRWF are committed to doing everything possible to help ease this burden.
In our current grant cycle which has just launched, we are piloting our Focus Grant 2022. The large-scale grant has the potential to make a greater impact on education inequities in Blaine County. Our commitment is to grant up to $100,000 to a qualified grantee or group that can demonstrate to our members a path toward solving this persistent issue.
I heard from our Grants team that we have received 28 applications for our Pooled Grants Fund requesting a total of $441,561. Between our two funds, the total we are being asked to fund is just over $540,000. We know that every cycle, WRWF receives more requests than we can fund; this year I am requesting your extra help to get us closer to this number.
Therefore, my year-end ask is two-fold: first, please renew your membership and second—if you are able—gift just a bit more to our Pooled Grants Fund so that we can help our nonprofit partners achieve their mission goals. One hundred percent of your extra contribution to WRWF’s Pooled Grants Fund will go directly into the pool and will be distributed to the nonprofits that have applied this cycle.
Our membership continues to amaze me with its resiliency and generosity. I can’t think of a better way to end this year! We have done so much in past years, and I am confident we can reach and do just a little more this year.
I wish you all a healthy, happy, and peaceful holiday; I am looking forward to a New Year filled with fun, laughter, and reconnection.
Until next month –
WRWF Opportunity Fund Established!
In September, the Board unanimously approved the establishment of a quasi-endowment, where we will hold and manage a majority of the generous legacy gifts totaling $152,000 received from the estates of Audrey Bashaw, Camille McCray, and Ruth Lieder.
At this month’s meeting, the Board took the next step by agreeing to allocate the funds in the following ways:
- $27,000 will be added to 2022’sPooled Grant Fund
- $25,000 will be used to start the WRWF Cash Reserve Fund. These monies will be used for expenses in case of a short-fall in the organization.
- $100,000 will be used to start theWRWF Opportunity Fund, a board-designated endowment.
The action these three women took to name WRWF as a beneficiary of their estates will have enduring value, both to our Wood River Community, and to the long-range mission of the WRWF. The steps we are taking to establish a board-designated endowment honors the legacy of these generous founding members.
A heartfelt thank you to our Investment Committee—Gail Landis, Trinka Dyer, Diana Strandberg and Linda Brower Nicholson—for making this happen. If you have already included WRWF as part of your estate plan and have not shared that information, please let us know so we may add your name to our legacy donors and appropriately thank you.
In the coming months, we will continue to provide information regarding endowments, why they are important, and the requirements of restricted and unrestricted gifts.
Renew Your Membership
Future Forward member Carol Hoffman and our Membership Chair Kathleen Eder urge you to renew your membership today!
Act now! There is still time to renew your membership and make your donation dollars count for the 2022 grant cycle. In addition to your personal membership, please consider sponsoring a member as a holiday gift for family, younger friends, business partners, etc. This is definitely a case of “the more the merrier!” Please use this link to renew.
November Meet & Mingle
On November 16, 35+ WRWF members enjoyed an in-person Meet & Mingle at the Sun Valley Culinary Institute! Attendees had the opportunity to catch up and make new connections — all while learning about the upcoming Culinary Institute cooking classes and being encouraged to check to join in!
A full-fledged culinary school, the Institute has brought new life to main street Ketchum! Now being served are several activities including the professional culinary school program for enrolled students, frequent open-to-the-public cooking classes for culinary enthusiasts, and rental space for special events.
The next open-to-the-public event hosted by the Sun Valley Culinary Institute will be the Festival of Trees. Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, December 18 & 19 when you can find holiday baskets, centerpieces, etc. The proceeds will benefit the Senior Connection.
- December 16 – Meet & Mingle at the River Run Firepit
- February 15 – State of the Valley at Ketchum Community Library
Meet & Mingle
Join us for a Meet & Mingle
at the River Run Lodge Firepit 12/16/21
Join us outside at the River Run Lodge firepit 3:30 pm on 12/16 for our December Meet & Mingle.
We welcome all members to warm up with a hot chocolate or hot toddy as we get ready to close out a very busy and successful 2021.
We will also celebrate the Future Forward program, launched on January 1, and encourage everyone to consider sponsoring a young member in 2022 as a holiday gift!
