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march 2023 News Brief


Grants Spotlight 

Blaine County Charitable Fund

Emily Jones connected with Wood River Fire & Rescue Chief Ron Bateman to discuss their 2022 grant from WRWF


Photo credit Willy Cook/IME

In 2022, the Wood River Women’s Foundation granted Wood River Fire & Rescue $18,526 to purchase and deploy around a dozen automated external defibrillators (AEDs) with first responders and police throughout the community to improve survival during out-of-hospital cardiac episodes.

According to WRFR Chief Ron Bateman, there are four key steps called “the chain of survival” that should be taken to save someone’s life after sudden cardiac arrest: early recognition of the situation and calling 911, early CPR, rapid defibrillation using an AED, and advanced life support in an ambulance or hospital setting.

Bateman shared that before WRFR received the grant, the department identified vulnerable coverage areas within its service range of 1,500 square miles in Blaine County and put together a plan outlining which local law enforcement officers will carry AEDs in their patrol vehicles to maximize coverage.

AED access is critical because every minute of delay decreases someone’s survival chances by 10%, according to the department. “It’s important that someone who lives in one of those vulnerable areas—like Croy Canyon—has access to a defibrillator at hand, especially when there’s a foot of snow on the ground. This is a part of the chain of survival,” Bateman said.

Unfortunately, supply chain disruptions have impacted the availability of AEDs and the department has not received its batch of 11 defibrillators, explained Bateman. (In July 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added AEDs to its medical device shortage list.)
“It’s certainly frustrating to have necessary funding and a plan in place, but then these lifesaving tools are delayed,” Bateman said. However, he said he’s “super thankful” that the Wood River Women’s Foundation has improved community awareness of WRFR’s need for equipment funding.

“Organizations like the Wood River Women’s Foundation certainly bring a lot of cumulative power in terms of advocacy for us,” he said. “When I think about resources, I think about people’s time, and I believe that there’s been more community engagement and listening within the last few months.”

When asked where Bateman sees the organization in three years, he shared a vision of a single, consolidated countywide fire and EMS department. “A lot of what we’re trying to do now is very publicly create a temperature and landscape in which that can happen, where different fire department cultures can be successfully integrated,” he said. “We’ve been trying to do this for 35 years. Just by dumb luck, we should have been consolidated by now.”

Aside from consolidation, Bateman hopes to continue to promote camaraderie between full-time and part-time staff members and create a safe space to talk about mental-health struggles unique to first responders.

“The endeavor that I make as a fire chief is to embrace a culture of inclusivity and honor the fact that it’s hard to do this job as a part-time or volunteer staff member, but they are part of who we are,” he said. “Anybody who comes into this line of work hopes to affect someone’s life in a positive way. To have a seat alongside suffering is pretty intense, but it is an honor.”

Grantees in the News

the space
The Alliance Attorney Luis Campos and staff member Cristina Romero. Photo courtesy of IME.

The Alliance of Idaho, a 2021 and 2022 grantee, shared more about how they are serving clients in a February 2023 Idaho Mountain Express article. Read an excerpt below quoting immigration legal expert Luis Campos and the entire article here.

The legal team at The Alliance of Idaho reported successful outcomes for its first two clients seeking asylum in the United States. These cases, both for Peruvian clients, were the group’s first to reach final court proceedings before an immigration judge in Utah.

“These cases take a long time from beginning to completion, two years or more in some cases,” the Bellevue-based advocacy group said in a statement. “This is even better news given the fact that the Salt Lake City Immigration Court judges deny approximately 74% of asylum cases appearing before them.”

WRWF commends grantee, The Space, for providing access to educational support and resources for students from grades 6 to 12, and offering free summer camps and workshops for South Valley students.

The Space offers individual and group academic support, college and financial aid counseling, tutoring in math, English, science, foreign language, bilingual resources, test prep and college essay writing for under-resourced students. Applications are open now for STEAM-related camps to be held at Bellevue Library this summer.


ARCH Community Housing Trust
Nearly $2.5 million raised by the ARCH Community Housing Trust. Photo courtesy of IME

WRWF Grantee, ARCH Community Housing Trust, was recently featured in the Idaho Mountain Express for the progress made in their partnership with Blaine County School District to build employee housing in Hailey. Read the summarized article below:

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission approved a planned-unit development application from the Blaine County School District and nonprofit developer ARCH Community Housing Trust on March 8, 2023 advancing a plan to build up to five rental units for public-school employees in Hailey.

