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january 2023 News Brief


Grants Spotlight 

the space idaho

Alli Frank connected with Kate Ristow of The Space about the impact of our WRWF 2022 Grant:

The Space Idaho

How has the WRWF grant furthered the mission of The Space at this moment in time?

The Wood River Women’s Foundation made it possible for The Space to continue for a successful second year our Forward Learning Scholars Program that provides free, high quality, individualized tutoring, snacks and school supplies to a group of twenty 6th to 9th grade students.

Knowing we have financial security as this program enters its second year has been a game-changer. Furthermore, it allowed us to make the program both more effective and more innovative. Since receiving this grant we have moved to a larger office, and expanded our staff—including hiring a Program Coordinator who organizes scheduling, activities and curriculum, and serves as a liaison between the schools and other community organizations. These organizations include the Hunger Coalition, who provides us with snacks, and the Advocates, who have delivered multiple presentations to our students through their Every Teen Counts program.

Finally, through WRWF, we received a matching grant from the Idaho STEM Action Center, which allowed us to improve and grow our STEM programming. With these funds, we built a rolling STEM cart of open-ended projects and materials, and hired a highly-qualified STEM educator to facilitate STEM-based lessons and activities. Our students love building everything from slime to matchbox cars as they practice the skills they are introduced to in school.

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

In three years we hope to have grown our ability to serve students by increasing our staff and moving to a larger space. Currently, we are limited by staffing and space, and we have a waitlist. It is our goal to always be able to offer a space for each student or family who contacts us. We hope to be a well-known resource for students, families and teachers, so that they never have to wonder how to get help, and so that every student can create an accessible, realistic path to further their education.

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

Our work at The Space has allowed us to foster a diverse community of learners. But it has also made it impossible to ignore the growing equity gap in our community. We hope the Wood River Valley community will put an emphasis on equity and diversity, so that all community members can thrive.

Grantees in the News

Girls on the Run (GOTR)
WRWF commends our grantee, Girls on the Runs, for their most recent 5K with family and friends on the Swiftsure Ranch equestrian paths in Bellevue. GOTR young participant River Rappa Lambert even ran laps as she waited for the 5K to begin. Lambert shared that one of her favorite exercises was learning how to be intentional in choosing friends using a “HEART” acronym. “They told us to think of a heart,” she said. “ ‘H’ stands for friends who help you, ‘E’ for friends who encourage you, ‘A’ for friends who accept you, ‘R’ for friends who really, really respect you and ‘T’ for friends who treat you with kindness.” “This is a fun event for the girls that have gone through our program to celebrate their efforts this season and to show them that through hard work and dedication they can reach their goals,” said Teressa Johnson, the executive director of GOTR Southern Idaho. The next GOTR upcoming event is LUNAFEST taking place at two locations on 2/16 at 5pm! Price is $20 per ticket LUNAFEST is a film festival dedicated to promoting awareness about women’s issues, highlighting women filmmakers and bringing women together in their communities. Films feature strong women, powerful images and impactful language. We recommend a viewing age of 13+. Visit the GOTR website below for more information. Locations: Orpheum Theatre 146 Main Ave W; Twin Falls & The Mint 116 S Main St; Hailey Derived from Eye on Sun Valley Here And GOTR Here
The Hunger Coalition
Carlos Hurtado and Kimberlyn Sanchez greeted guests as members of The Hunger Coalition’s Bloom Farm interns

WRWF member Krista Felton, who serves as Director of Philanthropy for our Grantee The Hunger Coalition, shares the nonprofit’s new focus on social justice in understanding the causes of hunger.

“The Hunger Coalition is all about food, and we will provide it for as long as it’s needed. But we’re wanting to do something more, something new for Blaine County,” said Krista. She added, “We’ll continue what we’ve been doing but we want to broaden our efforts to find out what the root causes of hunger are in the Valley. It’s not just the price of food. It’s transportation, the cost of childcare, education, etc.”

