The Idaho Community Foundation has awarded eight Forever Idaho South Central grants totaling more than $36,000 in Blaine County.

The foundation stated that it has redesigned its grants based on input from its nonprofit partners, resulting in larger awards for Idaho community organizations.

“Giving larger grants with fewer restrictions on how to spend them was crucial to nonprofits working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in Idaho,” said Cara Nielsen, the foundation’s vice president for philanthropy and impact, in a press release. “We are carrying that forward with our Forever Idaho grants this year.”

The foundation stated that it focuses its Forever Idaho grantmaking in four areas: family homelessness and basic needs, educational opportunities, mental and physical health, and access to services.

Kristy Heitzman, executive director of the Blaine County School District Education Foundation, said having flexible funding was especially important.

“Unrestricted funds allow us to support the greatest needs as they arise,” Heitzman said. “This was especially important in a time of uncertainty during the pandemic and continues today.”

Heitzman said one unexpected need this year was for a new vision screener to assess students’ eyesight. The previous piece of equipment was 15 years old and no longer accurate. A new vision screener has now been purchased at a cost of $8,000.

“Without those funds, many students would not have the opportunity to be properly screened for potential vision needs, which plays a huge factor in their learning opportunities,” she said.

This year’s Forever Idaho South Central grantees in Blaine County are:

Blaine County Hunger Coalition: $5,768

Blaine County School District Education Foundation: $7,500

Blaine County Seniors Council: $5,000

Hospice of the Wood River Valley: $5,000

I Have a Dream Foundation–Idaho: $3,000

Idaho STEM Action Center Foundation: $2,500

NAMI-Wood River Valley: $5,000

Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center: $2,500 

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