The project envisions a two-story, four-unit apartment building and an additional one-story detached studio unit at 128 West Bullion Street.

ARCH Executive Director Michelle Griffith said the school district preferred three-bedroom units because it’s hoping to hire more couples—ideally, two people filling jobs at the district—who may have children. The school district would act as the landlord of the property and rent the units to employees at no more than 30% of their adjusted gross household income.

Griffith noted that ARCH has raised “very nearly $2.5 million” for Blaine County School District housing since July 2022, including a $300,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and another $900,000 from a private ARCH fundraiser.

Read the full article here.

World Bicycle Day was on June 3! This summer grantee Higher Ground offers all level mountain bike classes for people with physical and intellectual developmental disabilities for those 8 years old and up. If you missed Bicycle Day, Higher Ground has an extensive recreational calendar all summer long!

President’s Message


“Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.” –Serena Williams

Dear Members,

Happy Women’s History Month! While we all know that women do incredible things all year long, this honorary month offers another opportunity to focus our support, respect and appreciation for the women who are making a difference in our communities. As a WRWF member, you are one of these women!

Your commitment to our mission of supporting Blaine County and each other’s philanthropic journey is a testament to the power of women working together to make a difference. The financial contribution made by every member fuels our ability to support local needs. The time and talent shared by our 100 active volunteers is our secret sauce. Cheers to your philanthropic success!

Right now we are in the middle of our annual grants voting window – your 2023 ballot is in your inbox (if you’ve already voted, thank you!). This is WRWF’s 18th grant cycle. Over that span of time, we’ve awarded more than $3 million in 186 grants to 90 nonprofits. The behind-the-scenes work represented in making these grants happen proves the value of teamwork, learning new philanthropic skills, and offers members the soul-gratifying opportunity to lean into building meaningful relationships with a group of strong women over a common purpose. Let’s all support the work of our grants volunteers by casting our votes for this year’s nominees – participation in this decision really does matter and the requests are compelling!

Your contributions to WRWF are warmly appreciated and you have secured a place alongside all the smart, compassionate and generous women in this inspirational partnership. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about supporting the work being delivered by the 100 women who are actively volunteering across the foundation and am honored to be doing this work alongside all of you!

I’m not sure who coined this phrase but it is apropos this – and every – month. Consider my glass raised to each of you: Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

With WRWF gratitude,
Sandy McCullough, President

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,” -Helen Keller

Grants – Voting Window Reminder
Voting Reminder! Voting Reminder! Once again WRWF raised a record amount of funds to award in grants this year—$352,789! So, please be a part of the voting process to determine which of the 21 nonprofit applicants will become 2023 Grantees! The 2023 Grants voting window is open until midnight on 3/31. Please refer back to the SurveyMonkey you received via email on 3/15 to complete the voting process. To revisit the grant presentations, please login to the WRWF member portal and find the recorded zoom link under the ‘WRWF Member Videos’ tab. Your vote is at the heart of our organization’s mission and we hope everyone will take the opportunity to exercise their voting privileges! We would also like to recognize the efforts of our members who volunteered on Application Review Teams this year. Your time and dedication is so appreciated! It is beautiful to see bonds of friendship blossom through collaborating so intimately during this process.


Grants Voting Window

Date: March 15-31
Open - Please Vote!!!


Community CPR Class

Date: March 29 Free 
Location: Ketchum Fire Department


Free Community CPR Class

Date: April 14
Location: Ketchum Fire Department


April Meet & Mingle

Date: April 20
Time: 5:00-6:30 pm
Location: Sun Valley Golf Club 


New Member Orientation

Date: May 4 
Time: 4:00-5:15 pm
Location: via Zoom 


May Meet & Mingle

Date: May 25 
Time: 5:00-6:30 pm
Location: at the home of Laura Rose-Lewis
advance RSVP required



Join us on the afternoon of April 20th for a spring Meet & Mingle! The gathering will be held at the Sun Valley Resort Golf Club from 5:00-6:30 pm. Appetizers will be generously provided by Sun Valley Company (No host bar). Sonya Wilander – Executive Director of Men’s Second Chance Living – will join us as a Grantee guest speaker. She will share more about the organization and the impact previous WRWF grants have had. Come enjoy this Meet & Mingle opportunity! Say hello to old friends and spend some time with new ones. Embrace springtime beauty and the views from this warm and inviting venue.
event recap

state of sun valley


WRWF Members join SOTV speakers after the event

A shortage of affordable housing, recruitment challenges and unfunded infrastructure projects—but, more importantly, the determination to tackle each of those issues—were some main themes of the Wood River Women’s Foundation’s fourth-annual “State of the Valley” community forum at The Community Library in Ketchum on February 28.

