Saturday, August 8, 2020
Close Call Cemented Her Commitment to Philanthropy
Kim Nalen exercises her philanthropy with her pocketbook and with her feet on the ground.
Saturday, November 16, 2019


Kim Nalen, who is among those featured in today’s Saint Alphonsus Ski & Trauma Conference video, was honored as Outstanding Adult Philanthropist this week during a ceremony at the Grove Hotel in Boise.

The ceremony marking Idaho Philanthropy Day was hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Idaho Chapter, Idaho Community Foundation, Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation and Idaho Nonprofit Center.

Nalen was honored for demonstrating exceptional leadership in philanthropic efforts and efforts benefiting charitable organizations.

Kim Nalen praises The Advocates new transitional program during the groundbreaking for The Advocates’ new transitional living facility on River Street in Hailey.

“Kim gives to make long-term change because she knows that she can use her time, money and knowledge to make the world a better place,” those handing out the awards said.

Nalen was honored alongside POWER Engineers, which was recognized as a company with philanthropic work at the core of its mission. Others honored included the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children and the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Awards were also given for Outstanding Youth Philanthropist and Outstanding Media/Marketing Company.

Nalen, a career banker who handled investments and securities, learned of the award while rafting the Salmon River with the Wild Gift program. It was then that she started receiving congratulatory messages from Saint Alphonsus Foundation employees who had nominated her after hearing her story during a fundraiser for the Saint Alphonsus Ski & Trauma Conference.

“It was a total surprise,” she said.

She has long made it her personal mission to give to nonprofits in line with her values.

“I like projects that create positive change on issues, such as climate change,” said Nalen, who has used books like Tracy Gary’s “Inspired Philanthropy” to craft her personal giving plan.

Some of her pet causes include The Hunger Coalition, The Advocates’ transitional housing program and Wild Gift, which empowers environmental entrepreneurs through immersion in the wilderness.

“They’re change makers,” said Nalen, who has also volunteered with hospice and St. Luke’s Wood River. “And transitional housing provides a solid way to transform women with mentoring and support.”

“I’ve also recently become involved with Common Purpose which gets voters educated and registered and mentors young leaders because I’m really, really concerned about our democracy. I even plan to go to Kentucky next year to help register voters.”

Nalen dedicated her award to her late mother, also named Kim, who gave of her time and money to the symphony and gardening club, even raising funds for the Kennedy Center while the family lived in Washington, D.C.

“She was so gracious and generous. She gave of herself without looking for recognition.

Her father Skip Nalen, who worked in General Mills’ toy division before championing day care centers,  working in the Reagan Administration and later as president of STP,  also has set an example of philanthropy, supporting the symphony, ballet, arts, education for minorities, Habitat for Humanity and his church.

It was Kim’s grandfather Sewall Andrews, who put Sun Valley on the map for the Nalen family. He started coming to Sun Valley from Minneapolis when the resort opened in the late 1930s.

“He came out with ‘the old goats,’ skiing with Gretchen Fraser, Averell Harriman and Clara Spiegel,” Kim said.  “My brothers came here to work one summer and my parents followed. I moved here in 1999 because it was my happy place.”

Although philanthropy was already deeply embedded in Nalen’s DNA, she found it challenged in a new way during the winter of 2017-18 when she mis-skied a jump in a terrain park on Baldy. She hit her chin, hyperextending her neck, bruising her spinal cord and suffering a concussion and brain bleed.

It was a life changing event. Thankful she didn’t end up in a wheelchair, she gave $10,000 from the family foundation to the Saint Alphonsus Ski & Trauma Conference, which trains ski patrollers, firefighters and other first responders in the latest techniques to save people in the backcountry.

“If it wasn’t for first responders, I probably would not have had as good an outcome,” said Nalen, an avid skier, biker, hiker and dog walker. “They got me off the mountain and into the emergency room at St. Luke’s within the Golden Hour. And I was airlifted to Saint Alphonsus in Boise within three hours.”

In addition to making a financial donation, Nalen took medical courses certifying her as a first responder. She took refresher courses at the Ski & Trauma Conference held this past week at Sun Valley Resort.

“I spend a lot of time in the backcountry and I want to be able to assist others if I ever encounter someone who needs help the way I did.”





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