January 2021 News Brief
Panelists: Brad Henson, Principal, Alturas Elementary School; Angenie McCleary, Blaine County Commissioner; and Ruby Garcia, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, St. Luke’s Community Health
The State of the Valley, 2021: A Discussion of Hardships, Creative Coping, and Resilience
Community Library Executive Director, Jenny Davidson
The WRWF’s annual Winter Forum, live-streamed from the Community Library and moderated by the library’s Executive Director, Jenny Davidson, attracted almost ninety participants this year. Our three panelists–Ruby Garcia, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator at St. Luke’s Community Health; Brad Henson, Principal of Alturas Elementary School; and Angenie McCleary, County Commissioner–shared their experiences during the last few months. Hard facts emerged from the panel discussion: Over 140 students and staff have been quarantined at Alturas Elementary School since the fall. Many students have missed a year’s worth of learning because home studying is not working for them. Several hundred families are now threatened by potential loss of housing because of an inability to pay rent or mortgage. There has been a significant increase in mental health crises requiring intervention. There are no affordable childcare options for working parents, and families are being forced to choose between working and caring for their children.
These and other conditions of hardship have been ongoing in our community since the pandemic hit last March. While many challenges have arisen during the health crisis, each panelist also spoke of the need to invent new ways to work and communicate. Remote learning formats, telemedicine, and problem solving by Zoom are examples of coping strategies that have enabled everyone to manage and keep going. Some of these workplace solutions are probably here to stay.
When asked how the WRWF can help jump start the community’s recovery during the coming year, answers varied, but panelists agreed that housing, mental health, and education are top priorities for funding and community support in the coming year and beyond. If you missed the livestream, a recording of the event may be accessed here.
A link to the results of the recent 2021 Wood River Valley Giving Guide survey that was shared at the Winter Forum may be accessed here.
Read the Idaho Mountain Express’s reporting on the forum here.
WRWF Rendezvous at Rotarun
WRWF Rendezvous at Rotarun
A group of Wood River Women’s Foundation members drove the short distance from Hailey out to Rotarun Ski Area to hear about the programs that this local ski area offers to our community. The members arrived to the sound of children laughing as they stood in line to get on the Poma lift to head up the mountain. We could also hear others enjoying the skiing and snowboarding in this gorgeous setting. Our group was fortunate enough to have Barb Dunn and Brian Caulkins provide us with a complete background of the evolution of Rotarun Ski Area and all that is happening today. They told us about the Rota-Rippers program which is a tuition-free, community supported, learn-to-ski and snowboard program, which was in progress on the mountain. The Rota-Rippers program is designed to inspire the love of the mountains and celebrate diversity and access for all children of the Wood River Valley.
Rotarun Ski Area
Located just three miles west of downtown Hailey, Rotarun Ski Area has been a community hub for local snow sports enthusiasts since 1948. A training site for Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) programming, Rotarun also offers public skiing throughout the winter season.
WRWF is very proud to have funded a $10,000 grant to Rotarun in 2017 to help with snowmaking equipment.
Thank you, Barb and Brian for a fantastic presentation during our “Rendezvous at Rotarun!”
Colorado Gulch Tour
Former WRWF President, Peggy Grove
Last fall, small groups of WRWF members toured Wood River Land Trust projects, including the Colorado Gulch Preserve. WRWF granted the WRLT $22,565 in 2017 to construct a foot bridge in this preserve. Read Eye on Sun Valley’s recent story about the Colorado Gulch Tour here.
2021 Grants Season is Well Underway!
Application Review Committee (ARC) hard at work
The Application Review Committee (ARC) met on January 6 to discuss the grant requests submitted for consideration this year. We have advanced and submitted twenty-eight applications, totaling $550,887, to the Grant Volunteer Teams for further review and site visits. Of the twenty-eight applications submitted, seven new non-profits submitted grant requests this year.