Titled “Prioritizing Infrastructure Decisions in a Time of Growth,” the lively discussion was moderated by Mike McKenna, executive director for the Valley Chamber. Panelists included Blaine County Commissioner Muffy Davis, Wood River Fire and Rescue Chief Ron Bateman and Hailey Public Works Director Brian Yeager.

The following is an abridged excerpt of the first hour of the conversation, highlighting some of the biggest challenges facing Blaine County.

To listen to the full, unabridged conversation, visit https://vimeo.com/showcase/tcl-archive.

continue reading

On infrastructure challenges
Muffy Davis, Blaine County Commissioner

The biggest challenge and infrastructure need that we have right now is the lack of funding to adequately maintain our roads and bridges and to complete certain upgrades or repairs. Additionally, bike and pedestrian improvements have been severely constrained because of the shortfall of funding.

We are definitely looking at bringing on a grant writer or grant procurement specialist to help us so that we can go out for some federal funding. We had discussed trying to go for a road and bridge levy this next year, but decided to wait and see how successful we are with federal funding.

Brian Yeager, Hailey Public Works Director:

It takes a lot of money to maintain our roads. We’re going to consume a significant portion of our budget trying to deal with the snowfall we have in front of us, and that’s money in our budget that’s not available to do the maintenance that other communities can—we only get six, seven months out of the year to try to pull off projects that everyone else gets 12 months for.

Sidewalks deteriorate quickly up here because of the freeze-thaw cycles and chemicals that get put out. We are constantly at odds with the environmental degradation of infrastructure, the costs that we incur trying to offset that degradation, and the short seasons we have available, combined with a limited contractor supply.

A large project also requires design, and contractor bidding takes a lead time of several months. We may not know whether we have the money after the end of the winter for another month, and if we need a three, four or five-month lead time to get a project in place with money left over from the winter.

On the importance of human resources
Ron Bateman, Wood River Fire and Rescue Chief:

The ability to live here and be a public servant is a real challenge. In fact, today one of our firefighter-paramedics is working his last day, taking a job in northern California. He is irreplaceable. We can’t coax people from Twin Falls to come up here because we aren’t paying as well.

It’s tough to live here, even as the chief of the department and the most highly paid person in the organization. Housing has impacted the fire department most significantly.

Brian Yeager, Hailey Public Works Director:

We covet human resources above all else. When we lose someone who’s been with us for five or 10 years, it’s hard to get a long-term employee. I’ve been running job ads for six weeks; we had one person click, but no respondents. It’s concerning. People are trying to fill the shoes of two people.

In Hailey we have 52 miles of roadway and four people in the streets department out of seven full-time positions in my street department. I have to use staff from our parks department to plow. We also now mandate that our water and wastewater department own snowplows, and then we hire contractors and also have to hire a truck out of Twin Falls.

These people that are out plowing the streets and checking water meters are hard people to find a place to live for, and we are constantly challenged with that. We can always buy more equipment, more contracts, but the human workforce we have is our single most important asset. The people that we need to go out and plow the streets, tonight—some of those people no longer exist.

Ron Bateman, Wood River Fire and Rescue Chief:

I imagine that four people doing the work of seven people is an incredibly stressful reality. Stress builds up in the body when you don’t have the ability to do the job you know that you could do if you just had the right resources. And that goes somewhere—all the stress and anxiety can sometimes result in really ugly, nasty things.

Mental health is an incredibly important thing to me; I try to share a lot of my own stories and my own struggles after 25 years of doing this job, which at times can be thankless and horrific and eat away at you in horrific, nefarious ways.

Muffy Davis, Blaine County Commissioner

The incredibly high cost of living and inflation has been really challenging for our employees. At the county, we are consistently looking to fill positions. In fact, right now, we have at our sheriff’s office five unfilled vacant positions, which has been very difficult. With public safety, that means overtime, and overworking our deputies.

To relieve some of that stress, we have been trying to make sure that we are giving incentives and cost-of-living raises and are trying to make sure that we pay affordable wages that can enable those who want to stay here to stay. We’ve also been working on zoning changes and allowing accessory dwelling units in the light-industrial district.

