Members Give $291,917 in Pooled Grant Funding

By Amy Duque, 2018-2019 Grants Program Chair

What an exciting year it has been in IWCF Grants! We had a record-breaking 391 members vote on the ballot this year. Thank you all for your participation!

We started out the grants cycle with 84 submissions. Our five annual Interest Area Committees were led by Andrea Roope, Christine Keller, Tracy Rowe, Arlene McCarthy, and Jen Sampson. Our Above and Beyond Interest Area was chaired by Mary Hindson. They led their hard working committees through the thorough vetting and evaluation of each grant proposal, and came up with a solid ballot – all 12 choices were worthy of funding. If your favorite didn’t win, remember them when you make your Individual Grant Designation next year!

We planned for a larger Above and Beyond Grant to be awarded this year in the $50,000-60,000 range, but because of a returned grant last year, we had even more funding available. The ballot asked each member to choose the interest area they most wanted to receive the extra funds; Education and Above and Beyond were the two most popular categories. We were able to award a grant in each of our five annual interest areas plus one additional Education grant and both of the Above and Beyond ballot choices for a total of $291,917!  

Click on the name of each grant recipient to visit their website and learn more.

Opera Idaho: Van for School Outreach Programs ($30,000)
Opera Idaho has engaged in school outreach for several years, but they have been limited in their ability to schedule artists and visit multiple schools because they have to rent a van for a week at a time in order to transport everything they need. With their own van, they expect their education outreach performances to reach over 25,000 children annually— an increase of 10,000 children over last year. There is a considerable body of evidence that music education contributes substantially to the development of improved intellectual, motor, and social skills, playing a key role in students’ overall success in school.

Learning Lab: Education through Community Partnerships ($27,275)
The funds will be used to provide parent literacy classes in two Boise School District Community Schools. While a professional educator from Learning Lab works with parents on important basic skills, including English language, reading, writing, and math, a staff member from the School District will work with their preschool children on essential literacy and developmental milestones. Family literacy has the power to break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty, and can impact multiple generations.

Step Ahead Idaho: College Readiness Summer Program ($30,000)
Step Ahead Idaho will use funds to finish outfitting their new Hillcrest College Advising Center, and for the pilot and expansion of free summer programming focused on college-going topics for rising juniors and seniors in area high schools. They are particularly interested in reaching students who believe there are barriers against attending college. Through outreach, education, and accessibility, Step Ahead Idaho’s free College Advising Center aims to close the gap and help more junior and high school students understand that college is both affordable and accessible.

Wilderness Science Education, Payette Children’s Forest: The Birds & the Bees + Bats & Butterflies! ($30,000)
The funds will engage over 400 rural youth per year in Adams, Valley, and Washington Counties in ongoing place-based outdoor education. The program will focus on enhancing long-billed curlew, monarch, bee, and bat populations and connect area schools to each other as they tackle local environmental issues. This project will foster youth conservation leadership and give students the tools to make sound stewardship decisions. Often rural youth learn about areas far away from their hometowns and end up feeling that their own communities are not as important. By engaging teachers and students in making a tangible difference for threatened species in their area, these youth gain a sense of ownership in environmental conservation in their own community.

International Rescue Committee: Spark—Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) Program ($30,000)
Spark promotes economic self-sufficiency through language, literacy, and math education and training of refugees with the highest barriers to employment, to allow them to provide for themselves and their families. It provides a vocational English as a second language (VESL) class that integrates vocational English instruction with financial literacy, job readiness, and social wellness curriculum and activities. Funding will allow the IRC to adequately staff the program, design a culturally appropriate curriculum, recruit participants from Boise’s refugee community, and recruit and train volunteers.

Cascade School District #422: Creating Positive School Culture ($25,000)
Two years ago, six Cascade Jr/Sr. High School students were hospitalized for suicidal ideation, which launched the school district on a mission to transform the school culture to create better mental health outcomes for their students. Cascade Schools made progress toward this goal last year but they want to ensure long lasting change by building upon last year’s work and engaging families. IWCF funds will be used for social emotional learning programs, facilitator costs, and engagement programs to benefit all 230 K-12th grade students and their families.

