Kathryn Ivers Appointed as Project Director of the Wood River Early Learning Collaborative formed by Idaho AEYC and Wood River Women’s Foundation
Advisory Council Identified and Begins Important Assessment Work
For Immediate Release
November 15, 2022—Ketchum, ID—The Wood River Women’s Foundation (WRWF) and the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho-AEYC) today announced Kathryn Ivers as the Project Director of the Wood River Early Learning Collaborative (WRELC). The Collaborative’s mission is to create an early education community for all young children, especially those from underserved families in Blaine County. The WRELC is the result of the Wood River Women’s Foundation’s first-ever Focus Grant (FG22) towards Closing the Opportunity Gap in Education.
“Kathryn’s broad and unique background—which combines community psychology, human rights advocacy, nonprofit leadership and a passion for improving the lives of children and their families—makes her ideally suited to lead this effort,” said Martin Balben, Early Learning Collaborative Project Director, Idaho-AEYC.
Ivers’ first deliverable was to create the initial Wood River Early Learning Advisory Council (WRELAC). The diverse Wood River Valley Council members draw upon their roles in early childhood education, including the Blaine Council School District, childcare centers, teachers, health care professionals, businesses, nonprofits and leaders in the Hispanic community.
Initial Council members include:
Martin Balben and Heather Lee of Idaho AEYC, are also members of the Advisory Council.
“The energy and passion of the initial Advisory Council members is remarkable,” said Ivers. “Community members throughout the valley have expressed their enthusiasm and we welcome their contributions at any time.”
“The WRELC brings together a thoughtful and innovative team of local experts with a singular and shared focus on supporting early learning within Blaine County,” said Jim Foudy, Blaine County School District, Superintendent. “This is the strongest opportunity we have to positively impact children before they enter kindergarten. A broad-based community effort that engages families in meaningful ways is critical to this effort.”
“The WRELC is a positive step toward building transformational solutions for the early childhood care and education needs in the Wood River Valley,” said Louisa Moats, Co-Chair, Focus Grant 2022. “The Advisory Council, comprising talented people from all areas of the community, is well positioned to create an infrastructure and lasting systemic change that will improve the community as a whole.”
Finalizing surveys tailored to three different types of community members is the WRELC’s next task. Surveys will be given to businesses, early childcare and education providers, and families and community members to enable local data collection. The gathered data will be used to compile the WRELC Needs Assessment, which is anticipated to be finalized by the end of January 2023. From there, the localized and community-driven strategic planning phase begins, with a target completion date at the end of May 2023.
When asked what inspired her to take the role as WRELC Project Director, Ivers added, “A significant number of children in the Wood River Valley do not have the basic skill sets to be successful when entering Kindergarten. Given the critical work of the Early Learning Collaborative, I jumped at the chance to improve systems for early child care and education.”
Look for announcements to learn about how to engage in the WRELC work on the WRWF Focus Grant webpage here.
About Kathryn Ivers
In her early career, Kathryn conducted a needs assessment for street youth in Portland, Oregon, worked for an NGO promoting human rights in Geneva, Switzerland, and persuaded various organizations to provide basic services for street children in Brazil. She also served on a team to reform the child welfare system of NYC, provided social services to families in crisis at Brooklyn Legal Services and helped start mediation programs for children at risk.
Since moving to the Wood River Valley full-time in 2006, she has been engaged in nonprofit work and promoting opportunities for children and families in various education-related settings. Kathryn holds a BA in International Affairs and Psychology from Lewis & Clark College and an MA in International Affairs and JD from Columbia University.
About Focus Grant 2022 (FG22)
FG22 is a special purpose grant of up to $200,000 over a two-year period created to address a pressing need in the Wood River Valley. In March of 2021, WRWF members chose “Closing the Opportunity Gap in Education.” The WRWF FG22 will award up to $100,000 in 2022 and an additional grant of up to $100,000 in 2023. For more information about FG22 click here.
About WRWF www.woodriverwomensfoundation.org
Since its founding in 2005, the WRWF has donated more than $3M to Blaine County nonprofits focused on the environment, health, recreation, the arts and social services. WRWF is a collective of 350+ women who pool their annual contribution of $1,000 to achieve greater community impact while advancing their philanthropic skills. All women are welcome to join, learn about the community, engage with the nonprofit applicants, and vote on the awards each year.
About Idaho AEYC www.idahoaeyc.org
Since 2019, Idaho AEYC has been working with communities across Idaho to build a connective system of high-quality learning opportunities for Idaho’s youngest learners. Using a local collaborative model, leaders and stakeholders are coming together to improve access and affordability to quality care and early education to ensure our children are school ready.
Supporting families and children means doing our part. Across Idaho, families struggle to afford and/or access early learning opportunities. The Early Learning Collaboratives—locally generated and community led—aim to address this issue and support communities by creating a governing body to assist the early learning system, focusing on the whole child, whole family, whole community approach.