Over sixty WRWF members volunteer to serve on a Grants sub-committee. Each sub-committee is led by two co-chairs. This year, our Grant sub-committee leaders are Maija Eerkes, Sandra Flattery, Terri LeFaivre, Sally Halstead, Louise Wilson Noyes, Jane Springman, Jan Swanberg, Nancie Tatum, Penny Weiss, and Joanne Wetherell.
The Grant Volunteer Teams will determine which nonprofits will present their grant request proposals to our entire membership. Nonprofit presentations will be held on Wednesday, March 3 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM via Zoom. Ballots and summaries of the grant requests will be sent to the membership following the last presentation, and voting will be open until March 26.
All WRWF members will receive a link to the nonprofit Zoom presentations at the end of February.
Gina Wolcott, Kit Wright, Patti Zebrowski
Generous Donors Ensure Financial Health in 2020
WRWF ended the year in a strong financial position thanks to strong investment returns, operating efficiencies, and extra contributions made by many members. While these numbers are not yet audited, we are happy to report top line results and actions that enabled WRWF’s budget to be in a healthy position as 2021 begins.
When COVID-19 struck and the world came to a halt, the WRWF Board made several operating decisions to protect our resources by minimizing costs in all possible expense categories.
- Our Treasurer worked with our Executive Assistant to bring accounting functions in-house saving WRWF thousands of dollars. This savings move will continue to benefit the budget in subsequent years.
- We were able to reduce a significant portion of the cost to keep the website updated by training staff to perform as much of the technical work as possible. These training costs were underwritten by a WRWF member.
- We incurred no advertising costs in 2020 yet continued to see local media coverage of WRWF newsworthy events.
- The primary new cost to the Foundation is our Zoom account which has been critical to WRWF business continuity, delivering on our mission and engagement with membership.
- WRWF is fortunate to have many members who regularly make contributions to fund our operations above and beyond the required $100 per year. In 2020, those contributions added up to more than $24,000! This incredible level of supplemental support provided assurance throughout the year that the Foundation could continue to operate from a position of budgetary strength and set us up for a healthy start to 2021.
- WRWF received a sponsorship donation of $10,000 from Little Caesar’s Pizza. This is the company’s second year sponsoring WRWF and they generously moved from the $2,500 they contributed in 2019 to $10,000 in 2020.
In 2020, the WRWF Endowment grew by more than 20% increasing from a 2019 year-end balance of nearly $724,000 to just over $880,000 at year end 2020. This increase resulted from a combination of factors including:
- New donations of over $50,000
- Investment returns of more than $100,000
- The decision by the WRWF Board to defer the planned $25,000 draw to support operations for 2020. In short, the anticipated 2020 draw will remain invested in the Endowment account.
It is also noteworthy that in addition to supplemental donations made to help defray operating costs, many 2020 members also made additional contributions to the Pooled Grants Fund above the required $1,000. Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes; each WRWF member is appreciated for her contributions to the work of the Foundation and to our community partners across Blaine County. Thank you!
New Focus Grant Vote Coming Soon!
In March, you will have the opportunity to vote on the special focus area for a larger grant to be awarded in 2022. As previously reported, the WRWF Board has approved a larger, two-year grant of up to $100,000 per year beginning in the 2021/2022 grant cycle. This new focus grant will be aimed at addressing an area of pressing community need as determined by WRWF membership.
A task force has been hard at work for several months researching possible areas of focus for this larger grant. They are currently working to narrow the options down to three areas of focus and will present these options to the board for approval followed by a vote of the full membership.
This special vote will be conducted as a part of the regular, Survey Monkey voting process for our annual grants awards. Please watch your email inbox in early March for this two-part survey and cast your votes for both the 2021 grantees AND the area of special focus!
As in past years, the Survey Monkey ballot goes out to members via email following the final presentation of applicants and there is a three-week window for you to cast your votes. Prior to this window, the Education Committee and the Focus Grant Task Force will provide information about the three proposed areas of focus via email, on the website and through a recorded Zoom session. In addition, there will be a live Zoom session scheduled during the voting window to answer any remaining questions. After the vote, efforts will continue to educate members about the community’s need for investment in the chosen area.