Hacker Middle School: Fitness Playground ($60,000)
Hacker Middle School will use the awarded grant funds to install the first ever playground/ fitness equipment on their campus. Currently students go out for recess to an open field with two soccer goals (without nets!) and a couple of basketball hoops. There is no fitness or playground equipment available. The current setup provides little active stimulation for students and most just stand around outside. The proposed Burke ELEVATE Fitness Course can be used as playground climbing equipment by students and integrated into the physical education curriculum for the school. In addition, the equipment will be made available to the whole community after school hours as a free option for the community to improve its fitness activities.

Glenns Ferry Health Center: A Project to Reduce Rural Healthcare Barriers by Providing Transportation for Patients Requiring Care in Boise ($59,642)
This grant will be used to purchase a wheelchair-accessible minivan to transport patients to Boise for life-saving medical treatments, visits, and specialist appointments. Many patients, including several on dialysis and others suffering from cancer, do not have consistent or reliable transportation to get to Boise for medical care. This forces them to miss treatments and puts their health and life at needless and preventable risk. This grant will remove barriers to life-saving healthcare by providing critical transportation to Boise which is their main referral and specialty treatment hub.

Grantee Update: West Central Highlands Resource Conservation (Winter 2016)—$30,000 for the Sweet Syringa Hall

By Pamela Briggs, Deb Holleran and Claudia Hambacker, Grants Assessment

Photo Credit: Dee Held

The Sweet Syringa Hall, centrally located in the rural communities of Sweet and Montour, is now the thriving meeting place the community envisioned through the efforts and leadership of the Sweet Syringa Women’s Service Club. The IWCF grant for roof structure replacement and wall stabilization was critical to the success of the project.

A year after the grant was fully distributed, the Sweet Syringa Hall, built in 1910, has been preserved and restored structurally, making it possible for the community to have a meeting place. The IWCF grant provided the sound foundation needed to move the improvement project ahead and created encouragement to continue the search for funding above what could be raised locally. The Sweet Syringa membership continues to grow and provide additional improvements to modernize the interior of the hall.

The impact of the IWCF grant was not just to shore up a structure – it resulted in bringing together a wider group of people and building stronger relationships within and between communities. This is best reflected in the words of Sweet Syringa Women’s Service Club’s President, Sharon McConnel:

“As we look back on what has been accomplished in the past six years, we are humbled to have been the group to save the old Woody Hotel and Grange Hall. We experienced virtually unified encouragement and support from the Sweet and Montour communities, as well as Emmett, Ola, and Horseshoe Bend. People repeatedly came to our fundraisers, told their friends and families what we were doing, bought what we were selling, and donated money and time to our project. We have been amazed that the community just DID NOT GIVE UP on supporting us to completion, nor did our faithful, hard-working club members. We learned that we could count on each other and work unbelievably hard to reach our goal.”

On May 15 an open house was held at the Sweet Syringa Hall to thank IWCF and other donors who made the restoration and preservation of the 120 year old building a possibility. The IWCF grant made the success of the project a reality, and the club expressed their gratitude saying:

“Our thrill came when you took a chance on the Syringa Club and granted us this major award that truly opened the doors of success for us. ‘Thank you’ seems much too small a comment with which to end but it is from the heart of each Syringa Club member to your visionary, generous organization which represents the best of Boise and [Southwest] Idaho.”



2019-2020 Board of Directors

Letter From the President

Christine Avey

The Annual Meeting stands out as one of my favorite IWCF events each year as it is a celebration of who we are and the collective impact we have in our region. If you attended, I hope that you felt the positive and uplifting energy in the room. We are an organization today with over 400 active members, all of whom have something in common: we care about educated philanthropy, improving Southwestern Idaho, and supporting nonprofits who have identified innovative solutions to critical community needs.  

Membership growth is exciting because it means we can pool more of our resources together to fund more of these solutions—so please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to become a part of IWCF! Whether you are a new member, or someone who has been involved for many years, we want you to feel an authentic sense of BELONGING at IWCF.  

