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Idaho Gives helps make magic for area nonprofits

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | April 30, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The magic will officially begin May 1 at the stroke of midnight.

As soon as the clock ticks over to 12 a.m. Mountain Time, Idaho Gives goes live for 2023, connecting those who want to help nonprofits who make it their mission to help others.

“It’s truly amazing to see the number of gifts left for nonprofits on the first day," Kevin Bailey, CEO of the Idaho Nonprofit Center, said of the event, likening it to waking up on Christmas morning.

Idaho Gives – a program of the Idaho Nonprofit Center – aims to raise money and awareness for the state's nonprofits. Through the IdahoGives.org website, INC offers an easy-to-use platform for donors to search, support and donate to their favorite cause.

The goal is to make it as easy and as fun as possible while helping Idaho nonprofits raise as much money as possible before the 2023 iteration of the event ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, May 4.

In fact, the first person to donate after 12 a.m. Mountain Time will earn a $1,000 cash prize for that organization.

Over 600 nonprofits have registered to take part in 2023, including 15 in Bonner County. Last year, 13,552 donors provided $3,694,066 to 672 nonprofit organizations.

Organizations taking part in Bonner County include Better Together Animal Alliance, Bonner Community Food Bank, Bonner Community Housing Agency, Creations, Community Cancer Services, Festival at Sandpoint, Friends of Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail, Inc., Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, Kaniksu Land Trust, Memorial Community Center, Project 7B, Sandpoint Teen Center, Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education (SOLE), Inc., Panhandle Special Needs, Inc., and Unique Center for Athletes of all Needs.

• Better Together Animal Alliance

Better Together Animal Alliance is all about our favorite four-legged dogs and cats — and the people who love them. Each year, the animal alliance helps thousands of pets and their people each year.

This year, BTAA is raising money to provide life-saving care to pets in need during this year's Idaho Gives campaign. The goal is to raise $10,000 to fund veterinary care, spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchips, and to help the animals staying at its animal care center waiting to find new homes.

Information: bettertogetheranimalalliance.org

• Bonner Community Food Bank

The Bonner Community Food Bank has been serving the community since 1981, with sites in both Sandpoint and Priest River.

In 2020, the food bank recorded 24,500 visits, compared to the 18,400 recorded in 2019. In 2021, the average number of families helped by the food bank was over 1,000; in 2022, the average number was almost 1,350.

A list of items needed at the food bank is posted on its website, from a variety of food to non-food items such as soap, shampoo and formula.

In addition to donations during Idaho Gives, volunteers also are sought to help at the facility.

Information: foodbank83864.com

• Bonner Community Housing Agency

Committed to developing local housing, Bonner Community Housing Agency began working with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association in 2010 working to create affordable housing in the county. Over the last seven years, BCHA has built, renovated, sold and rented houses to over 25 local families, according to information the group posted to the Idaho Gives website.

BCHA has provided homebuyer education to over 350 students to help them qualify for mortgage loans. And, the agency accepted the first tenants into its Transitional Housing Program to help individuals move from homelessness and into permanent housing.

Information: bonnerhousing.org

Creations

Located on the Cedar Street Bridge, Creations is dedicated to promoting the arts, creativity, discovery and STEAM learning in the community. Each year, the nonprofit welcomes over 40,000 visits from youth and their families.

Donations from this year's Idaho Gives campaign will go toward a new art studio sink and countertop, STEM activities, and art supplies. In addition, donations will support its program of hosting an AmeriCorps art instructor.

Creations' is open daily for children and their families to create art. Staff and volunteers also teach art classes and workshops, as well as hosting a fun discovery play area with everything from a restored wooden sailboat and tree house to a variety of STEM educational games and activities.

Information: creationsforsandpoint.org

• Community Cancer Services

Founded in 2002 by a group of local citizens, Community Cancer Services, also known as “Heather’s House,” is a non-profit, community-funded, cancer resource center providing current and reliable information and direct support services to cancer patients and their families residing in Bonner and Boundary counties of North Idaho.

Services include financial assistance for lodging during treatments, insurance co-payments, prescriptions, medical bills, gas vouchers, counseling, wigs, hats, scarves and post-mastectomy products. All services are free of charge and provided without regard to financial need.

During Idaho Gives, CCS is not only seeking donations but is also seeking volunteers and committee members to help with its work.

Information: communitycancerservices.com

• Festival at Sandpoint

The mission of the Festival at Sandpoint's mission is not only to make a wide range of music available to local and regional audiences, the nonprofit also offers ongoing youth education programs, and more.

"Our motto, 'Music for All,' is at the forefront of all of our decisions and actions as a nonprofit," Festival officials said on their Idaho Gives page. "FAS is committed to making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of everything we do – from the music that graces our stage to our youth music education programs to the talent that makes up our workforce."

In addition to its summer music series, now in its 40th year, FAS has a strong educational mission and provides music learning opportunities to over 1,000 children each year.

Information: festivalatsandpoint.com

• Friends of Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail Inc.

Friends of Pend d’ Oreille Bay Trail began as a broad-based community partnership established to create a public trail along Lake Pend Oreille to link the communities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai, the group said on its Idaho Gives page.

The group launched several capital campaigns to help buy property along the 2-mile waterfront to preserve the land for the public. Plans call for an underpass into Ponderay, interpretive signage along the trail and a new trailhead in Kootenai.

