Community Spotlight – State of the Valley
Moderator Wendy Jaquet, right, a former member of the House of Representatives, asked four panelists a set of prepared questions at Tuesday’s State of the Valley forum. From left: Josh Johnson, Michelle Griffith, Jim Foudy and Mark Davidson.
3rd Annual Community State of the Valley Forum
Hats off to Jenni Riley, Susan Passovoy, Renee Spooner and the rest of the WRWF Education Committee for successfully hosting our 3rd Annual State of the Valley Forum on Tuesday, February 15th. The Community Library graciously donated the space where approximately 70 people attended in person and an additional 48 joined via livestream. This year, four panelists from different sectors of our community came together along with a former member of the Idaho House of Representatives Wendy Jaquet who moderated the discussion on “Maintaining Community Values while Balancing Growth.”
The sector panelists included:
Education — Jim Foudy, Superintendent, Blaine County School District
Environment — Josh Johnson, Conservation Associate, Idaho Conservation League
Housing — Michelle Griffith, Executive Director, ARCH Community Housing Trust
Recreation — Mark Davidson, Executive Director, Blaine County Recreation District
When asked how their sector has been affected by the recent growth in our community and what is being done to balance it, each panelist provided insight.
Unsurprisingly, many of these “growing pains” are experienced in similar ways from one sector to another, reminding us just how connected we really are. Ultimately, a collaborative effort from all individuals in every sector will be required to effectively balance growth.
After the moderated conversation, a range of topics were discussed during the Q&A. How do we address the current, and potentially future drought in our area? What is being done in the local school system to address learning gaps related to COVID? What can I do to help solve the affordable housing challenge? How do we teach new community members (and the future generations) to be good stewards of our outdoor spaces?
Bringing together community leaders to discuss our current climate and how it may be affecting our values proved to be a highly engaging conversation. Here are some overarching and meaningful takeaways from each panelist.
“Have empathy; in our community there are only two degrees of separation.” – Jim Foudy
“Community values will change over time. Let’s start with not imposing values on each other and meet people where they are.” – Mark Davidson
“We have the framework to address the issues we are facing — so many great organizations are already working on it.” – Josh Johnson
“The people who we depend on, are depending on us.” – Michelle Griffith
We would like to reiterate our humble appreciation to the Education Committee members and for the generosity of our event underwriters, Hazlett Wealth Management, Graybird Foundation, Summer Baldwin of Sun Valley Real Estate, and Sun Valley Ketamine Clinic.
Grantees In the News:
St. Luke’s and Men’s Second Chance Living
Men’s Second Chance Living
In demonstration of great Wood River values, St. Luke’s Community Health recently awarded a $5,000 Improvement Fund grant to Men’s Second Chance Living for use in 2022!
Men’s Second Chance Living (MSCL) opened in 2018 with a mission to help men coping with addiction succeed in their recovery. They have served more than 45 men, providing nearly 7,000 sober nights to its residents.
“We are grateful to have St. Luke’s as a partner supporting MSCL House to serve the Wood River Valley,” said Caitlin Hegwood, MSCL Administrative Assistant.
The Alliance’s Becky Lopez and Sarah Sentilles
Blaine County is a better place for everyone thanks to The Alliance of Idaho’s devotion to the protection of human rights. The WRWF grantee was featured in a recent Forbes article written by Co-Founder Sarah Sentilles. The piece highlights how Executive Director Becky Lopez and the organization support fairness, equity, and justice for immigrants and advances a prosperous future for all.
“We do this by providing access to low-cost or no-cost legal services, by organizing opportunities for education, outreach, and advocacy, and by centering the voices, insights, leadership, and needs of our immigrant neighbors,” says Sarah Sentilles The Alliance of Idaho Development Director
Sentilles explained, “We built a Latinx-majority Board of Directors. We hired Becky Lopez to be the Executive Director – the only Latina Executive Director in Blaine County, Idaho. And, at Becky’s urging, we began to contract with immigration attorney Luis Campos, the only Spanish-speaking immigration lawyer working in our valley.”