The Hunger Coalition Co-Director Brooke McKenna noted that a family needs to make $50 an hour to make a living wage in the Wood River Valley, given the cost of housing and groceries. “With the average wage rounding out to $14 an hour, a person needs two full time jobs just to make ends meet.”

Derived from Eye on Sun Valley
Read more Here

January Board Updates
From the Board – Sandy McCullough and Martina Bradford at the Empty Bowls fundraiser

Sandy McCullough and the hard-working Board leaders convened on 1/17/23. Here are some important updates:

Martina Bradford and Becky Lopez provided a status of their initial work on WRWF’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. They have been developing a framework for this initiative and are building a representative team to help move the project forward. This work is in the early stages and is a priority for WRWF – stay tuned for information which will be shared as it becomes available.

Jeannie Shroads, WRWF Board Member and member of the Governance Committee was approved to become the committee’s Chair. She succeeds Gail Landis who will continue to serve as Chair of the Investment Committee and Board Secretary. Jeannie’s new role will be on the all-member ballot in advance of our 2023 Annual Meeting. Thank you for stepping up your WRWF service Jeannie!

The Education Committee is looking for volunteers! Check out Jenni Riley’s Committee Corner for inspiration about this volunteer opportunity.

Après Ski Tea has been set for March 2 at the Gail Severn Gallery – watch the calendar for further details on this member favorite as well as other upcoming events!

Committee Corner – State of the Valley
Jenni Riley, Education Committee Chair


“Being a part of the Education Committee is a substantive way that members can add value to WRWF. Our work is meaningful work and the committee is great fun with leaders like Jenni and Susan!” – Lilian Wu, Education Committee member.

The WRWF Education Committee is thrilled to once again be featured in the 1st Committee Corner of the new year. The purpose of the Education Committee is to present educational opportunities to our members and community that support the mission of WRWF. Our focus is to increase philanthropy by women and provide information that will lead to wiser, more effective giving. Our primary educational event is the State of the Valley winter forum in February, with smaller, more focused events throughout the year as opportunities arise.

Our committee meets only once a month on the last Wednesday from 4:00-5:00pm MT. We meet via zoom with an occasional in-person option during the summer. We would LOVE to have additional members join!

Our 4th Annual Community State of the Valley is coming up on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at the Community Library in Ketchum. This year’s theme is “Prioritizing infrastructure decisions in a time of growth.” We have panelists representing areas we felt have seen the biggest impact by our growing community which includes the following:

o Panelists

§ Muffy Davis, County Commissioner
§ Brian Yeager, Hailey Public Works
§ Bill McLaughlin, Ketchum Fire Chief
§ TBD in the Public Safety sector

o Moderator – Mike McKenna, ED, Valley Chamber

This is our annual community-facing event. We are once again seeking event underwriters from our member roster and local businesses to provide attendees with take-home materials and increase the audience reach in the community with advertising. Event underwriters will be recognized in:

  • Advertising in the Idaho Mountain Express,
  • The hard-copy informational booklet at the event,
  • Posters on stage with presenters.

Please contact Jenni Riley (jenni@hazlettwealth.com) if you, too, would like to support this Community Education event.

We hope you are all able to join us either in person or by watching the Live Stream provided by the Community Library. We will send out the Live Stream link as soon as it is available.

Joining the WRWF Education Committee is a great way to meet new members and make a difference in both our own organization and the community through educational events. Contact one of the Co-Chairs for more information. Jenni Riley jenni@hazlettwealth.com or Susan Passovoy sjpassovoy@icloud.com.

Cheers to an amazing 2023!

Grants New Process/Dates

The Grants Committee encourages all members to familiarize themselves with our new 2023 Grants processes and deadlines. Jan 15-29 The Grants Application window is open for nonprofits to submit a grant application Feb 6 – March 3 Grants team members evaluate grants, go on on-site visits and prepare presentations March 9 Grants team presentations to determine which applicants will move forward for member voting March 15 Nonprofit Finalist Presentation Meeting (virtual meeting for all members) and member voting begins March 31 Member voting closes
Upcoming Events – WRELC Update

Focus Grant Update


Project Director Kathryn Ivers

Learn about Significant Progress toward the Focus Grant ‘22 Goals on 2/6/23 at 4:00 PM via zoom with Kathryn Ivers, Project Director of the Wood River Early Learning Collaborative.

