Letter from the President

Christine Avey

This fall has been a busy and exciting time at IWCF. We celebrated 18 years of educated and impactful philanthropy at our Anniversary Celebration, held two education workshops, one member social, kicked off our 2020 grants cycle, and started planning for next year’s Symposium. Everything we do is with the intention of feeding the minds and hearts of our members and the community we serve. 

In this newsletter, you will find updates on the progress of the grants that were awarded in the spring. I am proud of the diverse set of organizations we voted to fund, and grateful our impact is being felt so tangibly across the various counties we serve. The IWCF grant application window for 2020 is open now (until noon on Tuesday, Dec. 10) so if you know of a qualified organization in southwestern Idaho that may be interested in applying, please pass along the link to our application and let them know there is still time to apply.

With Thanksgiving upon us, I want to express my gratitude to each one of you. Thank you for choosing to be a member of IWCF, for caring about our community and one another, and for inspiring others to become educated about important issues while bringing awareness to possible solutions.

I look forward to seeing you at our Holiday Social on Wednesday, Dec. 11!

With appreciation,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead (1901-1978)



It’s Grant Season!

By Jennifer Sampson, Grants Chair

It’s that time of year again! IWCF’s grant cycle is open and we would love for you to be part of the Grants Committee. Not only will we be funding grants in our five interest areas (Cultural Arts, Environment, Education, Health, and Financial Stability), we are now in a position to regularly fund our Above and Beyond Grant and will be awarding a Rural Communities grant again this year. Please remind your favorite nonprofits to apply for an IWCF grant!

Serving on the Grants Committee is a wonderful way to learn more about the heart ofIWCF’s mission, meet other members, and see the wonderful work happening in our communities. There is no previous experience necessary! The committee reviews the nonprofit proposals submitted each fall, attends site visits, and recommends the final proposals to the ballot in the spring.

The grants process kicks off on November 21 with a “Welcome to Grants” orientation. If you are interested in participating, please complete the Grants Committee Signup Form or contact Jen Sampson, Grants Chair.

Catching up with our 2019 Grantees

By the Grants Assessment & Impact Committee

In May 2019, IWCF awarded eight grants totaling $291,971. Here is an update on the amazing progress being made by the grantees and the great work happening in our communities. 

Cascade School District #422: Creating Positive School Culture—$25,000  

Cascade School District is using the grant to create a positive peer culture where students feel supported and where the staff is equipped to deal with mental health issues. A Community Meet & Greet and Back to School event was held this summer and was well attended. Two more programs will occur this fall.

IWCF funding provides regular support of a contract facilitator who works closely with students in small groups and school counselors to create confident, resilient students. The student feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Cascade Schools are committed to creating lasting change in their student culture.  

While staff turnover, a problem for many rural schools, has created a delay in achieving a few of their targets, the scope of their grant remains the same, and they are on track to meet their goals.

Desert Sage Health Centers: A Project to Reduce Rural Healthcare Barriers by Providing Transportation for Patients Requiring Care in Boise—$59,642

Desert Sage Health Center is the proud owner of an IWCF funded van which includes wheelchair accessibility. “Funded by IWCF” is prominently displayed on the rear bumper of the colorfully wrapped vehicle. In addition to providing patient transport from Glenns Ferry to Boise, the Health Center is considering making the van a home-to-clinic service as well. 

Hacker Middle School: Fitness Playground—$60,000

In July, 90 volunteers from the Mountain Home community completed the installation of the school’s first playground and fitness equipment which is being utilized for the physical education of students and the community. The playground is quickly becoming a cornerstone of Mountain Home. Located in the middle of town, many children have never had a playground so close. The school describes the number of community members and families using the equipment as “unbelievable.”

International Rescue Committee: Spark – Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) Program—$30,000  

Shortly after receiving IWCF’s grant, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) formed a partnership with the Idaho Office for Refugees which funded an English language instructor for the Spark program. This addition allowed the IRC staff to focus on program oversight, recruitment, and program development. The grantee has already exceeded all four of its program goals! 56 Spark students and their families, which includes 129 children, have benefited from the program to-date. With the new partnership and IWCF’s funding, the Spark program was also able to accommodate an unexpected high volume of refugee arrivals in August and September.


Learning Lab, Inc: Education through Community Partnerships—$27,275
The Learning Lab grant has two goals:

  • To provide low income, low-literacy parents with language, literacy, and basic skills to equip and support themselves, their family, and their children’s educational development.
  • To ensure the Boise School District staff is equipped to engage these parents and implement effective family literacy activities.  