Apres Ski Member Appreciation Event
Thank you to WRWF volunteers & host Gail Severn
Hosted at the Gail Severn Gallery in downtown Ketchum, the annual WRWF Apres Ski gathering was a welcome reprieve on a blustery winter’s day. This member appreciation event served as a reunion for many, and lively conversation abounded! Volunteers from multiple committees greeted attendees and helped serve hor d’oeuvres. Foundation President Sandy McCullough gave a warm introduction to our Grantee guest speaker, Mary Fauth. Mary serves as executive director of Blaine County Charitable Fund (BCCF) – an organization that came together during the early months of COVID to give emergency assistance to families that were struggling under dire conditions. Grant support from WRWF in 2021 and 2022 has allowed BCCF to continue helping local families. A special thanks to WRWF member, Gail Severn, for welcoming everyone into her lovely gallery for the afternoon – it was a real treat!
Gail Severn

new members

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

Lucinda Chapman
Stephanie Child
Pearl Glaves

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 member profile

Lucinda Chapman shares her love of Sun Valley, education and the arts.
Lucinda Chapman


I am so happy to be a new member of the Wood River Women’s Foundation. I was inspired to join WRWF when I learned about the work being done and the impact that our collective spirit was having to help various groups and nonprofits in the valley. I have been part of a similar structured women’s organization (although much smaller) in Atlanta and I loved how our ability to pool our resources and our spirits helped to change organizations in our area. As a longtime visitor and now (in the past 5 years) a more permanent resident, I want to learn about the nonprofits that make up Wood River valley and make a difference in their work.

Midway through my career, I made a huge shift as I watched my then young children enter school. Their school had been inspired by an Italian system of early childhood education and the progressive, project-based approach was incredibly engaging for both the children and the educators. I went back to school to get my teaching credential in Illinois (where we were living) and then my Masters in Atlanta with a focus on early childhood learning.

I felt strongly about the power of the arts, both in education and in life so much of my volunteer and board experience has been in these two arenas. I am currently on a not-for-profit board (ArtsNow Learning) in Atlanta which works with public school teachers and communities to bring arts integration tools into their classrooms. The model has been very successful and the number of teachers and students impacted continues to grow.

The Wood River Valley offers so many opportunities for me to pursue the things I love to do – hiking, fly fishing, golf, skiing with my husband and family. Although I have taught children’s art classes for many years, I am working on my own art since becoming settled here. I love the fact that we live in a community that values the arts.

Welcome, Lucinda!

BFF! Membership Initiative

Calling all WRWF members! We’re here to remind you about our new membership initiative program “BFF! – Bring Forth Friends!”

If two new members join WRWF under your encouragement, you will be thanked for your recruitment efforts with either a $25 coffee card or a bottle of wine. This is an opportunity to continue growing and strengthening our collective membership through our personal and unique networks. Remember, there is no limit to how many rewards you can receive in a year. Be sure your BFFs give you credit when they join so we can track your success towards a reward! The starting date for BFF! is retroactively set to January 1, 2023. Keep spreading the word about WRWF and our mission! This reward is being underwritten by a generous WRWF member.
Grantee PSA
PSA – The Ketchum Fire department will be conducting CPR classes in March and April. Free community classes will be offered on March 29 & April 14 at 5:30 pm. In this class you will learn the basics of CPR, AED use, and choking. This 2-hour class is a great opportunity to refresh your skills or get comfortable with what to do in an emergency! An option to become CPR certified through the Heartsaver class (American Heart Association certification) will be offered for $25/person on April 26 at 5:30 pm. For more information about these and other classes contact Brook at birby@ketchumfire.org or call (208)726-7805.
PSA – The Ketchum Fire department will be conducting CPR classes in March and April. Free community classes will be offered on March 29 & April 14 at 5:30 pm. In this class you will learn the basics of CPR, AED use, and choking. This 2-hour class is a great opportunity to refresh your skills or get comfortable with what to do in an emergency! An option to become CPR certified through the Heartsaver class (American Heart Association certification) will be offered for $25/person on April 26 at 5:30 pm. For more information about these and other classes contact Brook at birby@ketchumfire.org or call (208)726-7805.
In Memoriam
It is with deep sympathy and recognition of their legacies, that we honor the passing of former WRWF members Mary Austin Crofts and Margaret Gerli Whittelsey. Margaret was a generous and loyal supporter to many local nonprofits; Mary was a devoted and extensive philanthropist and a visionary leader. Please read more about Mary here and Margaret here.
Mary Austin Crofts
Margaret Gerli Whittelsey

THANK YOU, sponsors!

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