Letter from the President

Christine Avey

By the time this newsletter is distributed, election results will be out, and I know there will be mixed emotions amongst our members and within our community. While some may have had differing hopes for what the outcomes would have been from this election, I believe that our members have more in common than an election would suggest. Our members care deeply about our community, respect and seek to understand one another, and believe in the power of making a positive impact by coming together and solving problems together.

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.

~Author Unknown

Each one of us chooses to give individually and collectively of our time and resources, and by doing so we generate communal strength to support the causes within our region that we believe are most important. Our organization is led by you, our incredibly talented and thoughtful member volunteers. Through IWCF we foster educated philanthropy, and we believe in the power of individuals giving collectively to make a more significant impact in southwestern Idaho. Every year our membership votes on which nonprofits to award our pooled-fund grants. We honor the outcome, and give even further through Individual Grant Designations and beyond. 

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation and for the knowledge that we do so much because we do it together. I hope you will consider renewing your IWCF membership today!

With immense gratitude,




An Update on our 2020 Grantees

By Pamela Briggs, Grants Assessment Committee

Catching up with our grantees is always such an encouragement! Click on the name of each grantee to visit their websites and read about more of the wonderful things these organizations are doing. 

Boise Bicycle Project
Project Kickstand has two main goals: to help Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) incarcerated men build their skills and resumes by becoming certified bicycle mechanics and to meet a need in the Boise Bicycle’s program by providing free bicycles to low-income teens. Due to the pandemic, no visitors are allowed at IDOC, which means the Project Kickstand hands-on training is on hold. However, Boise Bicycle Project remains very committed to the program and is looking into online tutorials for the inmates. They have also been able to provide 115 teens with bicycles this year, exceeding their goal of 80.

Cascade Medical Center
Cascade Medical Center (CMC) is utilizing its IWCF grant to improve health outcomes for rural residents through the integration of behavioral health care into CMC’s routine medical services. During the difficult time of COVID-19, CMC has helped patients with both acute and chronic medical and behavioral health conditions. Between June and September, their overall patient volume declined due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the number of patients needing behavioral health services climbed. Clients with pre-existing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders have been experiencing an increase in symptoms and a decreased ability to do the activities that help in their recovery. For example, the IWCF funded behavioral health consultant was able to help a patient who was experiencing significant gender dysphoria. Having access to behavioral health services came at a critical time and the behavioral health consultant was able to help the patient move from a place of potential self-harm to a path moving forward with hope.

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children
The READY! for Kindergarten project of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) provides parent education workshops to increase parent/caregiver awareness of the importance of reading to children. IWCF’s grant is enabling these workshops to be provided in some of our smaller communities such as Melba, Mountain Home, Emmett, Notus, and Marsing. Although pandemic restrictions have significantly impacted the ability to provide the education workshops, IAEYC has been able to train six additional facilitators, three of which are fluent in Spanish.

Idaho Botanical Garden 
The IWCF grant is enabling the Idaho Botanical Garden to upgrade its irrigation systems to better conserve water and serve as an example of best watering practices for residents and business owners in the Treasure Valley. Though there has been a significant reduction in staff and project delays due to pandemic-forced closures, the Idaho Botanical Garden still expects the project to be completed within the grant period. So far, they have begun upgrading sprinkler heads, held one of the three related education classes, started design on the irrigation exhibit, and plan to hire an irrigation coordinator in the spring to support the remainder of the project components. 

LEAP Charities
The Yes You Can program, supported by the grant from IWCF, has many exciting updates! 

  • 36 new intakes of families starting their journey toward homeownership
  • Seven families closed on a home and achieved their dream of becoming homeowners
  • Three families are under contract
  • Seven families are shopping for a home

LEAP is also starting construction on Caritas Commons, a new 14 unit community in Boise with affordable homes available for purchase to households who qualify as low income (80% AMI or less). Yes You Can homebuyers will have the option to purchase an affordable, newly constructed home in a new Boise community.

Finally, Yes You Can‘s first alumnus is selling the home they purchased through the program in 2018 and rolling the earned equity of $60,000 forward to purchase a larger home for their growing family.

McCall Music Society
The High Mountain Strings project provides young musician development by creating opportunities for students to improve music skills and take part in performance activities. It is a staple for these activities in Adams and Valley Counties.

The IWCF grant has helped to give McCall Music Society credibility within their community, statewide, and nationally. A professional musician volunteers to attend the student’s lessons and tune the instruments prior to class, greatly increasing the time they have to play and learn.

When schools closed due to the pandemic, it eliminated classroom lessons. Fortunately, some students were able to continue online learning during the summer and currently a McCall bank provides space where lessons are held. Even with these challenges, the project increased the number of cello students to 11 for a total of 37 string instrument students.

