Partners in philanthropy: Idaho Community Foundation, nonprofits and you

By Bob Hoover

In Soda Springs, where the public library is the cornerstone of the community, they used a $1,000 grant from the Idaho Community Foundation to establish a Lego Club for 8- to 13-year-olds. The club focuses on the engineering lessons that can be learned using the stackable bricks, like contests to see which team can build the tallest tower.
“Lots of engineering brains were collaborating furiously for that hour and lots of laughing filled the library,” librarian Cindy Erickson said. “It is the perfect library program.”
In Malad, the Samaria Community Foundation received an $8,500 ICF grant to refurbish the playground equipment in Samaria Park and install a safe, protective playground surface. The park is now even more fun for local kids and their families, and is a great stop for travelers on I-15 who want to stretch their legs and let their kids play.
And in Pocatello, Bright Tomorrows Child Advocacy Center received a $2,000 ICF grant to spread the word about the work they do help child victims of sexual abuse and their families heal from the trauma and move forward with their lives.
Every year ICF gives hundreds of grants of all sizes to nonprofits throughout southeast Idaho and the rest of the state.
Our mission is to enrich the quality of life throughout Idaho and we do that by connecting donors with worthy causes, supporting the work of a variety of nonprofits and offering scholarships to students seeking higher education.
Already this year, ICF has given more than $236,000 to nonprofits and scholarship students in Bannock County alone.
In addition to our grant making and scholarships, the Idaho Community Foundation helps individuals, families, nonprofits and others create tax deductible funds that are tailored to suit almost any charitable intent.
We offer endowed funds that allow our donors to forever support the nonprofits they care about, and non-endowed funds for donors interested in shorter-term giving. We help nonprofits establish endowments that give them a permanent, reliable, stable source of funding.
Two years ago, we realized we also needed some extra funding so that we could grow ICF and connect even more donors and nonprofits. We turned to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for help and received a grant that allowed us to make Catherine Smith of Idaho Falls a full-time member of the ICF staff.
The Murdock Charitable Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and it provides support to nonprofits like the Idaho Community Foundation to help us succeed in our communities.
Catherine’s territory starts in Lemhi County and runs all the way to Bear Lake County. Those are diverse communities with different interests and needs, but Catherine is a fourth-generation eastern Idahoan, so she understands the region and has done great work in support of our mission.
Several years ago, ICF helped Gordon and Pamela Lassahn, of Idaho Falls, create an endowment fund to forever support the nonprofits they cared most about. When Gordon passed away last year, Catherine helped Pamela and their son, ISU graduate student Price Worrell, establish an ICF fund using some of the inheritance they received to honor Gordon and support people in the community who need a hand.
“Whatever the stigma, be it mental illness or addiction or any kind of hardship, all of us are just human beings who need a little help,” Worrell said.
We are grateful to our donors, members, nonprofits and to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, for supporting us and helping us grow.
We acknowledge and appreciate that you trust us with your goals and dreams for the future of Idaho. We share those goals and dreams and look forward to watching them become reality. Thank you for enriching the quality of life throughout Idaho.

Bob Hoover is the President and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation. He is retiring at the end of this year or in early 2016 after more than six years of leading ICF. During his tenure, ICF’s assets have grown from $55.1 million in 2008 to $123.5 million at the end of 2014. In 2014, ICF distributed $6.2 million in grants and scholarships throughout Idaho.