Friday, August 4, 2006

?Women are agents of social change?

Express Staff Writer

Grant winners Patty Gillman, left, representing the Bellevue Library, and Brenda Shapee, of the Blaine County Senior Council, share their delight after receiving grants. ?This means everything to this library. Thank you from the children,? Gillman said. Express photo by Dana DuGan.

A new floor, legal help for abused children, a college-level biology lab. These are a few of the issues on which a group of philanthropic women from the Wood River Valley are making an impact. The Wood River Women's Charitable Foundation awarded four monetary grants Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the home of member Maggie Sturdevant.

The alliance, formed in late 2005, has 87 members from the Wood River Valley. This is the foundation's first grant cycle. Overseen by the Idaho Community Foundation, their mission is to inspire and educate women to become leaders in philanthropy while bringing significant, positive change to the community by pooling members' resources.

In total, the foundation awarded $30,000 to four Blaine County organizations. Donations include $10,000 to the Bellevue Library for improvements and repairs and a $12,500 grant to create a laboratory at the College of Southern Idaho campus at the Community Campus in Hailey. Wood River CSI Director Jennifer Emery Davidson accepted the grant.

The 5th Judicial District Court Appointed Special Advocates Program received $5,000 and $2,500 was given to the Blaine County Senior Council. Known as CASA, the grant was accepted by Janice Eisele.

Susan Smith of the Idaho Community Foundation said this group is following a model that has been adopted all over the country. Each member donates $1,000 a year, and the money is then pooled for grants.

"Congratulations. Wow," Silak said after the awarding of the grants. "You are showing that women are agents of social change."

The foundation encourages people to visit its Web site,, read the guidelines and consider filling out an application.

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