“Representative leadership matters,” continued Sentilles. “This isn’t about optics. It’s about knowing what a community needs because you belong to that community. It’s about listening to the experiences and expertise of the most vulnerable among us and trusting they will show us what’s needed.”
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We began 2022 with a brand new feature – The Committee Corner! Helmed by a board leader, The Committee Corner will explore one of our active areas of focus. Our second contributor is our very own Kathleen Eder, Board member, and Membership Committee Chair. Terri Bullock will author The President’s Message next month.
Committee Corner from Membership – Kathleen Eder
The Membership Committee welcomes, engages, and educates the women of our organization on what it means to be a part of the Wood River Women’s Foundation. We like to think of ourselves as the “heart of the WRWF!” The efforts of this committee highlight and support the important social aspects that contribute to a well-rounded membership experience.
The functions and tasks of the Membership Committee are divided into four sub-committees. They are led by Julie Meinke and Marcelle Pearson for Member Engagement, Maija Eerkes for Member Retention, Kristin Hovencamp for Events, and Summer Baldwin for Future Forwards. Many thanks to all—we are so appreciative of your work.
From multiple surveys, we’ve learned that our strong social element is high on the list of reasons that people join WRWF. Due to COVID over the last two years, we’ve been challenged to find ways for our members to come together safely. However, social interactions remain a major focus for the committee.
The Membership Committee plans our Meet & Mingle socials and other orientation events such as our Apres Ski Tea. In fact, the last Tea was held on March 5, 2020, and the world changed right after that gathering. Who knew the pandemic was imminent as we were sipping wine and listening to Lisa Wild from the Hospice of the Wood River Valley?
Thanks to the creativity of our Membership team, we recently held outdoor coffee talks at Ketchum Town Square and a December holiday gathering around the fire pit at River Run Lodge. Other well-attended and popular events included the Fall Brunch (October), “Tini Party” (June), and Annual Meeting (in August.) As 2022 rolls forward, we are optimistic to once again offer occasions for members to meet, hear from our nonprofits, and share a sense of community.
To help everyone feel connected we host a “New Member Zoom Orientation” once per quarter. This is a wonderful, lively exchange where new members share highlights of their backgrounds and are introduced to our Board directors. Our winter orientation is scheduled for 4:00 – 5:15 pm on February 24th. Heads up—if you joined since November 2021, watch for an email invite to participate.
Our Committee welcomes any member who would like to contribute to this fun team! If you enjoy planning events and interacting with new people, please join us. We meet at 4:00 pm MT on the second Thursday of the month. Please contact Membership Chair Kathleen Eder at: email@example.com or 208-720-3651. Thank you!
Baby Ryon is thrilled Mom’s back at WRWF!
Our Executive Assistant and new mother Christina Bauer is back better than ever! We are thrilled she has returned and want to thank her for sourcing the talented Natalie, who filled in so competently during the maternity leave. We will miss you, Natalie!
It’s quite an eye-opener to read how Christina keeps the Foundation wheels turning through her wide range of responsibilities. She is always looking out for our work and our members. Christina provides high-level administrative support and handles, maintains, and records confidential information for the Board of Directors and Committees.
In partnership with the Board, Christina assures our nonprofit compliance to support Committee programs and procedures. She prepares correspondence, arranges conference calls, schedules meetings, collects data, drafts reports, attends Foundation events, creates Board Manuals, facilitates Board transitions and training, and supports our website applications and the Google drive.
For Membership, Christina plans, organizes and directs the donation and renewal processes. She logs payments, sends receipts and thank you emails, and updates member information changes into our database. Christina also processes the endowment contributions we receive.
For Grants and Impact, she supplies application information to the grant-seeking nonprofits, maintains the Wood River Valley nonprofit email list, prepares the ballots and Survey Monkey for annual members voting.