Wassmuth Center for Human Rights
In the Wassmuth Center’s words, being an “Upstander” means having the courage and compassion to stand-up and step-in when you hear or witness injustice. To promote this core program, Wassmuth Center used the IWCF grant to produce a seven-minute video featuring five teachable, decision-making moments challenging viewers to A.C.T. (Ask, Choose, Teach) and stand up against injustice. The filming was completed in late July and premiered on September 26 during the annual Change Your World Celebration. Distribution to schools is planned for next year.

It’s Grant Season!

By Jennifer Sampson, Grants Chair

IWCF’s grant cycle is open and the application is live on our website through December 15. We will be funding grants in six interest areas: Cultural Arts, Environment, Education, Health, Financial Stability, and Rural Communities. 

IWCF is looking for nonprofits who are: 

  • Trying a new approach to a program they have implemented before. 
  • Expanding their service area. 
  • Addressing a new or different target demographic.
  • Trying a new project or program altogether.
  • Trying to reinstate part of their programming that was eliminated as a result of COVID-19. 

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing any of the above, please encourage them to apply for an IWCF grant! The application as well as additional helpful information can be found online at This is a great resource for both our members and nonprofits.

Whether you are a grants expert or new to the IWCF grants process, we would love for you to join us in some capacity on the grants committee. There are several different ways to get involved and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other members and be engaged with many of the nonprofits doing important work in our communities. 

Members of the Grants Committee review the applications submitted by nonprofits in a particular interest area. Working with other IWCF members, committee members evaluate the proposals, choose three to five nonprofits for a site visit, visit the nonprofits, and ultimately select the two nonprofits that will represent the interest area on the ballot. 

  • Time Commitment: January-March, 2-3 hours of volunteer work/month.
  • Experience Needed: Absolutely NONE! This is a perfect opportunity for newer members, members with just a few hours of volunteer time, or anyone who wants to get excited about all the great things happening in our community.

Interest Area (IA) Leads are responsible for guiding the grants committee assigned to one interest area (typically 8-10 members). IA Leads review the proposals, guide the discussion, and communicate with the members of the committee.

  • Time Commitment: January-March, 2-3 hours of volunteer work/month. 
  • Experience Needed: At least one year participating in the grants cycle. This is a perfect opportunity if you want to lead, but just a little bit. We have so many tools to help you with this process and you won’t be doing it alone. Take the leap and let us know if you might be interested in trying this leadership role! 

The Business & Finance committee reviews the nonprofit’s applications, financials, and budgets. If you love budgets and P&Ls, this will be your happy place. 

  • Time Commitment: January, 4-6 hours. 
  • Experience Needed: At least one year participating in the grants cycle and a background or experience in finance and/or accounting.

Once the grant application cycle is complete and we’ve selected our six grantees, the baton is passed to the Assessment Committee. This group works with the newly granted nonprofits as they spend their money. Your job will be to help them through the process of progress reports, answering questions, and helping the nonprofits pivot as needed. 

  • Time Requirement: The assessment committee meets monthly but the bulk of the work happens in May/June with the non profits. 
  • Experience Needed: At least one year participating in the grants cycle is very helpful! 

For the remainder of 2020 and beginning of 2021 we will have virtual grants sessions with the hope of conducting site visits in February. We will have more information on this after the first of the year. Hope to “see” you when we kick off the grants process on December 1 with our Welcome to Grants orientation (held via zoom).

Please sign up to be a part of the grants process here



Time to Renew Your Membership! 

Renewals Open NOW–Jan. 31, Featuring New Membership Option for 2020-2021

By Linda Riley, Membership Chair

Now more than ever, our community needs the collaborative giving of IWCF—all of us together! 2020 has been a challenging year and we recognize that individual financial situations may have changed. IWCF will pilot a new membership opportunity with two options, both of which are fully tax deductible:

Option #1:

$1,125 which includes $500 for the Pooled-Fund Grants, $500 for your Individual Grant Designation (IGD) through IWCF, and $125 for administrative costs.

Option #2:

$625 which includes $500 for the Pooled-Fund Grants and $125 for administrative costs.

This is also an opportunity for us to reach out to others who were unsure about the original financial commitment. Please consider asking friends and family to consider joining IWCF. We have the chance to grow our membership in numbers and diversity! You can find information for interested parties here. And if you haven’t had a chance to renew and would like to do so now, you can complete the Member Renewal Form on our website.

Finally, we have a few more member events scheduled before the end of the renewal/new sign-up period. This is another great way to introduce IWCF to potential members. Please check the event calendar and invite them to join us virtually!