“Community is much more than belonging to something; it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter.” –Brian Solis

Idaho is special because our residents genuinely care about helping one another and taking personal responsibility to address community needs. Your engagement within IWCF is a reflection of those values. A record percentage of members voted on this year’s grants ballot. IWCF could not exist without the incredible group of leaders and volunteers who give of their time and talents. Engagement matters. Consider getting involved by attending one new event, visiting a committee to see if you want to participate, or meeting with someone on the Leadership Development team to learn about serving on our board of directors. I also challenge every one of you to get to know someone new at IWCF to help us continue the essential work of community building.

I am excited to get to know you this year and continue our mission of educated philanthropy.

Christine Avey, President

More Than 400 Members and Growing

by Linda Perez, 2018-2019 Membership Chair

It is extraordinary to see so many new faces at IWCF. This year we had a record breaking 68 new members join or return to our organization. We now have 410 members! The strength in our numbers culminates in the strength of our giving and we saw that firsthand in our ability to award grants to eight nonprofits this year rather than our standard five grants. Our 410 members are also committed to making a difference in our community through their individual grant designations to the nonprofits of their choice. Our commitment to give is the special bond of our membership. When we meet each other, we know we are meeting someone who cares, someone who was able and willing to commit their resources to the idea of women pooling their funds together for greater impact, and someone who believes in IWCF. Thank you so much for your membership, and thank you for allowing me to serve as membership chair these last two years. It has been my pleasure.

IWCF Climate Survey Sneak Peak

By Suzanne Groff Lierz, Diversity and Inclusion Work Group

The climate at IWCF is warm and sunny, with chances of rainbows! Thank you to all who took the time to participate in this important baseline study measuring how well we are meeting our members’ needs. We now know more about your attitudes and beliefs and your personal experiences at IWCF, particularly regarding diversity and inclusion. And for the first time ever, gathering demographic information helps us paint a picture of who we are as individuals, coming together to support IWCF’s Mission.

Here is a sneak preview of the survey results:

  • IWCF members feel positive about their experiences with the organization.  
  • Members feel it is important to improve both inclusion and diversity at IWCF.  
  • Responses show members plan to continue their commitment to IWCF and become more involved in the future.

Stay tuned for a synopsis of climate survey results, including a link to access more detailed analysis. LINK IS HERE.


Welcome to IWCF!
IWCF is excited to welcome the following new Blue Ribbon members. Thank you for joining our mission! Teresa Broadus
Emily Elliott
Carey Farmer
Sarah Griffin
Jennifer Jones Hooft
Celeste Keller
Sally Long
Judy Madden
Rachel Piscette
Ilana Rubel
Sara Shepard*
Audrey Smith
Donya Webb
Stephanie White
Kylee Wiscombe



Financial Update

By Susan Wishney, 2018-2019 Treasurer

The last task of the Finance Committee for this fiscal year, is to complete all remaining items of income and expense, transfer funds from the Susan Smith Endowment Fund up to an amount approved by the board to balance the budget, and prepare a year-end report for the board. Starting a new fiscal year on July 1, the 2019/20 budget will govern the limits of running the business of IWCF.

It was during this past fiscal year that the finance committee began a detailed analysis of the cost to operate the business of IWCF, and in the context of how to cover the increasing shortfall in the budget. For the past three fiscal years, a distribution from the Susan Smith Endowment Fund was needed to balance the budget. Early in fiscal year 2018/19 however, it became apparent that even with a 4% distribution from the endowment, the maximum amount allowed without a super majority vote from the board, the 2019/20 budget would not balance. After much deliberation by the Board, it voted to include on the ballot a proposal to increase the membership dues by $25, effective July 1. Over 95% of voting members approved the increase.

IWCF will also be instituting a trial payment plan option beginning in August. New and returning members will have the option to make their Membership Contribution over a period of six months (August 2019-January 2020) with equal payments of $200. Additional details will be forthcoming.

Thank you!

A special “thank you” to all IWCF members who participated in the Grants Ballot Decision meeting on March 13 as well as the following people for going above and beyond in your service to IWCF!