For the Events team, Christina assists with the activity work plans, including e-invites, registration, check-in, name tags, posters, and signs. She also verifies that the web calendars are up-to-date.
And for the Communications Committee, Christina informs the entire membership of the News Briefs, press releases and other organization-wide announcements.
Recently we had a chance to interview beautiful 3-month old Baby Ryon! Here’s what he’s already learning about WRWF:
Q: How is your Mom dealing with parenthood?
A: Mama is doing wonderful and loving it! Every second is new and different! I really enjoy giving both my parents a fresh challenge on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. And what’s not to love? I’m healthy and happy!
Q: How is work different for Mom now?
A: The key is flexibility! Mom thought she knew what being flexible was before I came along, but now we’re taking it to a whole new level! For example, she will be working in smaller chunks of time. We’re all about being fluid!
Q: What does Mom think of the new WRWF offices?
A: Wow! We love the place — it is so cool with lots of sunlight and big windows! We think WRWF now has a lot more ability for smaller groups to commune together in our own space. Also, this dedicated office—with a door—gives us more stature and a presence in the community. We can feel grounded knowing the new office is now our center.
Q: What is Mom’s hope for WRWF in 2022?
A: WRWF has really grown the entire time Mom has been onboard. I’ll help her keep the ball rolling. We look forward to exciting and creative happenings while we keep going deeper. We’re especially interested in all the ideas and experiences the new members bring.
Q: What does it mean for your Mom to be the only WRWF employee?
A: You know, in her mind, this is the best job Mom has ever had! A lot of that is because of the women she has been able to meet and interact with every day. She and I are both so inspired! We always feel supported and encouraged by all of the members. It is fantastic!
Largest Grant Pool Ever!
We are thrilled to announce that in this grant cycle we collected a record-breaking amount of donations to award our grant applicants! Congratulations to this membership for generating $348,000!
Our annual grants decision day is almost here! Mark your calendar for March 2 at 1 pm MT when the executive directors of applicants to WRWF’s Pooled and Focus Grant 2022 funds will present their proposals to our membership. The voting window will open immediately following the presentations and will close on March 16.
More than 70 volunteers have been working to bring this slate of deserving applicants to our full membership. The Foundation is grateful to every member who has shared her time and talent in our grants review process. We also appreciate the effort invested by our nonprofit partners in applying to us for funding.
The March 2 presentations will be conducted on Zoom; members will receive an email shortly before that date with the Zoom link, Survey Monkey ballot, and other information. The presentations will be recorded and available online to members until voting closes on March 16. Please join the March 2nd meeting and be part of the decision-making that will determine which nonprofits will receive WRWF funds in 2022.
Recent Board Event – ICF Lunch
Members of our Board met with leaders of Idaho Community Foundation (ICF) and were introduced to their new President and CEO, Steve Burns.
We also discussed our partnership and what we can plan for in 2022.
Steve replaced ICF’s most recent president and CEO, Karen Bilowith. He brings extensive experience leading large community organizations, including Zoo Boise and its foundation arm, Friends of Zoo Boise, for nearly 20 years. He has long been familiar with the work of the Idaho Community Foundation and looks forward to teaming with the incredible board, staff and all the supporters who have made the community foundation possible.
Included in this visit were two others from ICF: Cara Nielsen, VP of Philanthropy and Impact, and Kris Kamann, Senior Philanthropic Advisor.
The WRWF and ICF relationship is long-standing, and we all recognized the importance of having it continue. We were glad to hear how happy ICF has been with past improvements made in part, by our Memo of Understanding, revised in 2020. ICF was very complimentary of how WRWF has streamlined our working process.
Kris Kamann discussed his love of sharing his knowledge around charitable giving, estate planning, and nonprofit sustainability. He offered to hold a Q&A session with WRWF members to help inform our Legacy Giving program.
Look for more exciting news in future issues around relationship building and continuing our partnership with ICF.
