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2022 October News Brief

By October 20, 2022December 19th, 2022Newsletter

News Briefs

Wood River Women's Foundation Sun Valley Ketchum Idaho

October 2022

News Brief

Grantee Spotlight – Idaho Trails Association

Idaho Trails Association Volunteers in Action

Melanie Vining
Executive Director
Idaho Trails Association

Alli Frank’s profile for October is with Melanie Vining, Executive Director of Idaho Trails Association (ITA).

Q: How has the WRWF grant furthered the mission of your organization at this moment in time?

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A: WRWF granted ITA funds for youth-focused projects just when our youth programs were ramping up after Covid. We’d started a youth trail program in 2019 but were forced to suspend it when Covid hit and safety became a big concern. Youth trips require more planning, more crew leadership training and vetting, more support (food, gear, etc.) to ensure we eliminate all the barriers we possibly can to allow for participants from all socio-economic groups.
Additionally, there is always more communication before, during and after a trip to keep parents/guardians part of the process and feeling good about the experience. This all takes time, and funding.
ITA’s mission is “keeping Idaho’s hiking trails open for all” and a huge part of that is engaging the next generation of public land stewards because they are the ones who will be part of keeping our mission alive for years to come. Our WRWF grant allowed us to take the time and use the resources needed to plan quality youth trail projects in 2022!

Q: With the support of the WRWF and the greater Blaine County community at-large, where do you see the organization in three years?

A: The Wood River Valley/Blaine County are home to some of the most scenic trails in Idaho, and a gateway to even more to the north and west (the Sawtooth National Recreation Area). More people flock to Idaho every year to live or vacation, and trails are one of the big reasons.
ITA needs support from WRWF and the greater Blaine County to maintain the quality and quantity of trails in Blaine County, and handle the population growth in this area (and areas to the south). This support will allow ITA to grow our focus on helping land managers clear more trails in this area to accommodate the greater demand for access, while also minimizing the environmental impact of trails through drainage and surface maintenance.
In three years, ITA hopes to have 1-2 seasonal trail project coordinators to assist our one full-time Trail Projects Director in coordinating and leading double the 67 trail projects we accomplished in 2022. With enough support, we hope to place one of these seasonal positions in the Wood River Valley/Sawtooth area.

Q: What is one BIG HOPE you have for the future of the Wood River Valley?

A: I hope the Wood River Valley can handle the growth that seems imminent while preserving the sense of community, quality of life, and access to the outdoors it is known for. I also hope public lands – from Federal to state to county – can be preserved for both human enjoyment and quality habitat. To truly achieve this, it seems important to attract and retain young people who want – and can afford to – make the Wood River Valley their home. No small feat, but it sure seems there are people in the Wood River Valley passionate about this work!

Grantees in the News: 

The Hunger Coalition

Our Grantee The Hunger Coalition’s Bloom Community Farm, is rapidly growing and extending its reach! “One of the farmers said she was realizing how beautiful, colorful blooms feed people’s souls just as much as the food feeds people’s bellies,” said Kristin McMahon, Supervisor at The Hunger Coalition.

McMahon continues, “We do have weekly volunteers for veggies sessions here at the farm. We also have a community garden in town and some greenhouses in Bellevue. So, there are three opportunities per week for people to come out, lend an hour of their time having a lot of fun in the dirt here, and then walk off with some great food,” said McMahon.

To get involved:
Follow: @thehungercoalition

Repost derived from @kmvtnews:

The Advocates

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We are grateful for our Grantee The Advocates and the many services they offer to victims of domestic and sexual abuse. These resources include a 24-Hour Helpline, Free Krav Maga self-defense classes, support groups, professional counseling, transitional housing, and more.

In 2021, The Advocates answered approximately 8,000 calls for service and provided 19,112 safe nights of housing. 100% of clients reported increased financial security, safety and stability after living in transitional housing. Volunteers are always needed so please consider getting involved!

To learn more and/or volunteer:
IG: @theadvocates.idaho
Helpline: 208.788.4191

Committee Corner – Communications

Communications Committee Chair Karissa Price Rico

Do you love to write? Take pictures? Interview interesting members and nonprofit leaders? Post on social media and watch the likes roll in? Well have we got a job for you.