In less than five months, Kathryn Ivers convened the Early Learning Advisory Committee. Together they have accomplished the first goals enumerated in the WRWF Focus Grant awarded to the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.

    1.   Establish a local Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) and define its       governing and operating structure
    2.   Conduct a needs assessment to identify and document the current status of early childcare and education infrastructure at the community level.

Representatives of about 10 organizations, working together on the ELAC, have gathered comprehensive data and are writing a report that will be shared with the community by the end of January 2023.

The report will:

  • Quantify the current status of early childhood services in Blaine County
  • Characterize the needs of children and families
  • Highlight gaps between the two.

This analysis will be the basis for identifying strategic action plan goals to improve childcare and early education in Blaine County, and ultimately, to increase the availability of high-quality and affordable early care and education for families with young children. More about the FG22-23 can be found on the WRWF website here.

A zoom link for this informative presentation will be shared with members by email. The session will be recorded for later viewing by members who cannot attend the live session.


Date: January 24 
Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Location: To Rotarun and Rota-Rippers program 


Wood River Early Learning Collaborative Update

Date: February 6
Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Via Zoom 


New Member Orientation

Time: February 16
Time: 4:00 - 5:15 pm 
Location: Zoom


Girls on the Run LunaFest Film Festival starts

Date: February 16
Time: 5:30 pm


4th Annual State of the Valley Forum

Date: February 28
Time: 3:30-5:30 pm
Location: The Community Library
Theme: Prioritizing infrastructure decisions in a time of growth

Live Stream available (link to come)

Mar 2 Après Ski Tea at the Gail Severn Gallery


event recap

Holiday Event Recap
Holiday Event
Wood River Women’s Foundation members came together at the home of Trinka Dyer, WRWF Finance Chair, for a holiday gathering on 12/15/22. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the holiday cheer and philanthropic camaraderie was flowing! In the spirit of giving, members were invited to donate to the Blaine County Education Foundation Secret Santa fund, as it is an annual tradition for many longtime members. We collectively raised $6,000 that will be distributed to Blaine County students in need throughout the year. Sandy McCullough, WRWF Foundation President, reminded the group that while we may not be able to be everything to everyone, we can certainly be a lot to a lot of people. After all, the Wood River Women’s Foundation has had a meaningful impact on the Blaine County community over the years.
Rota-Rippers Equipment Day
Kaz Thea and Renee Shapiro

As an organization that gives to a variety of nonprofits throughout Blaine County, it’s not always the case that we get to physically see our grant dollars in action. 2022 grantee Kids Mountain Fund has invited WRWF members to experience their Rota-Rippers program in action on 1/24 from 3-5 pm at Rotarun ski hill in Hailey. In their own words, “Rota-Rippers is a community supported, tuition-free, learn to ski and snowboard program dedicated to enriching the lives of historically marginalized youth in our community.”

In preparation for this Field Trip, a few members attended the Rota-Rippers equipment distribution days at Sturtevant’s in Hailey on 1/5-1/7. A steady stream of students waited to be measured for height, weight and experience, before being sent to be fitted for boots, skis, poles and helmets.

Throughout the equipment fitting days, Program Director Kaz Thea was joined by Rotarun Community Development Director Renee Shapiro and original Rota-Rippers program founder Barb Dunn.

This year, Kids Mountain Fund will put on two 4-week Rota-Rippers sessions with over 50 skiers and 18 snowboarders participating in session one. They are also offering a program for middle school students for the first time – the Rota-Ravens!

Email info@woodriverwomensfoundation.org to RSVP for the Field Trip on the 24th!