BCEF Scholarship Applications
In 2022 Blaine County Education Foundation (BCEF) is managing 23 active scholarships and is seeking 10 volunteers by March 3 to review applications. If you are passionate about children and education, this role offers a window into the thoughts and dreams of local high school seniors who want to attend college and need financial assistance. Their stories are often inspirational, sometimes difficult, and always optimistic. For details contact Kristy Heitzman at 208-720-9473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2/24/22 Winter New Member Orientation 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm on Zoom
- 3/2/22 Final grant applicant presentations to WRWF membership by nonprofit executive directors (via Zoom) on (time to be released in late February)
- 3/2/22-3/16/22 Grants voting is open
- 3/3/22 Aprés Ski Tea at Susan Flynt’s home in Ketchum
New Event – Aprés Ski Tea
Save the Date:
Join us as we continue our annual “Tea” Tradition
Aprés Ski Tea
When – March 3, 2022, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Where – At the home of Susan Flynt – 207 Jade Street, Ketchum
(From downtown take the south end of Leadville, left on Jade, last house on the right)
Valet parking is available & Guests are always welcome!
Welcome our new members, hear from a 2021 Grant recipient,
Learn more about Wood River Women’s Foundation
Please RSVP by February 25th via email to email@example.com
WRWF In Depth
Past Presidents Spotlight: Joanne Wetherell
By EMILY JONES – Reporter-at-large
This is the fourth in a series of articles about our Past Presidents — extraordinary women who helped shape our organization.
About Joanne Wetherell
As a founding member and the fifth board president of the Wood River Women’s Foundation, Joanne Wetherell (2015-2017) created and launched the organization’s endowment fund, helped it achieve 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, set up the Presidents’ Council and created the Foundation’s seasonal Meet & Mingles (M&Ms).
During her tenure, WRWF surpassed 300 members and collectively raised and contributed over two million dollars.
Wetherell, a Portland native, became a Wood River Valley resident in 1980. She raised her family here and opened The Warming Trend Woodstove & Fireplace store in Ketchum before becoming a licensed Realtor in 1993. In 2000, she became Broker/Owner at RE/MAX Sun Valley, a position she still holds today.
“I grew up in the Valley, because I was in my 20s when I moved here. I worked for Sun Valley Company and the Holding family for many years and just fell in love with the area,” she said.
Today, Wetherell resides in The Valley Club with her mini-Labradoodle, Piper, and Golden Retriever, Bella. In her spare time, she plays racket sports—tennis and pickleball. She was a member of the nationally-ranked Sun Valley Women’s 4.0 – 55+ tennis team, which won the 2016 U.S. Tennis Association’s National Championship. Wetherell is also an avid golfer, skier and loves to hike with her dogs.
Prior to joining the Wood River Women’s Foundation, Wetherell was a familiar face in the Valley’s nonprofit sector as an active volunteer and a board member of The Advocates.
“From my work with the Advocates, I knew how to give of time and talent, but was still learning about philanthropy,” she said. “Pooling together financial resources was a new concept to me. It seemed like such an important thing to do. I learned that it is so much more impactful to nonprofits to give collectively, rather than smaller donations, and that nonprofits can leverage that funding from the WRWF to seek more grants.”
Wetherell was one of the three dozen attendees at a summer-afternoon tea in 2005 organized by WRWF founders Barbara Thrasher and Jo Murray. She was thrilled to find a community of fellow women who shared a commitment to grantmaking at this event that laid the groundwork for the Wood River Women’s Foundation.
“It was really fun to meet people and have the opportunity to share ideas—like-minded women sharing like-minded ideas—and gain more understanding of the Valley’s needs,” Wetherell said. “I have always loved the idea that every member would get one vote, regardless of their donation, allowing each member a right to say where money was going.”
In 2006, the funding movement accelerated. A board was assembled, bylaws were written and WRWF’s 30 new members—lawyers, teachers, financiers—picked up tasks based on their strengths. Wetherell handled checks and financial records and continued to do pro-bono secretarial office work for the Foundation over the next decade.
