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Student Philanthropy Council awards $12,800 to local organizations

The College of Idaho’s Student Philanthropy Council is doing its part to support making a difference in their local communities, awarding $12,800 in grant funding between 13 organizations within the Treasure Valley.

Formed in 2006 following a $30,000 grant from the Seagraves Family Foundation in an effort to promote philanthropy on campus, the student-led council has annually distributed grants via investment earnings to local charities in the Caldwell area and beyond. While the total of available funds each year often falls between $6,000-10,000, this fiscal year is one of the council’s highest giving years to date.

“It’s such a great feeling to be able to provide something that helps everyone in the community,” C of I senior and current SPC President Alexandra Runnoe said. “Being able to see the impact that we’re capable of making, from getting thank you cards all the way to seeing the organizations in action makes it really, really awesome to be a part of this.”

Runnoe said the council, which is made up of students from all classes and across a variety of majors, spends much of the year receiving applications from local charities, who send the council their mission statements and their plans of community benefit along with their request for funding. The council holds several meetings to discuss how they can use their available funds to do as much good in the community as possible.

While the council originally thought they had around $8,000 to work with this year, an increase in funding allowed them to fully fund all the organizations they originally approved.

“We weren’t able to give everything they originally asked for until the funding increase,” Runnoe said. “Now, we could make sure they could do exactly what they wanted to do.”

Runnoe was joined by other members of the SPC and the C of I development office in presenting checks to a number of the benefiting organizations, including two on June 23.

The first, Kids First Cast, received $1,000 from the SPC. The non-profit organization, which formed in 2011 and has provided fishing lessons to over 10,000 children since its establishment, will apply the $1,000 grant to their growing Wish to Fish program, which provides children from low-income families fishing gifts during the holiday season.

“It’s a dream of mine to see this program help 50 kids every Christmas,” Kids First Cast Executive Director Howard Davis said. “This goes a long way to helping us expand and help. We’ll never say no to anyone who wants to learn.”

Also receiving $1,000 from the SPC is Advocates Against Family Violence, a Caldwell-based organization dedicated to helping eliminate domestic violence in the Treasure Valley and provide aid and resources to anyone escaping abusive relationships. Their grant will allow them to make purchases to improve their Hope’s Door Shelter, a women’s and children’s shelter located in Canyon County that provides protection and resources for victims of domestic violence.

“When I became the executive director here, so many people told me our group was the area’s best kept secret,” AAFV Executive Director Kim Deugan said. “We no longer need to be Caldwell’s best kept secret. We’re doing amazing things with our programs, and the more support we have from the community, the better off we’ll be.

Other organizations receiving funding this year include Community Cakes, Caldwell Foundation for Educational Opportunity, Nampa Public Library, Canyon County Community Clinic, Homedale Farmers Market, Hands of Hope Northwest Inc., Because International, Nampa Family Justice Center, Meals on Wheels, Trinity Community Gardens and Mentoring Network.

Runnoe said although the council has been serving the community for over a decade, not many outside the C of I know about the work they do.

“It’s really important to me that our council can grow,” Runnoe said. “I want us to be able to have more opportunities to help.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.