BoardWalk at Trail Creek
Dianne Tibbs-Johnson and Jeannie Shroads
A big thanks to WRWF Board members Dianne Tibbs-Johnson (VP Operations) and Jeannie Shroads (Governance Committee Chair) for organizing the January BoardWalk! On Wednesday 1/11/23 an intimate group of members and WRWF leadership met at Trailcreek for a walk in the sunshine. Check future BoardWalks announcements for an opportunity to have casual and open conversations with fellow members – dogs are always welcome!
Empty Bowls Fundraiser
Empty Bowls benefitting BCCF
The ever-favorite Empty Bowls fundraiser was back in action on Sunday 1/15 after a pandemic-related hold. The proceeds of this popular event, which previously supported The Hunger Coalition, will benefit WRWF grantee Blaine County Charitable Fund (BCCF). Crowds of hungry and smiling community members gathered at the Church of the Bigwood to purchase a handmade bowl and enjoy a variety of soups and salads – prepared by local restaurants – at communal tables. A special thanks to the WRWF members who donated decorated bowls this year! We are thrilled to see BCCF benefit from this enthusiasm, as they have such a great impact on families and individuals who are most vulnerable. It is heartwarming to experience the positive effects when so many community partners come together to support a deserving organization! Read additional coverage of the event in this Eye on Sun Valley article.

new members

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

Leslie Chihuly
Marcella Don
Shelley Hutter
Denise Merlone
Mary Ann Snyder
Stacy Wilson

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. Welcome!
New Members Spotlight
Marcella Don
New Member Marcella Don

We are happy to welcome new member Marcella Don. Here she shares a bit about herself:

I am looking forward to getting involved with the WRWF after hearing from a friend about their good work in the Wood River Valley. In 2019, my husband and I bought a summer home in the Valley and we love the area when not at home in West Tennessee. I’ve enjoyed meeting new friends and would like to be more involved in the future.

I graduated in the late 80s from the University of Oregon and subsequently lived in Atlanta, Portland, Los Angeles, and now Memphis. For three decades I have enjoyed a career in the metal recycling industry that continues today. Through my work, I have traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking with my husband and dogs, playing bridge, eating out, college football, family time, and late-night blackjack.

Trish Klahr
New Member Trish Klahr

We are happy to welcome Trish Klahr who joined the Wood River Women’s Foundation last year. Here she shares what inspired her to join and a bit about her background:

I have known of the WRWF for many years. I have lived full-time in the Valley, but I was watching and observing, as I give directly to many of the nonprofit organizations the WRWF supports. Eventually, I realized the model of pooling contributions is highly successful and powerful, and I wanted to be a part of it! What the WRWF has accomplished is amazing and inspiring.

I also want to say since joining, the welcome package of information has been impressive and helpful. The number of opportunities to engage in hikes, talks and events is wonderful. Lots of good and helpful information that indicates an active and engaged organization!

continue reading

I worked in nonprofits for over 20 of my 30+ year career in land and water conservation, including the Idaho Conservation League and The Nature Conservancy. I also worked for Idaho State University, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

I have a BS in Aquatic Biology from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH, and an MS in Water Resources Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
I currently volunteer on the Wood River Land Trust Board of Directors, and at the Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley. Previously I served on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Conservation League.

Grantee – Senior Connection – Volunteers Needed
Grantee – Senior Connection – Volunteers Needed


WRWF Leslie Silva Delivering Meals

The Senior Connection is looking for weekly or monthly volunteers to drive meals to the wonderful seniors of our valley. Meals on Wheels drivers take one of three routes: North, South, and Hailey. They usually arrive between 10 am and 3 pm. For more information reach out to Brit by email at brit@seniorconnectionidaho.org and check out their website here.


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 TO OUR contributors

Thank you to this month’s News Brief contributors: Christina Bauer, Joy Flores-Perez, Alli Frank, Louisa Moats, Jill Grossman, Gail Landis, Laura Midgley, Sarah Shepard, Renee Spooner, Rebecca Palma, Peggy Walker Thompson