“We were only a volunteer-run organization in our formative years. My RE/MAX Sun Valley office was our main headquarters for 13 years, until I timed off the board,” Wetherell recalled. “I’d use my office staff, the copier, and even our bookkeeper to help. Our board ran everything on such a slim budget and we really prided ourselves on that.“
Around 2016, Wetherell and other board members determined that the organization had enough money in its budget to fund an administrative position without needing to raise membership fees.
“I was, and still am, a really a strong proponent of keeping membership fees as low as possible, because if we can run a lean budget and not have a lot of overhead, then more people can join our foundation,” she said. “The pro-bono work was really fun but a lot of work. When I look back, I wonder how we did it.”
During her tenure, Wetherell recalled receiving a $25,000 donation.
“I thought, rather than just putting this into pooled funds or into some type of administrative fund, why don’t we use this as seed money to create an endowment—a fund to help sustain the Foundation into the future and keep our administrative fees low,” she said.
She pitched the idea to the board and to the past Presidents, who responded with overwhelming enthusiasm.
“Just like pooling our resources, we pooled our talent and found many members with expertise in that area. It was a team effort!” Wetherell shared.
She noted that Kathy Edwards—a part-time Valley resident, WRWF member and Washington Women’s Foundation member—was instrumental in educating the team on endowments.
Wetherell imparted a piece of advice she received from Edwards: ‘Don’t limit yourself by setting a small goal to raise $100,000 or $250,000, because you’ll be surprised by how many people will step up to be a part of this.’
“Great advice, as it turns out,” Wetherell said.
In August 2017, WRWF celebrated the beginnings of its endowment fund. Last month, the fund surpassed $1 million.
“In our first year, we almost immediately raised half a million dollars. It was just incredible. Now, here we are in 2022 and we’ve doubled that,” she said.
Wetherell added that the Idaho Community Foundation was a critical ally to WRWF from the start, serving as an anchor to the Foundation. (At the time of her presidency and in prior years, WRWF members paid their annual contributions to ICF, which then managed grant distributions.)
Aside from creating the endowment fund, Wetherell said another proud accomplishment during her presidency was helping WRWF achieve 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
“One of the reasons we wanted to do that was to have more control of the administrative fees that we were collecting, because at that point we were still running on a very, very tight budget,” she said. “Nonprofit status allowed us to have more flexibility to create an endowment that would be a foundation for our future and to potentially do multi-year grants.”
“I count the endowment and our 501(c)(3) status as my biggest accomplishments while president. I’m really proud of how progressive we were at that time.”
Among her other contributions, Wetherell formed the Presidents’ Council as an advisory arm to the board of directors.
“It was a way to utilize the knowledge of the past presidents—Barbara Thrasher, Marcia Liebich, Janet DeBard, Peggy Grove and myself—and continue to work on endowment fundraising. We’d seen the ups and downs and knew what worked and what didn’t,” she said.
Wetherell also helped create a Facebook account and a private Facebook group for members and organized the Foundation’s Meet & Mingle events to allow members to get to know one another and ask questions without feeling they had to do business.
“People could post things that they were doing and invite others, who could invite their own guests. A lot of groups were formed—hiking, snowshoeing, and book clubs,” she said.
Wetherell identified the biggest challenge to the organization over the last two years as not having in-person meetups.
“We used to have après skis, brunches and ‘new member-tinis,’ where new members could get together with more seasoned members to talk, meet and learn,” she said. “These events really give a sense of connection to the community.”
Just as in 2005, we are a community of fellow women who shared a commitment to grantmaking. Our in-person events are returning. We thank Joanne Wetherell and all the past presidents for their enduring contributions to the Foundation.
A Warm Welcome to New WRWF Members
We are delighted to extend a warm WRWF welcome to new members who joined this month!