The WRWF Communications team has the honor of sharing the many stories of the good work we do across our organization and the good work that our Grantees do within our Valley. Our charge is to stay on top of the various activities, events, committee and board decisions that the WRWF is involved in and communicate that to our membership so they can stay engaged, involved and informed. Our committee publicizes our member events, volunteer opportunities, and the good work going on. We do that through the dedication of our volunteers who attend Field Trips!, other Committee’s monthly meetings, and who write pieces to share with our members via our monthly News Briefs, emails, website updates and social media.

We also have a new Website Task Force that we are recruiting for to help us design and build 3.0. All backgrounds are welcome – sense of humor a must! No need to be a full-timer in the Valley. For more information or to join our merry band, send an email to Karissa at


Grant Application Timing Change

The WRWF Board voted to approve the change in our Grant application window timing.

Previously the application window opened in November. In an effort to shorten the application cycle for our annual grant process, the NEW application window to apply for 2023 grants will open at 8 am on January 15th, 2023 and close at midnight on January 29th, 2023.

More detailed information about how to apply for a grant is available on our website. To inform the public, we are running ads in the Idaho Mountain Express and Eye on Sun Valley. Please help get the word out to nonprofits who are interested in applying. Thank you!

Grants Volunteer Request

Grants Volunteer Coordinator Megan Pepin

WRWF Grants Volunteer Opportunity –

Megan Pepin, the WRWF Grants Volunteer Coordinator is seeking volunteers to join the Grants team. The volunteer-member grants committee thoroughly reviews all grant applications, conducts site visits, narrows down the number of applicants, and provides recommendations to the full membership.

WRWF strives to place new and seasoned members together to create teams for this process. The Grant review cycle will be from Feb 5-Mar 9, 2023. Key dates begin with a mandatory orientation on January 18, 2023. The grants review meetings will be a hybrid of in-person and Zoom, so great news it’s ok to be out of town!

If this volunteer role that speaks to the heart of our mission interests you please, email, text or call Megan Pepin, Grants Volunteer Coordinator
phone: (425) 241-2427

WRWF Grants Committee


  • Nov 17 New Member Orientation via Zoom 4:00 – 5:15pm
  • Dec 15 Holiday Meet & Mingle!
    • Save the date for our in-person holiday-giving celebration 4 pm to 6 pm at Trinka Dyer’s home. More details to follow regarding ticket pricing and donating a bottle of your favorite wine.

Events Recap 

BoardWalk Recap

BoardWalk at Lake Creek Trail

On 9/29 a dozen WRWF members, board directors and a few four-legged friends walked a loop at Lake Creek for our first-ever BoardWalk gathering! A quintessential fall day in Sun Valley offered the perfect setting for free flowing and meaningful conversations amongst attendees.

When asked about this new style of event and important channel for growing connections with members, our Board President Sandy McCullough said, “LeeAnne Linderman and I thoroughly enjoyed the lively dialogue and thoughtful input provided by our trail partners as we shared a glorious bluebird afternoon on our first BoardWalk!”

Nine & Wine Golf Recap

Nine & Wine Golf Foursome: Erika Dolbec, Leslie Jiranek, Joanne Wetherell, Sandy McCullough

WRWF members and guests met at the Elkhorn Golf Club on 10/6 for some good old-fashioned fun! 16 people participated in this 9-hole scramble. There was a 3-way tie for first place! Congratulations to Megan Pepin and her guests for winning in a “card off”! And a shoutout to Trinka Dyer for winning closest to the pin.

All of the attendees enjoyed this end-of-season golf outing that served to build connections between members and encouraged guests to join! Thanks to Trinka Dyer, Sandy McCullough, Linda Segre, Joanne Wetherell for organizing this event.

Field Trip! The Nature Conservancy Recap

There was an enthusiastic turnout for the Silver Creek Preserve Field Trip!

About 20 WRWF members & guests visited Silver Creek Preserve on 10/11 for our second Field Trip! in partnership with 2022 grantee, The Nature Conservancy.

Dianne Tibbs Johnson, WRWF VP Operations and Sally Halstead, Grantee Engagement Lead organized the visit to the newly constructed Silver Creek Conservation and Education Center (CEC) that our WRWF grant helped fund. The CEC was designed to better serve visitors and offer a community gathering space. In the 2022 season (May-October) over 170 students have already visited the preserve!

A special thanks to Lou Lunte, Silver Creek Preserve Manager, Lizard Cashin, TNC Donor Relations Manager and Emma Drucker, Development & Events Assistant, who hosted our group and shared wonderful insight into the importance of protecting the Preserve and the other projects that are being undertaken as part of the 5-year Silver Creek Enhancement Plan.

