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Grants Committee Chairwomen Julie Brewer, left, and Gina Wolcott, center, presented Lisa Wild of the Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley with a grant of $35,000 to go toward repairs and improvements to its facility in Ketchum.

With floral patterned dresses abounding and sunflowers centered on each table, the Wood River Women’s Foundation celebrated 10 grantees at its annual luncheon Wednesday afternoon at Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley. 

The well attended event—by about 250 people—brought together all the recipients of the 2019 grants bestowed from the foundation and highlighted each organization’s project or program that will benefit from the grant. This year the foundation gave a total of $267,918 to nonprofits throughout the valley.

The Advocates received $35,000 toward furnishings and fixtures for its transitional housing service center and 12 new apartments. The Safe House First project provides transitional safe housing for victims of domestic violence, their children and their pets.

The Blaine County Education Foundation received $35,000 to go toward a scholarship fair, the first of its kind in the valley, for students from every school throughout the valley in eighth grade and above. Kristy Heitzman, executive director of the foundation, said at the luncheon that she has a senior in high school herself and understands that the college application process and finding funding to attend those colleges can be daunting for any parent and child.

The Blaine County Education Foundation aims to increase awareness of local college scholarship opportunities by developing a database available to all county students. Heitzman said many scholarships aren’t awarded simply because there aren’t applicants who fit the criteria, but the foundation hopes that by providing students and their families with the information, they will see there’s money available. The grant from the Women’s Foundation will also support teacher grants and a capacity-building project to broaden community financial support.

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State Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, speaks with another attendee at the annual Wood River Women’s Foundation Luncheon on Wednesday

Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley received $35,000 for improvements and repairs to its building—a little red house on the corner of First Avenue and Fifth Street in Ketchum, built in the 1900s—to improve the safety and efficiency of the space. The building is used to meet with families and support groups, train volunteers, provide office space and store equipment. Executive Director Lisa Wild was the 2019 grantee speaker at the luncheon, noting the services provided by the organization and how beloved the little red house is to the clients and families it serves.

The Blaine County Recreation District received $35,000 to support restoration of the public Aquatic Center in Hailey. The funding will help update and expand the facility, which has more than 20,000 visitors per year. Executive Director Jim Keating said in an interview that the facility is more than just a pool for the public.

“It’s a really vital facility,” Keating said.

Each summer, the pool serves as a venue to teach about 500 kids each year how to swim, Keating said.

In an interview, BCRD Director of Development Megan Stevenson called the grant “an amazing financial contribution,” and added that the grant luncheon provides an opportunity for networking and for more people to hear about the work the district is doing and the services it provides.

Other grantees included The Hunger Coalition, the Environmental Resource Center, the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, Idaho Base Camp, Men’s Second Chance Living, NAMI-Wood River Valley and St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.

The mission of the Wood River Women’s Foundation is to inspire and educate women to become leaders in philanthropy.

“We encourage and create significant positive change in our community through pooled grant-making,” its mission statement reads.

Those interested in learning more about the foundation and its impacts on the community can visit woodriverwomensfoundation.org.

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