Thanks to IWCF funding, two literacy classes are being held in partnership with the Boise School District at Whittier Elementary and Morley Nelson Elementary Community Centers. Classes began in September and October and Learning Lab reports that students are getting comfortable in the classroom environment and bonding with their teachers, tutors, and other classmates. Learning Lab has found that it is critical for students to feel safe and supported for learning to happen.

Opera Idaho: Opera Idaho Van for School Outreach Programs—$30,000
Opera Idaho purchased a 12-passenger van in August to transport multiple artists, instruments, costumes and sets. The van was wrapped with custom artwork including the IWCF logo. Opera Idaho has scheduled all of its school outreach performances for the 2019/2020 school year and expect to reach more than 24,500 students this year compared to 17,376 last year. That’s what we call a happy ending!

Payette Children’s Forest: The Birds & the Bees + Bats & Butterflies!—$30,000
In the past six months 261 students have participated in habitat restoration, planting pollinator gardens, monitoring pollinators, and constructing bat boxes thanks to the grant from IWCF. One student created a poster on curlew nesting surveys and won a blue ribbon at her local fair. Ten educators have taken the McCall Outdoor Science School training. The IWCF grant has also enabled Payette Children’s Forest to develop stronger and more collaborative partnerships with schools, natural resource agencies, libraries, and the Intermountain Bird Observatory. 

Step Ahead Idaho: College Readiness Summer Program—$30,000
Between June and October, Step Ahead Idaho served 58 students through eight seven-hour workshops. Response from IWCF workshop students was so positive about the test prep component of the workshop, Step Ahead Idaho also created scholarships for test prep sessions at their Hillcrest site.

This fall they have had 60 students visit their Hillcrest drop-in center, take a College Essay Writing class, or participate in a Test Prep class. They also took their services to Centennial High School to work with refugee students in partnership with the International Rescue Committee.

Thanks to the IWCF grant, Step Ahead Idaho has three new volunteers, and better visibility and communication with local counselors. 



Keeping Membership Strong!

By Linda Riley, Membership Chair

We are up to 428 members! I am grateful for what every member brings to our organization, including and beyond your financial support. Whether you volunteer for an activity or committee, attend education and/or social events, or simply choose to contribute and vote, you are furthering our impact. Your collective support shows just how important it is to continue the work we’ve started.

Our membership renewal period kicked off on November 1. Please make every effort to submit your membership renewal by January 31, 2020. Please note, our membership donation amount has increased to $1,125 as approved by the membership on the grants voting ballot in April.

In order to continue the great work we are doing, we must continue to build our membership. Our ongoing Plus 1 initiative, “more members equal more impact,” is a way that you can help accomplish this. If you see the Plus 1 logo next to an event, please see it as an opportunity to invite a friend, family member, or acquaintance so they can learn more about IWCF. We are also happy to meet with people one on one if that is more convenient. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to make this arrangement.

If you are interested in volunteering but don’t know how to get started, please take a look at the committee opportunities on the members-only site or fill out the volunteer form. Many hands make lighter work, and you will meet more IWCF members in the process.

Finally, consider filling out a Member Spotlight Form for us to publish in IWCF This Week. This is a great way for all of us to get connected and learn more about each other. There are several questions; please simply pick a few that suit you best. And remember to submit your photo!


You Belong!

By Laura Simic, Leadership Development Committee Chair

One of the many beauties of IWCF is there’s a place for each of us. During some seasons, amid demanding careers, raising children, or other obligations, we can simply renew our membership, vote, and make an important impact in our community through our collective giving. At other times, we have the ability to participate on a committee, attend social and educational events, and volunteer for a variety of activities that help to fulfill IWCF’s mission. Regardless of your stage of life, you are a valued, significant member.

The sustainability of IWCF depends upon those who can step forward to give their time in a leadership position. Serving on a committee or the board deepens your knowledge of and appreciation for IWCF’s work, strengthens your connection to our network of impressive women, and provides opportunities to develop and hone skills. And it’s FUN!

The Leadership Development Committee is always looking for members who want to serve in any capacity, participate on a committee, or help with a one-time project. You can explore opportunities on our members only site as well as complete the IWCF Volunteer Form. You can also indicate your willingness to volunteer or share your interests and special skills on your Membership Renewal Form

The LDC meets monthly to assess the leadership needs of IWCF, keep track of member volunteer interests, plan leadership training opportunities, develop a slate of board members, and do succession planning for IWCF. The committee also reviews board position descriptions periodically to ensure the positions are manageable and focused on our core mission. 

When developing the board slate, and whenever a vacancy on a committee occurs, the LDC refers to the interests and skills our members have shared to find the right person for the right spot and provide leadership opportunities for those who want them. To support diversity, inclusion, and belonging, the LDC looks for a variety of strengths, skills, ages, membership experience, and backgrounds for board and committee positions.  