990 Preparation
Brenda Blitman
Kris Erne

Diversity & Inclusion Event
Angela Taylor, Guest Speaker
Amy Duque
Teresa Lassandro
Palina Louangketh
Tammi Vacha-Haase

New Member Orientation
Carlyn Blake
Amy Duque
Linda Gossett
Suzanne Groff Lierz
Molly Guenther
Heather Jauregui
Debbie Johnson
Linnea Lovlien
Linda Perez
Laura Simic
Mikel Ward

Day of Service
Peg Richards, Good Samaritan Home Executive Director
Jodi Peterson, Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director
Christine Avey
Galen Barnes
Linda Beebe
Sherry Bithell
Tami Casper
Annette Christensen
Claire Dwyer
Elizabeth Franklin
Carol Hoidal
Deb Holleran
Ann Lewis
Kay Mechigan
Laura Mulkey
Kathy Pidjeon
Kelly Raad
Jo-Anne Smith
Gayle Verschoor
Lori Wambolt
Mikel Ward

Office Volunteers
Jeanne Barker
Jill Carissimi
Andy Gibson
Lois Lenzi
Patricia Matthews
Fran Rutter
Christine Smith

Donation of Office Furniture
Mikel Ward



2019 Annual Meeting

IWCF held its Annual Meeting and Grant Awards Ceremony on May 7 at JUMP! It was a wonderful evening with friends and, as we listened to the 2019 grant recipient stories, we were reminded how together we can make positive change through thoughtful giving. IWCF Members distributed $291,917 to eight grantees—the largest total since IWCF began in 2001! If you missed the event, we hope to see you next year.

Click on the slideshow to view the complete images.

Catalist—Women Accelerating the Power of Collective Giving

By Susan Smith, Founding President

2020 Catalist Conference
February 23-25
Seattle, Washington

Vicki Coelho
The Well Spent Million (2009)

In 2009, IWCF hosted The Well Spent Million, an event to celebrate the milestone of one million dollars of giving. The event included a forum on impact, lunch with keynote speaker Colleen Willoughby, the founder of the Washington Women’s Foundation, a celebration at the Stueckle Sky Center, and a meeting in Sun Valley. The education committee, spearheaded by Vicki Coelho and Chris LaRocco, suggested IWCF invite representatives from other Women’s Collective Giving organizations. Members of organizations from Coeur D’Alene, Sun Valley, Austin, San Diego, Minneapolis, and Seattle attended.

The consensus was immediate that similar groups could benefit from convening to learn and share best practices and strengthen the women’s collective giving Movement. Colleen Willoughby took the next steps and organized a meeting of leaders of interested groups in the summer of 2009. This led to the launching of the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN) which began by offering monthly educational conference calls and a commitment to hold conferences.

Colleen Willoughby The Well Spent Million (2009)

Since 2009, the WCGN has acquired its 501(c)(3) status, hosted five conferences, conducted monthly webinars from September to May, and undergone rebranding. It is now known as Catalist—Women Accelerating the Power of Collective Giving. Currently, Catalist has a membership of over 60 collective giving organizations.

The next Catalist Conference will be held February 23-25 in Seattle and will feature keynote speaker Tricia Raikes, the co-founder of the Raikes Foundation and long-time Washington Women’s Foundation (WaWF) member. Raikes was recognized by President Barack Obama as a White House Champion of Change in 2009 for her work on youth homelessness, a Woman of Influence by Puget Sound Business Journal, and the 2017 Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award by the Seattle Storm. Tricia’s professional background includes leadership of Creative Services at Microsoft Corporation. In addition to being a member of WaWF since 2009, Tricia was instrumental in the founding of the Catalist affiliate, Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN), which adapted the WaWF model of collective giving grantmaking to a university setting.

Join Catalist in Seattle to:

  • Experience how together we are building an inclusive movement of women who use resources, knowledge, and relationships to transform their communities across the country.
  • Learn the tools to begin—or step up—inclusion work in your organization and community. Discuss and evaluate areas such as organizational culture, membership, grantmaking and grantees, governance, finance, language, advocacy, empathy, bias, power dynamics and more.
  • Stretch and challenge your role as a philanthropist, individually and as a member of a collective giving organization, so you are inspired, informed and equipped to lead change in your community.

Registration opens July 1 and all IWCF members are encouraged to attend. For more information visit!-2020.


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