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For the week of Dec. 15, 1999 through Dec. 21, 1999

Disney Corp. gives $5,000 to Idaho youth endowment

Walt Disney’s wife came from Lapwai

At the request of Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, the Walt Disney Corporation has given $5,000 to Idaho’s Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation.

"The Disney Corporation’s donation of $5,000 is a tremendous tribute to the memory of one of Idaho’s finest citizens—Lillian Bounds Disney," said Gov. Kempthorne.

Lillian Bounds Disney, wife of Walt Disney, was born 100 years ago in Spaulding, Idaho. She grew up in Lapwai, a community on Idaho’s Nez Perce Indian Reservation.

In 1917, Lillian played on the Lapwai girls’ basketball team. Walt Disney and Lillian Bounds were married in Lewiston, Idaho July 13, 1925. Mrs. Disney died Dec. 15, 1997, exactly 31 years after her husband died.

The donation is being made to the Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation, a project of the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA).

Goal of the Youth Endowment is to raise $9.4 million for a permanent fund to pay for all state high school championships sponsored by the IHSAA. Since its inception in 1987, the Endowment has raised $1.4 million.

Each year, more than 41,000 Idaho high school students participate in IHSAA-sponsored athletic events, including football, volleyball, track, cross country running, boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, tennis, girls’ softball, baseball and golf.

Thousands more participate in IHSAA events for speech, drama and debate.

Despite the acknowledged importance of extracurricular events in preparing students for society, less than 1% of school budgets are traditionally spent on after-school activities like sports, drama, music and debate.

Fully funding the Youth Endowment will enable well over 4,000 additional students, each year, to participate in new state championships sponsored by the IHSAA.

These additional state championships will include new opportunities for the performing arts—such as dance and drill teams, solo and ensemble music festivals, concert bands and choirs—as well as athletic teams and cheerleading squads.

Gov. Kempthorne said, "Idaho hasn’t had a statewide music championship sponsored by the IHSAA since 1952. Fully funding the Youth Endowment could change that."

It’s costly to send kids to state championships.

The IHSAA estimates that Idaho schools spend up to $850,000 a year to send kids to state championships.

The Governor added, "Since the Youth Endowment will replace those tax dollars, schools can use the savings for classroom equipment, library materials and other critical academic needs.

"Other states are looking at Idaho’s effort as a great example of a public/private partnership that works."

Idaho is the first state in the nation to attempt to independently fund its state high school championships through a private foundation.


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