An assortment of experiences and perspectives makes IWCF stronger, broadens our collective knowledge, and extends our influence in the community. Even if you’re not sure how or when you’d like to serve, share your interests with us so we can explore with you further.  

The future of IWCF depends on all of us doing what we can, when we can. Sometimes it’s writing a check and voting; sometimes it’s more. Regardless of your season, know that you belong. You matter to IWCF and you are valued!

We Have an Endowment?

By Dana Kehr, Past President

Ever wonder why you only contribute $125 per year to cover the expense of running IWCF? 

The answer is the Susan Smith Endowment. In 2009, a donor offered to match $150,000 if an initial $150,000 could be raised. Members rallied together and quickly surpassed that goal, raising approximately $319,000, the beginning of an endowment to ensure the long-term sustainability of IWCF. 

Thanks to that initial generous gift and the financial efforts of many caring members, that $319,000 is now more than $800,000! A maximum of 4% is withdrawn from the endowment each year allowing it to grow, while simultaneously helping IWCF to continue its important work in our community and provide a quality experience for our membership. 

Our goal is to increase the endowment to $1,000,000 and your ongoing support will help us reach that target. Whether you’re developing your own planned giving strategy, donating from your Required Minimum Distributions from a 401(k), or deciding how to designate your IGD, every gift to our endowment has long-term benefits for us all. If you’d like to contribute to the endowment and help ensure the strong infrastructure and promising future of IWCF, visit and type “Endowment” in the description field. You can also read more about the Susan Smith Endowment at

Shop for a Cause

By Robyn Gee Tucker, Marketing Committee

Shopping online this Holiday season? Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchase price to a charitable organization of your choice. Simply go to and select Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation as your charity. Prefer to use the app? Me too! Add the items to you cart and then go to The items will still be in your cart and you can check out from there.

Welcome to IWCF!
IWCF is excited to welcome the following new Blue Ribbon members. Thank you for joining our mission!Amy Lombardo
Mary Ann Arnold
Sharon Bixby
Heidi Bogert*
Cathy Colman
Karen Coppess
Karry Fischer
Janet Gallimore
Marci Lingo
Amy Lombardo
Scout O’Gara*
Robyn Olnes*
Diana Parker
Sandy Parks
Christine Pickford
Erica Sarrazolla
Becky Verity
Christina Ward*


Thank you!

IWCF would like to recognize the following people for the generous gift of time, support, and resources.

Office Mailing
Saundra Coronado
Laurie Corrick
Molly Harder
Carol Hoidal
Sandy Parks
Sue Speer

Donation of an Office Chair

Mikel Ward

Summer Social
Gayle Verschoor – Location
Susan Smith – Food & Refreshments

Financial Contributions on Behalf of Others
Vanessa George Goulden in memory of Cathy Barney. “She’s irreplaceable.”
Ramona Higer, Tricia Kennedy, Susan Meuleman, and Lois Lenzi in honor of Susan Smith’s birthday.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival Volunteers
Marlys Davenport
Barbara Derby
Marilyn McAllister
Arlene McCarthy
Jenna Nathan
Kathy Pidjeon
Aleta Pottenger
Doug Pottenger
Beth Schattin
Susan Smith
Lori Smith
Sue Speer
Jo Wenger
Donna Wetherley
Janelle Wise

Annual Report “Mailing Party”
Cecelia Lojek
Marilyn McAllister
Jill Perl
Christine Smith
Sue Speer

Anniversary Celebration
Marti Agler
Andy Gibson
Linda Gossett
Debbie Johnson
Celeste Keller
Judy Nicola
Linda Riley
Susan Smith
Donna Wetherley



A Precarious State of Mind

By Molly Guenther, Member-at-Large

On November 6th the IWCF Education Committee hosted a lunch meeting at the Riverside Hotel to discuss the critical topic of mental health and suicide in Idaho.  The discussion featured a panel of experts, including Stewart Wilder, Co-Founder and President of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition; Shirley O’Neil, Counselor at Jefferson Street Counseling and Consulting; and Anselme Sadiki, Director of Children’s Home Society of Idaho. The program was moderated by Idaho Community Foundation President and IWCF member Karen Bilowith.

The panel discussed the increased prevalence of anxiety and depression across our society, particularly here in Idaho. This issue affects people regardless of age, gender, education, or socio-economic status. Idaho consistently ranks high in suicide rates relative to the rest of the country while simultaneously ranking poorly for mental health services. But our panel members see hope in the increased levels of attention and growing coordination among community resources.

