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Wood River Women’s Foundation Spreads Around Some Good for the Community
Thursday, July 19, 2018


Ketchum’s Community Library now has state-of-the-art multi-media equipment for its expanded lecture hall, which opens tonight.

The Blaine County Recreation District has $25,000 to assist it in expanding its overflowing Aquatic Center.

And seniors at The Senior Connection will soon enjoy a senior-friendly unisex bathroom, thanks to the Wood River Women’s Foundation.

Members of the philanthropic women’s foundation toasted their gift giving recently while mixing and mingling around the beautiful pond at Nancie Tatum’s home south of Ketchum.

The organization had its genesis 13 years ago on a chairlift when Barbara Thrasher and Jo Murray conspired to organize a women’s philanthropic organization that could throw its weight behind nonprofit causes in the valley.

It has grown to 346 members, each of whom contribute $1,000 “for the good of the community,” according to one member,  then vote on the projects they would like to donate to.

And it could grow even more, considering 12 hands shot up when Teri LeFaivre asked who wanted to be the 300th member.

“My mother belongs and it’s so festive and fun. As soon as I heard what they were doing, I shot my hand up,” said Morgan Martin, a former social worker.

“We live in a mountain community with purpose,” said Foundation President Peggy Grove. “Our mission is to educate women in philanthropy as a way to bring about positive change.”

Meg Stamper, executive director of Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center, recounted for the women how the ranch had purchased four new equine therapists with a $25,000 grant Swiftsure received from the Foundation the year before.

The horses, which replaced aging horses that have since retired to green pastures, are used free of charge to provide therapy for people with emotional, physical and cognitive difficulties.

“Last year our limiting factor was horses. The horses we have are in high demand—we always have a wait list,” said Stamper. “We already work with groups like Camp Rainbow Gold and Higher Ground, and we always have more groups wanting to come in.”

The new therapists include a 13-year-old quarterhorse mare that has provided 293 lessons for 15 different riders.

“She’s a former barrel racer, and she’s such a sweetheart. I love her trot,” said Stamper.

A seven-year-old Appaloosa , known as an amazing jumper, has provided 234 lessons for 12 riders.

Lucy, a 19-year-old quarterhorse with rodeo experience, is steered towards teens seeking challenges and has provided 394 lessons for 15 riders.

And Romeo—“the cuddly one”—has provided 176 lessons.

“One of our riders said ‘He makes me feel like I’m someone important to him,’” Stamper recounted.

Swiftsure is also the recipient of a 2018 grant that will provide $19,300 for electrical maintenance equipment for the arena.

The Wood River Women’s Foundation will honor its 2018 grant recipients during a champagne-and-cupcakes luncheon on Aug. 8 under the big tent at Trail Creek. The luncheon will feature music by two members of the Wood River Orchestra, who have received a grant from the Foundation in the past.

This year’s recipients are:

Blaine County Recreation District--$25,000 for an expansion to its Aquatic Center

Blaine County Seniors Council, also known as the Senior Connection--$25,000 for a senior-friendly bathroom

Crisis Hotline--$25,000 for capacity building and community outreach

Family Health Services--$25,000 for primary care expansion

Flourish Foundation--$25,000 for its Mindful Awareness Program

Hailey Ice--$1,158 for a Community Partnership Program

Higher Ground Sun Valley--$9,700 for a Family Wellness Program

Idaho Trails Association--$13,800 for a pilot program teaching youth problem solving and other skills while clearing trails with cross-saws and other tools

Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation--$23,120 for its Corridors for Coexistence

Lee Pesky Learning Center--$7,500 for a program Getting Students with Learning Challenge into College

Little Wood River Public Library--$9,000 for a Cool and Clean campaign

Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center--$19,300 for electric maintenance equipment for its arena

Community Library--$25,000 for a lecture hall multi-media technology improvement

The Spot Sun Valley--$10,000 for its Spot Young Company Musical in 2019

Wood River Community YMCA--$25,000 for its Power Scholars Academy

Wood River Middle School Outdoor Adventure Education--$10,000 for its outdoor adventure trips.

Members of the foundation spend weeks researching the applicants before voting on which ones to award grants to. Then they follow up to see how the money is spent.

“They put us through the wringer doing due diligence,” Stamper said. “And they did not let us off the hook after they had given us the money. They make sure their money is well spent.”

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