Friday, August 22, 2008

Women are leaders in philanthropy

Wood River organization awards grants to non-profits

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum firefighters Tom and Lara McClean accept a grant at the annual Women’s Charitable Foundation gathering. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Wood River Women's Charitable Foundation doled out checks totaling $104,000 to six non-profit organizations based in Blaine County during a ceremony Wednesday at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.

Receiving a grant for $29,500, the Wood River Sawtooth Emergency Pediatric Medical Services will create protocols, training and education for pediatric care by first responders. The grant was accepted by Ketchum firefighters Tom and Lara McClean.

The Hunger Coalition received $19,500 to help finance a pilot program at Woodside Elementary School implemented this summer.

"It was a very successful program," Hunger Coalition Executive Director Jeanne Liston said. "The first five weeks were kids coming on their own, then summer school started. This program was open to any child, no questions asked. A Summer Food Program (a federally funded program) is all over the country. We were one of only two in the state of Idaho to offer this.

The Hunger Coalition partnered with the Blaine County School District, the formal sponsors of the program. By the end of the summer it had served 6,231 meals. The bulk of that took place during summer school when it offered breakfast and lunch.

Liston said the program had 36 volunteers who logged more than 200 hours. Activities were provided by Hailey and Bellevue public libraries, Y on Wheels, PAL and Blaine County Teen Advisory Council.

The Blaine County School District/Probation Department Program will use its grant of $25,000 to fund two additional days of its Connections Project, which currently meets three days a week. It provides an alternative to out-of-school suspensions for at-risk youth. Julie Carney, Cynthia Carr and Wood River High School Assistant Principal Keith Nelson accepted the grant.

A new program received $10,000, accepted by Sara Daly, to coordinate all Blaine Cocunty's mentoring programs under the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program as an affiliate of the Treasure Valley program.

Kim Coonis, executive director of Blaine County Senior Connection, accepted $15,000, which was $5,000 more than requested for outreach programs. The Wood River Women's Charitable Foundation determined the organization needed a computer program to track participants and activities and provide documentation for the government and other funding entities.

La Alianza will use its $5,000 to provide operational support for its center at the Community Campus. La Alianza seeks to improve the quality of life for Latinos and other immigrants in the community through education, advocacy and direct services. Executive Director Rebecca Hornbach accepted the grant.

The women's philanthropy alliance was formed in 2005. The organization's mission is to inspire and educate women to become leaders in philanthropy while bringing significant, positive change to the community by pooling its members' resources.

Each of the 41 members pledges a contribution of $1,050 annually upon joining. The Idaho Community Foundation, based in Boise, provides advice and financial administration.

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