Stay tuned for further information coming over the next month!
Future Forward Membership
In recognition of the key role younger generations will play in the long-term sustainability of WRWF, the Foundation created WRWF’s Future Forward, a full membership for women aged 50 and younger at an affordable donation rate.
Launched in 2021, Future Forward provides opportunities for younger women to engage in WRWF’s mission, participate in grantmaking, and learn philanthropic strategies and skills. Our younger members are key to ensuring organizational sustainability and lasting support of our nonprofit partners throughout Blaine County. We look forward to welcoming you!
A Future Forward membership is $600 per year with $500 going into our pooled grants fund and $100 to help cover administrative costs.
Questions? Please contact the Membership Committee Co-Chairs Carrie Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathleen Eder at email@example.com. We welcome you to use the form found here to become a Future Forward member.
New Board Member: Trinka Dyer
WRWF Board Member At-Large, Trinka Dyer
It was a case of love-at-first-sight when Trinka and her husband Lloyd moved to the Wood River Valley in 2018, just six short months after visiting here for the first time.
After relocating from the Bay Area, several of Trinka’s local acquaintances introduced her to WRWF. She joined in 2019 and jumped right into making a difference by becoming a member of the WRWF Finance Committee.
A mother of two grown children, former CPA, and now retired from her career in consumer marketing, Trinka loves outdoor activities including tennis, golf, hiking, and Nordic skiing with her chocolate lab, Enzo.
In addition to her role as WRWF Board Member At-Large, Trinka will also lend her talents as a member of the Communications Committee.
New Nominating Committee Chair
Terri Bullock and Peggy Grove confer about the Nominating Committee while enjoying a hike with Bella
Peggy Grove, past-president of the Wood River Women’s Foundation, and current chair of the Presidents Council will chair the Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee is made up of four members of WRWF whose main responsibilities are to screen, interview, and recommend all individuals under consideration for WRWF leadership positions. The WRWF board member/committee chair term structure is two consecutive three-year terms. As leadership terms expire, the Nominating Committee, with the help of leadership development tools, seeks to fill these vacancies with future rising leaders.
Peggy is excited to chair this committee and looks forward to helping the organization with its leadership planning efforts.
New Communications Committee Member
Tamar Dolgen has over twenty-five years of global marketing expertise in business and nonprofits. Passionate about education, Tamar is working as the interim executive director of the local education nonprofit The Space Idaho, sits on the board of directors of Cornell University Hillel and the VBS Day School in Los Angeles and is a member of the Cornell University Council. Tamar holds degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and Cornell University. She speaks fluent Spanish and loves the outdoors. Tamar and her family, who have been part of the summer community in Sun Valley for over fifteen years, are now living here full time.
We welcomed Tamar last month as a new member of WRWF and are excited about adding her to our Communications team!
Welcoming New Members
Arianne Heyser and family
Arianne and her husband, Josh, are the owners of Topnotch Fine Furnishings in Ketchum, a local family business. She has lived in Idaho most of her life. Born in Colorado, her parents located to Idaho when she was just two years old. After completing a degree in Environmental Sciences from Willamette University, and studying abroad in New Castle, Australia, Arianne worked as a land surveyor, conducting boundary and river studies, before realizing her dream of becoming an interior designer. She worked at Topnotch Fine Furnishings before she and her husband purchased the business in 2014.
The Heyser family includes daughters Ava Rose and Olivia and family pets, Lucy and Sunny. On weekends in the winter, you will find them enjoying the slopes of Baldy and the cross-country trails around the Wood River Valley. In the summer, they enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring our beautiful outdoors.
Arianne joined the Wood River Women’s Foundation after hearing about their work in the community. She and her husband have always supported Blaine County nonprofits and are looking forward to doing even more with WRWF.