Coordination of care is key to addressing this problem. Schools are gradually gaining additional counseling resources, more therapists are developing the knowledge and confidence to deal with people at risk of suicide, and outreach is increasing the awareness and public support. But we have a lot further to go.

We can all help. Society tends to unintentionally isolate people who face anxiety and depression by allowing the stigma associated with it to persist. We must encourage people to talk about problems and seek help when needed. As one panelist stated, “We need more scaffolding under people.” If you or anyone you know need to talk to someone, please contact the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. Help is there; all you need to do is ask.



2020 IWCF Fall Symposium
Unleashing Potential:
Celebrating 100 Years of Impactful Women in our Community

By Molly Harder, Symposium Chair

Save the date—October 13, 2020!

October 3, 1915: A line of women rally for women’s suffrage in Washington D.C. (AP Photo)

IWCF’s biennial Fall Symposium is an educational event exploring collaboration opportunities between philanthropy and community needs within our five focus areas. The 2020 Fall Symposium will emphasize women’s roles in philanthropy in honor of the women’s suffrage centennial.

Through our working title Unleashing Potential we will offer in-depth educational sessions led by local and regional experts discussing the contributions of current and historical women-led organizations in our community. Dinner will follow and will feature a keynote speaker who will provide an inspiring perspective on women making positive and impactful change in the world today. Please watch for the official announcement of our keynote speaker in the coming weeks, and plan to join us on October 13, 2020!

Individuals, businesses, and foundation sponsors help to underwrite approximately 60% of the cost of the event. If you are interested in being a sponsor, table captain, or have sponsor contact information you’d like to share, please contact Molly Harder at A talented committee is already working on preliminary tasks for this eventㄧcontact the symposium or education committees if you’d like to be part of 2020 IWCF Symposium. 

A Night at The Museum

By Molly Guenther, Member-at-Large

IWCF members and their guests were treated to a special evening at the Idaho State Museum on October 1st. Over 120 attendees packed the ballroom to hear Janet Gallimore, Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer of the Idaho Historical Society (and a Blue Ribbon member of IWCF) tell the story of the museum’s development.

The new Idaho State Museum opened on October 18, 2018 after years of dedicated research and development. The primary goals in this expansion were to repair infrastructure, respond to public demand and create new exhibits that would help make history meaningful across our state and maximize the museum’s role in education.  

Janet and her team spared no effort in pursuing these goals. They proactively engaged the five tribes that represent Idaho’s native people to ensure their story was accurately and respectfully portrayed. Our state’s teachers were actively involved as well; a full day meeting with teachers explored strategies to amplify the educational experience of the museum.

Event attendees spent the latter part of the evening freely touring the museum where they were able to learn about the Big Burn of 1910, mountain man Buckskin Bill, Idaho’s fascinating geology, the five tribes represented in Idaho, Lewis and Clark’s journey, and much more. 

Thank you to Janet Gallimore and her associates for their hospitality and the remarkable contribution to our state and community. Also, a special thank you to Carolyn Casey, Susan Gibson, Molly Harder, Carol Hoidal, Celeste Keller, Linnea Lovlien, Kay Mechigian, and Aleta Pottenger for your support during this event. 

Mark Your Calendars


New Member Orientation
Saturday, November 16; 10:30 a.m-12:00 p.m.
Summit Room, Hawley Troxell
Wells Fargo Building 10th Floor
877 W. Main Street, Boise (Members Only)

Welcome to Grants
Thursday, November 21; 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Library! at Bown Crossing
2153 E Riverwalk Drive, Boise
Optional Lunch: $15/person (Members Only)


Holiday Social
Wednesday, December 11, 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Crane Creek Country Club
500 W Curling Drive, Boise


Education & Recruitment Event
Guest Speaker: Cherie Buckner-Webb

Thursday, January 9, 5:30 p.m.
Idaho Black History Museum
508 Julia Davis Drive, Boise

Grants Education Session: Proposal Evaluation
Thursday, January 16; 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Library! at Bown Crossing
2153 E Riverwalk Drive, Boise
Optional Lunch: $15/person (Members Only)

Education Event: The Shoe That Grows
Guest Speaker: Kenton Lee
Tuesday, January 28, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (note correct date)
Library! at Bown Crossing
2153 E Riverwalk Drive, Boise

Membership Renewal Period Ends
January 31


Grants Education Session: Site Visits
Thursday, February 6; 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Library! at Bown Crossing
2153 E Riverwalk Drive, Boise
Optional Lunch: $15/person (Members Only)

New Member Orientation
Thursday, February 13; 7:30 p.m
Home of Leann Mohr (Members Only)

Nominations for 2020-2021 Board of Directors Closed
February 28


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