Member Milestones

Congratulations to Kathryn Baerwald on her upcoming retirement and a huge thank you for the many donations made to IWCF in her name. 

After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School, Kathryn practiced law for 35 years with an emphasis on the law of non-profit, tax-exempt organizations. Other than working in a law firm for two years right after graduation, she worked in-house as counsel for non-profit organizations. When the  National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) in Rockville, Maryland underwent a major corporate reorganization, she was brought in to help revise its fundraising approach as well as establish a program that could provide greater outreach to older adults who are aging in place. It was out of the second part of this job that Impact1890, LLC, emerged.

Impact1890 awards grants to nonprofit organizations, including congregations, within its geographical territory that work with older adults. Kathryn has served as their executive director and will be retiring on January 2, 2021.


Dixie Dykman and her husband Allen will receive the Light of Philanthropy Award at a ceremony scheduled to take place in 2021. This recognition is given annually to individuals who reflect the spirit and philanthropic leadership of the late Ralph J. Comstock, Jr., demonstrating remarkable qualities in leadership, philanthropy, and humanitarianism benefiting St. Luke’s and other worthy community charities.

Kay Hardy will receive the 2020 Governor’s Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award for her dedication as an arts volunteer and philanthropist. Since 1970, the Governor’s Awards in the Arts have been given every two years to recognize outstanding contributions to the arts in Idaho.


IWCF wishes to express its sincerest sympathies and condolences to the spouses and families who have recently lost a loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 

  • Galen Barnes and family for the loss of Nyle Barnes in August. 
  • Susie Parrish and family for the loss of Richard Parrish in September. 
  • Kim Fall and family for the loss of Dr. Stephen Fall in October. 

Something to Smile About

Did you know Amazon will donate a percentage of eligible purchase to a charitable organization of your choosing? Shop for gifts at and select Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation as your charity of choice. Prefer to use the app? Me too! Open the app and find ‘Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Select ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone. Don’t forget to choose IWCF as your charity!



Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A 60-Year-Overnight Success

By Deb Eisinger

In my mind, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is like a gifted singer who comes to my attention as if out of nowhere, creating a song, illuminating a cultural moment in one blinding instant. I add her album to my collection and memorize it. Then I come to realize that she’s been making amazing albums for years and they are all astonishing and revelatory and worthy of my attention. 

She is a Rock Star who’s a 60-Year-Overnight-Success.

There are reasons I was unaware of Ginsberg. I was born in 1954, the year she finished her undergraduate degree (first in her class) in government. When she was making her way through law school, one of eight women in her class, I was a toddler. When she graduated from Columbia Law School (first in her class, again) in 1959, I was in kindergarten. When she was teaching law and working for women’s rights at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), I was beginning my own career in public education.

As I became a teacher and a mother, she was behind the scenes making my life easier. She was championing my rights through years when I was unaware of law, precedent, or the Supreme Court, except when I taught my fifth graders about “The Three Branches of Our Government.”

When I retired in 2012, following the news became a hobby and occasional obsession. A few years ago, like a star appearing suddenly, RGB was everywhere—a 60-Year-Overnight-Success. I became a fan.

When I’m sometimes asked, ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is, ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that. 

~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I began to notice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court; she wrote brilliant case law and expressed herself in language that was precise and dignified even in spontaneous conversation. She delivered her dissents with her customary dignity in a carefully chosen lace collar.

‘You know, the standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie,’ Ginsburg told a Washington Post reporter. ‘(Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and I) thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman.’

I’m grateful she became a star. As myopic as I was, unaware of much of anything not directly in my frame of reference, her public persona gave me the opportunity to learn about her extraordinary life.  

It wasn’t until September of this year (I was home, hiding from COVID.) that I learned Ginsburg was part of Idaho’s legal history. In 1971, when I was in high school, obsessed with dating, Reed v. Reed began in the Ada County Courthouse. It was a case about whether a woman was qualified to be the executor of an estate (Idaho Statesman, p. 1A, September 24, 2020). The Idaho Supreme Court ruled Sally Reed wasn’t suited to be an executor because she was a woman. According to Idaho’s highest court, nature itself had established the distinction. Boise attorney Allen Derr took the case to the Supreme Court; Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a brief in the case. Many saw this case as an early example of the way Ginsburg chose cases to establish precedent on which to build equal rights under the law.

While the Idaho case is interesting, more impressive to me is that she maintained contact with those involved in this case for decades. She sent a letter to Derr when Sally Reed died, asking him to read it at Sally’s funeral. A section of the letter read:

In my treasure trove of memories is the banner headline I read the evening of Nov. 22, 1971, announcing Sally’s victory. I was on a train, returning home from a day’s teaching at Rutgers. Tears of joy filled my eyes.