Jill has been vacationing in the Wood River Valley since the early 90s and was fortunate enough to plant part-time roots here in 2010.
She is the founder and CEO of Graybird Foundation, a Silicon Valley-based marketing and communications agency that donates expertise to nonprofits. In this role, she is responsible for strategic planning and providing high-level marketing counsel. Jill also served three terms on the executive board of Crystal Springs Uplands School.
Apart from Graybird, Jill enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, movie-watching, and spending time with her future husband, their fabulous children, and their entire extended family.
Originally from New York of French-Canadian lineage, Renée has visited Ketchum frequently since the early 2000s.
Renée is the Chief Marketing Officer of Graybird Foundation, a Silicon Valley-based boutique agency that donates marketing expertise and services to small nonprofits operating in the areas of community, education, and the environment. In this role, she runs qualitative research studies, sets marketing strategy for client initiatives, connects skilled teams, and mentors project transitions.
Renée draws from a background in high-tech branding, public relations and customer marketing. She earned a BA in Communications with a minor in Psychology from San Jose State University.
When they join, new members are invited to provide a photo and a bit of information about themselves to share in the WRWF newsletter. This is a new initiative and we are delighted to welcome all new members whether they elect to participate or not. A warm WRWF welcome to all who joined this month!
We also send a warm welcome to the following new members:
Elli Bernacchi – Ketchum
Carla Cote – Ketchum
Mary Austin-Crofts – Sun Valley
Tracy Kanowsky – Ketchum
Linda Segre – Hailey
Franny Wood – Ketchum
Carol Jensen, WRWF Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, has been awarded Seattle Magazine’s 2021 Five Star Award for the sixth year running. She is recognized in the February issue of the magazine under “Investment Advisors,” which include both CPAs and Estate Planning attorneys. Congratulations, Carol!
Coming This July: Our Sixteenth Anniversary Tea
WRWF President’s Closing Message
WRWF President, Terri Bullock
Welcome to 2021! I have such optimism for this new year and have found even more reason for a positive outlook listening to stories of resilience, perseverance and strength during the WRWF Winter Forum: “The State of the Valley, 2021.” As our panelists spoke about their work, it reminded me of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” Along with WRWF, our local nonprofits found the necessary resources to pivot their work in order to be nimble and responsive to the needs in the community. We all are “just doing it”—not only surviving but, indeed, thriving.
It is with your support that we continue to carry out our Mission with excellence. We are “doing it” by virtue of your renewals and new memberships, your contributions over and above to our Pooled Grant Fund, General Operating Fund, and Endowment Fund, and your commitment to serve on committees, lead task forces and join leadership positions.
Because of you, the WRWF granted over $800,000 in the past three years alone. Because of you, we have assisted many of our local nonprofits to keep their doors open to feed the hungry, provide services for school programs, improve housing for those needing shelter from domestic violence, keep our beautiful environment safe and clean for year-round use, and so much more.
But we aren’t resting on our past accomplishments! Now in our sixteenth year as a women’s collective giving organization, we are committed to “moving the needle” on systemic challenges in our county. Next year, in the 2021/2022 grant cycle, we will commit a portion of our Pooled Grant Fund to a specific focus area and will support this over a two-year period. A task force is hard at work exploring critical issues around the county with the goal of identifying three areas of focus. They will bring their recommendations to the board for review and then you, as a voting member, will cast your vote to select one of the three optional areas of focus for the two-year grant.
This special vote will be included as a part of the regular, Survey Monkey voting process for our annual grants awards. Please watch your email inbox in early March for this two-part survey and cast your votes for both the 2021 grantees AND the area of special focus!
Once votes are tallied and one area of focus is determined, the Grants Committee will move forward to seek applications in that area of focus. The application process for this grant will run concurrently but separately from the regular grant cycle that begins in the fall.
Enjoy all the content in this packed News Brief—we are busy “doing it!” Thank you all for your continued support and I hope to see you soon!
Until next month,