"The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail weaves our communities and Lake Pend Oreille together, physically and socially, leading us from the hearts of our cities to the lakeshore and each other," POB officials said on the site. "Pend d’Oreille enriches the lives of residents of Bonner County … [and] the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail is a collectively held treasure, designed for sustainability and to showcase spectacular lake and mountain scenery."

Information: pobtrail.org

• Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

Founded in 2005, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is a community-based, volunteer-driven organization. The group and its volunteers build trails, lead hikes, educate the public about the outdoors and build community around a shared love for the outdoors.

"Protecting wild land in Idaho is more important than ever," the group said on its Idaho Gives page. "In the wilderness, we find a place where life is simpler, clearer, quieter. We all deserve a place where we're free to roam, removed from modern society. Where we can find our own wild place."

Information: scotchmanpeaks.org

• Kaniksu Land Trust

With Idaho home to spectacular lands and waters, Kaniksu Land Trust officials said these special places provide unique and invaluable learning opportunities.

"Through a robust suite of nature-immersive programs, people from birth to college forge deep and meaningful connections with the land and water that surrounds them," KLT officials said on the group's Idaho Gives page of its education programs. "These experiences have been shown to increase academic success as well as inspire a lifelong love of nature and stewardship."

By investing in education that connects people with Idaho's unique natural assets, KLT said the group can create a brighter, more sustainable future for everyone.

Information: kaniksu.org

• Memorial Community Center

Memorial Community Center serves the community both as a community center and as a preschool. In addition to the preschool, MCC hosts a Christmas-giving program, a high school scholarship program and hosts numerous community programs and events.

Kindergarten teachers tell them that the preparation our preschoolers receive puts them ahead of the other students entering kindergarten who have not had this advantage, MCC officials said on their Idaho Gives page.

The community center also plays a key role for seniors in the rural community, giving seniors a play to gather and meet friends. Classes in art, yoga and fitness are just a few of what we offer.

Information: mccinhope.com

• Project 7B

Formed in early 2016, Project 7B is a non-partisan group dedicated to helping Bonner County residents understand and become more involved in land use planning.

Since then, the group has focused on three main areas: getting information out to the public about current land use planning, promoting citizen participation in the process and developing tools and resources to help residents understand and participate in land use planning, the group said on its Idaho Gives page.

"We focus on information and education, but we do sometimes take a position on an issue," Project 7B officials said. "When we do that, we strive to provide clear, accurate information about that issue and to also explain why we are taking that position."

Information: project7b.org

• Sandpoint Teen Center

The Sandpoint Teen Center offers meals, movement and mentorship to Bonner County teens every day after school.

This year, funds raised as part of Idaho Gives will go toward teen center programs and classes, health snacks and hot meals, purchase new activities equipment, art supplies and a future permanent home for the center.

During the 2021-22 school year, the center saw over 6,000 teen visits, with an average of 50-70 teens in attendance every afternoon, Monday through Friday. This school year, the center is temporarily operating at the Sandpoint Senior Center and the Sandpoint Library and is working on a permanent location starting in the fall.

Information: sandpointteencenter.com

• Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education, Inc.

Since 2011, Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education has connected youth to the outdoors through experiential education programs. Donor support helps the nonprofit provide affordable outdoor education programs in North Idaho.

Programming expenses required include teaching materials, outdoor gear and equipment, logistical expenses and busing students to course locations. These necessary expenses have since been identified as barriers for the schools served by SOLE — funds raised as part of Idaho Gives go toward those programs.

"Now more than ever, in these unusual times youth need the opportunity to unplug and connect to their wildlands and waterways," SOLE officials said on the group's Idaho Gives page. "Fields of study related to neuroscience, education, recreation and wellness have all yielded extensive evidence-based studies showing the benefits of spending time in nature as it relates to social and emotional development, physical and mental health and academic achievement."

Information: soleexperiences.org

• Panhandle Special Needs, Inc.

For almost 50 years, Panhandle Special Needs has been providing life skills and employment training to people with disabilities in Bonner and Boundary counties.

The group has now come to a crossroads.

"Providing services to over 200 individuals a year, our building has been put to the test," PSNI officials said on the group's Idaho Gives page. "We have painted, expanded, remodeled, re-arranged, redesigned, re-fashioned and finally have just outgrown our space and we are looking to upgrade."

Information: panhandlespecialneeds.org

• Unique Center for Athletes of all Needs

Founders Kelli and Jacob Bult opened UCAN — Unique Center for Athletes of all Needs — as a fitness center where those with special needs can go to feel comfortable and safe, and have an opportunity to learn about functional fitness and nutrition.

The couple had the idea for the fitness center after their first son, Caleb, was born with a genetic micro-deletion resulting in the absence of 79 genes. No other child has this same deletion making his health journey truly unique, and so Caleb has experienced a number of early intervention therapies through a team of therapists, teachers and doctors.

"As Caleb gets older my husband and I have realized that there is not a lot of opportunity for special needs fitness," Kelli Bult said on UCAN's Idaho Gives page. "We want to create a group atmosphere for any adult, adolescent, or child with special needs to come and feel comfortable and safe and learn about functional fitness and nutrition."

Information: ucansandpoint.org

For information on Idaho Gives, go online to idahogives.org. To donate to your favorite nonprofit, type in their name in the search box to navigate to their page.

photo

(Photo courtesy KANIKSU LAND TRUST)

A youngster celebrates being in the Pine Street Woods.