When Allen Derr died in 2013, Ginsburg, by then a Supreme Court Justice, wrote to his wife, recalling how she felt when she lost her own husband, Marty.  

This personal regard for people she met throughout her life suggests her compassion was as great as her legal skills, and that her memory of the human element was central to her practice of the law. I’d like to emulate her compassionate way of taking the time to maintain connections.

I’m grateful for the documentary Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the biopic On the Basis of Sex, Stephen Colbert’s charming interview in which he joined Ginsburg during her workout routine, and Kate McKinnon’s energetic parody of Ginsburg on Saturday Night Live. They helped me enjoy and appreciate Ginsburg’s iconic status.

As I learn about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I see two images that inspire me.

First, she was a scholar, a lawyer, a judge, and a justice who dedicated her life to supporting equality under the law from the time she was a young woman until her death. Second, and more important to me, she lived up to her full potential at a time when most people in her world were uninterested in any part of her potential. She stood tall—well, tall enough—and met the challenges before her. And there were many. 

Photo by Carol Pratt

In this trying year so full of shocks, the news of her death reverberates, but what she taught by example remains. The images of her in her opera costume with her good friend Justice Scalia (whose legal arguments were often opposite to hers) bring their bridge-the-political-gap relationship to life at a time when we would all benefit by such friendships. 

Fight for things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.  

~Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Harvard University, 2015)

Now that I am a member of the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, I hope to live up to the extraordinary example she set. As she so eloquently said: 

To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.

Feeding the Hungry

By Susan Gibson, Education Committee

On September 30, the IWCF Education Committee hosted an event on food insecurity in the Treasure Valley, titled Feeding the Hungry. Karen Bilowith, President and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation and IWCF member, moderated the panel discussion. Panelists included:

  • Karen Vauk, President and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank
  • Grant Jones, CEO of Metro Meals on Wheels
  • Dr. Teri Thaemert, Capital Area Director for Boise School District 

While the panelists provided extensive information on the magnitude of the problem of food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the major focus of their presentations was the response of area organizations and individuals to community need. All four speakers stressed the importance of collaboration and coordination, offering examples of the partnerships among their organizations.  

Networking among service providers is crucial in responding to the needs of the community. Speakers stressed the importance of all the many organizations in the network remaining strong. Everything changed overnight, requiring not only an increase in services but a transformation of delivery models. The shuttering of senior centers, for example, led to the development of curbside pickup for meals and food delivery routines that provided both safety and social contact. Thaemert described how teachers, food service workers, and school administration developed creative ways to distribute food to students who had generally relied on their cafeterias for balanced nutritious meals. As major sources of donated food closed, The Idaho Foodbank was forced to purchase food, assisted in part by a major grant from the Idaho COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

The presenters highlighted the generosity of our community throughout the pandemic.  Organizations and individuals have stepped forward in varied and amazing ways such as providing refrigerated trucks and space for food storage, donating individual stimulus checks to organizations, and volunteering to fill the gaps left by volunteers in high-risk categories who had to stay at home.  

As the situation develops, these service providers ask for continued donations of time and treasure, flexibility in donation restrictions in a fluid situation, and grace and compassion for those who need their services during these trying times.  

A recording of the presentation is available online. You can also visit the following websites for more information or to make donations to the organizations.



IWCF’s Annual Meeting & 19th Anniversary Celebration

By Robyn Gee Tucker, Marketing Committee

IWCF members and their guests gathered virtually in mid-September for the Annual Meeting and 19th Anniversary Celebration. While the event looked very different from that of previous years (We miss meeting in person!), the work IWCF is doing has not changed. 2020 continues to prove itself to be a challenging year, but this event once again emphasized the power behind collaborative giving and the mission of IWCF. 

This year, IWCF distributed $215,816 and impacted six counties in Idaho. We reached over 175 families; 8,000 students; 1000 teens/adults; plus the 50,000 people who visit the Idaho Botanical Garden. Each grant recipient shared a video of the work being done. If you missed the meeting and their updates, it’s not too late! You can still watch the recorded event at

Mark Your Calendars

Click on the event names for more information or to RSVP.


New Member Orientation
Saturday, November 14; 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
via Zoom (Members Only)

Your Philanthropic Legacy: Why and How
Tuesday, November 17; 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. 
via Zoom (Members Only)

Giving Graciously to Ourselves
Thursday, November 19; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
via Zoom 


Welcome to Grants
Tuesday, December 1; 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
via Zoom (Members Only)

Holiday Social
Wednesday, December 2; 6:30-7:30 p.m.
via Zoom


Newsletter Feedback? Click HERE to give us your thoughts and ideas about the newsletters.