- Allie Frank
- Debra Healy
- Meghan Knutter – Future Forward
- Kristine Monroe
- Meghan Nye – Future Forward
- Jennifer Townsend
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 our two newest members,
Alli Frank and Kristine Monroe
In 1956, Alli’s father first came to Sun Valley on the train from Seattle as a 13-year old boy. She has spent every Christmas of her life skiing Baldy and summers backpacking in the Sawtooths. In June, 2021 Alli, her husband Scott, and daughters Lila (13), Lexi (10) moved here full-time to embrace all that we love to do: Nordic and downhill skiing, hiking, running, and frequenting the theater, music opportunities and the Sun Valley Community Library as often as possible.
Alli is one half of a co-authorship team with Asha Youmans, and are one of the first Black/White co-authorships in the history of publishing. They began writing together in 2017, with their first novel Tiny Imperfections that debuted in May, 2020 and then optioned by Netflix. Their second book, Never Meant to Meet You, will be released September 27, 2022. A third, untitled manuscript is slated for September, 2023. The mission of their fictional writing is to harness joy and humor to explore the challenging topics of race, religion, privilege, education and parenting—and they have an absolute blast doing it! Best. Job. Ever.
Before launching her writing career Alli was a teacher, administrator and school co-founder for 20 years in both public and private schools in San Francisco and Seattle.
Her areas of philanthropic interest are sustainable/regenerative agriculture as a means to address the climate crisis, championing the written word through local library support as well as specific reading/writing curriculums in schools and educational nonprofits and ensuring that the visual, written, and theatrical arts remain a pivotal element of expression in a democratic society.
It is with great honor that Alli joins the Wood River Women’s Foundation in loving memory of Sally Jarvis.
Although Kristine and her husband are new, part-time residents of the Wood River Valley (they purchased a home in Elkhorn in February 2021) her history in the area began much earlier.
Her mother, Bobbi Henderson Robinson, arrived in Sun Valley before the 1948-49 ski season from Ogden, Utah at the age of 18. She was a waitress in the upstairs main dining room of the Lodge, and she modeled for the resort and its ski shop. Upon a late return to Sun Valley after a weekend home, the Lodge dining room manager punished Bobbi by sending her to work in the “skiers cafe” (now the Ram restaurant.) On that day she met a young, handsome USC graduate student who was on a ski vacation with his buddies. That man, Theodore (Ted) Robinson, would become Bobbi’s husband in 1950.
Kristine’s parents made their home in Southern California and would visit Sun Valley for ski vacations. Her mother’s connection to the valley continued when, in 2011, the Sun Valley Resort selected a vintage Union Pacific Railroad poster featuring her as the inspiration for the diamond anniversary observance “Winter Sports Under a Summer Sun”.
Kristine retired from academia in March 2020 as an Associate Professor within the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). Her research there focused on nutritional and other lifestyle risk factors of cancer, primarily breast and pancreatic. In addition, she provided fundamental design, analytic, and scientific support to several ongoing epidemiologic studies that are investigating the etiology of various cancers and other diseases.
Kristine is the mother of 3 grown sons and the grandmother of 2 active grandsons – ages 6 and 2 – who live in Manhattan Beach, CA. She is also soon to welcome a new granddaughter in April. Her husband, David, retired in January 2022 after a long career as an environmental attorney. They have traveled extensively, mostly for hiking adventures. They are looking forward to continuing their active lifestyle with all the hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and pickleball activities in the Wood River Valley.
Thank you, Sponsors.
And, thank YOU for signing up with Amazon Smile
We begin 2022 with our hearts full gratitude for our local sponsors. A hearty WRWF thank you to Graybird Foundation, Little Caesar’s and Zions Bank!
Thank you, Contributors!
Thank you to this month’s News Brief contributors:
Christina Bauer and Baby Ryon, Terri Bullock, Kathleen Eder, Jill Grossman, Carol Hoffman, Emily Jones, Sara Lichtenberg, Sandy McCullough, Deb Prost, Sarah Shepard, Renee Spooner, & Rebecca Ybarra Palma