Guests are welcome.
Save the Date:
Mark your calendars for the State of the Valley Forum
at the Community Library in Ketchum 2/15/22
3:00 – 6:00
Our February State of the Valley Forum is fast approaching! The theme is “Maintaining Community Values while Balancing Growth.” Moderated by Wendy Jacquet, the Forum will feature speakers from 5 sectors:
- Education – James Foudy Blaine County School District Superintendent
- Environment – Josh Johnson, Acting Central Idaho Director for Idaho Conservation League
- Health – TBD from St. Luke’s Wood River Valley
- Housing – Michelle Griffith, Executive Director of ARCH
- Recreation – Mark Davidson, BCRD Executive Director
The Forum takes place 3-6pm on 2/15/22 at the Community Library in Ketchum. We look forward to you joining us!
WRWF In Depth
Meet Third WRWF President Marcia Liebich
Full-time philanthropist looks back on term, founding days
Marcia Liebich served as President of the Wood River Women’s Foundation from 2011-2013. She is currently active on the Presidents’ Council and the governance committee, where she reviews governing documents, job descriptions “and all the things that you need to keep an organization legal and ethical,” she said.
As the third president, Liebich’s term from 2011-2013 was marked by the economic downturn following the Great Recession. The financial crisis hit WRWF hard and Liebich feels lucky that the organization survived. To read more about Marcia and her WRWF journey click here.
A Warm Welcome to New WRWF Members
We are delighted to extend a warm WRWF welcome to all new members who joined this month!
- Brenda Waldner
- Erika Waldner, (FF Sponsored by Brenda Waldner)
- Jacqueline M. Cole
- Mary Garrison
New WRWF members are invited to provide photos and a bit of information about themselves to share in the News Brief. We have so many interesting members and it is fun to read about everyone’s background. Thanks so much and we look forward to meeting you soon.
Meet two of our newest members,
Carol McTigue, and Mary Garrison who recently joined WRWF and graciously submitted their bios and images. Thank you Carol & Mary and welcome to WRWF.
Carol McTigue moved to Hailey in April 2021 from the Philadelphia area (long story 😊) She learned about WRWF while getting a pedicure and chatting with the woman next to her, our very own Terri Bullock!
Currently, Carol works for a pharmaceutical company, but is planning to retire next summer, after 33 years!
She is in her happy place with her horse!
Mary and her family have been coming to the Wood River Valley since 2012 when they bought our first house here. They initially came here on vacation and thought this would be our retirement home. Now she splits her time between here and Sausalito, California as she is still working. However, Mary has spent most of her time here since March of 2020 and her husband is a permanent resident. She has been meaning to join the WRWF for several years, but finally got it done!
Mary is a Wealth Management Advisor with Merrill Lynch, working with families, small businesses and nonprofits to manage their investments and provide financial guidance. She enjoys working with women, helping them become more capable stewards of their wealth. Mary has an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska and a Masters of Finance from Boston College. She also holds several professional designations, Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
Mary has 3 grown children and enjoys spending time with family and friends hiking, skiing, scuba diving, and sharing a love of reading.
Member Activity – Christensen Global
Christensen Global team (L-R Franny Wood, Sara Lichtenberg, Aimée Christensen) in Glasgow with all electric Ford Mach-e at a COP26 event co-hosted with Ford Motor Company
Wood River Women’s Foundation members Aimée Christensen, Franny Wood, and Sara Lichtenberg supported Christensen Global clients in Glasgow, Scotland throughout the COP26 global climate conference events. They were encouraged to see more young, female climate leaders present throughout the events than ever before. The team returned to the Wood River Valley with renewed hope and energy to continue their work to build a better world!
Thank you, Sponsors.
And, thank YOU for signing up with Amazon Smile
Thank you to the Sun Valley Culinary Institute, Little Caesars, and Zions Bank for generously supporting WRWF!
Thank you, Contributors!
Thank you to this month’s News Brief contributors:
Terri Bullock, Jill Grossman, Carol Hoffman, Emily Jones, Sara Lichtenberg, Deb Prost, Sarah Shepard, Renee Spooner, Rebecca Ybarra Palma, Franny Wood