New Member Spotlight

Krista Felton

New Member Krista Felton

Krista Felton was born in Idaho, but spent most of her life in Southern California. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a B.A. in Psychology.

After spending a few years in education, working with children on the spectrum and substitute teaching STEM classes, she decided to return to her Idaho roots in 2013. She quickly found work at The Hunger Coalition helping develop the children’s programs, and now serves as the Director of Philanthropy.

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You can find Krista hiking, trail running, skiing, fishing, facetiming with her nieces and nephews, or plotting out her next backpacking adventure. Her philanthropic interests lie in education, healthcare, and conservation.
Welcome, Krista!

Denise McCain-Tharnstrom

New Member Denise McCain-Tharnstrom

Dr. Denise McCain-Tharnstrom is an active philanthropist with a background in law and public policy. She has taught as an adjunct instructor in the Schools of Public Policy and Political Science at the University of Southern California (USC). She has also served on various state and local boards, many with a focus on improving outcomes for children, youth and families. Denise joined the LA-based Everychild Foundation over 20 years ago and has been an active committee member, as well as grants chair, public policy chair and treasurer of the board.

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She served for many years as an executive committee member and chair of the Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, Denise is currently a member of the Children Now Board of Directors, a California statewide policy group known for founding Children First and creating the children’s policy scorecard.

Ten years ago, she founded Our Community LA (OCLA), an LA-based nonprofit that seeks to break the information barriers that too often restrict youth and adults who are experiencing homelessness (or struggling to avoid it) from finding help. As President of OCLA, Denise oversees programs designed to empower people to build a life out of poverty and homelessness by offering access to information about free local programs. OCLA offers their print directories (available in all public libraries) and the WIN What I Need, a free confidential mobile app that enables users to easily learn about and connect with available supportive services.

Denise received her doctorate from USC, her law degree from University of Florida (where she met her husband of over 37 years) and her undergraduate degree from Duke University. Married with three adult children, Denise is delighted that she and her husband now split time between their homes in Ketchum, ID and Pacific Palisades, CA.

Rachel Clifford

New Member Rachel Clifford

Rachel Clifford and her husband, Bob, said goodbye to California and made Sun Valley their full time residence in November 2021. After coming here for summer and winter vacations over the past 12 years, the allure of the SV lifestyle year round was too strong to pass up.

Rachel worked in advertising at Foote, Cone & Belding upon graduating from University of Southern California (USC). She then transitioned into marketing and product development for Disney and Warner Bros prior to becoming a full time Mom.

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She volunteered in various capacities from Co-Chairing the Annual Gala, Chairing the Library Committee and Co-Chairing the Book Fair at her son’s elementary school; to co-chairing the annual giving campaign at his high school. She also volunteered as a buddy family for Operation Mend, a private organization that partners with the military and UCLA Medical Center to heal wounded soldiers. Rachel was on the Executive Board of the Parent Council for The Price School at USC. She was recognized by USC with an Alumni Volunteer Award in 2021.

Rachel enjoys playing pickleball, hiking, snowshoeing, biking, Mahj Jongg, riding horses, and all that SV and the surrounding areas have to offer. She looks forward to supporting our robust community through WRWF.

New Members


We are delighted to extend a warm WRWF welcome new members who joined this month!

Connie Smith
Leslie Jiranek
Laura Zlot
Angie Christensen
Janet Ziegler
Betsy Lawrence

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.

New Member Form

Max. file size: 50 MB.
Max. file size: 50 MB.

Thank you, Sponsors.

And, thank YOU for signing up with Amazon Smile

Many thanks to members who have designated WRWF as their selected charity on AmazonSmile! To link Wood River Women’s Foundation AmazonSmile to your Amazon account, click here and get signed up. Then, whenever you shop Amazon, use the AmazonSmile website.

We are grateful for our sponsors and extend a hearty WRWF thank you to Graybird Foundation, Little Caesars and Zions Bank!

Thank you, Contributors!

Thank you to this month’s News Brief contributors:
Christina Bauer, Alli Frank, Carol Hoffman, Sandy McCullough, Rebecca Ybarra Palma, Megan Pepin, Karissa Price Rico, Deb Prost, Sarah Shepard, Renee Spooner