Idaho Community Foundation History

About the Idaho Community Foundation – History in Brief
The Idaho Community Foundation was established in 1988 when the Whittenberger Foundation, a private foundation based in Caldwell, approached Boise Cascade Chairman and CEO John Fery with an idea to build philanthropy in Idaho. They agreed that the state might benefit from a community foundation because there were few foundations whose giving benefited Idaho.

Together, they developed a vision for a broader, deeper source of charitable funding to enrich the quality of life throughout Idaho and set about garnering support from businesses, individuals and communities across the state (see list below).

It was known from the beginning that it would be challenging to establish a statewide organization in a state with the cultural and geographic differences of Idaho. To overcome the idea that this was a Boise-only foundation, the founders required statewide representation on the board and ensured that distributions from the unrestricted funds, now called Forever Idaho Funds, would benefit the entire state.

In 1991, the Idaho Community Foundation made its first-ever grant awards – 31 grants totaling $164,000.

Today, ICF has grown to more than 630 charitable funds. It has over $218 million in assets and an endowment of $161.2 million. Since 1991, we’ve granted more than $142 million. 

2018 and beyond

As the Idaho Community Foundation entered its 30th year, ICF leaders began to focus on and refine the foundation’s community impact. A statewide listening tour uncovered that while Idaho’s regions are unique and take pride in their individual identities, they also share similar concerns for their communities. Family homelessness, mental and physical health, educational opportunities and access to services are issues shared across Idaho. These became ICF’s Areas of Impact.

The Areas of Impact were brought into sharp focus when the coronavirus pandemic struck Idaho in 2020. ICF quickly partnered with the Idaho Nonprofit Center, United Way of Treasure Valley and United Ways throughout the state to create the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for Idaho.

With early support from the fund’s Lead Funding Donors – Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, Micron Foundation and Micron’s Boise employees, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and Wells Fargo – as well as hundreds of individuals, families, businesses and corporations throughout the region, the fund collected and distributed more than $2 million to community organizations helping those most affected by the pandemic.

ICF learned and grew from its experience with the coronavirus pandemic. The incredibly valuable local knowledge of the Rapid Response Grant Panels, the amazing work nonprofits were able to accomplish when they received large, unrestricted grants and the strong philanthropic partnerships we developed, led to changes when the pandemic subsided.

Today, we look forward to the future of the Idaho Community Foundation as we bring people and resources together for local needs so that all Idahoans live in thriving communities.

On behalf of grateful communities across the state, the Idaho Community Foundation extends its appreciation to the Founding Donors, who made a big idea become a reality.

Founding Donors: Businesses, Corporations and Foundations
Albertson’s, Inc.
Boise Cascade Corporation
Northwest Area Foundation
The Whittenberger Foundation

Amalgamated Sugar
Arthur Andersen LLP
Basic American, Inc.
Boise Family YMCA (now Treasure Valley YMCA)
Boise Philharmonic Association, Inc.
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Coeur d’Alene Mines
Daugherty Foundation
Deloitte & Touche
First Interstate Bank
First Security Bank of Idaho, N.A.
FMC Foundation
Gannett Foundation/Idaho Statesman
Global Travel
Green Giant/Pillsbury
Hecla Mining, Inc.
Hewlett-Packard Company
Idaho Power Company
Intermountain Gas Industries Foundation
Key Bank of Idaho
KTVB Channel 7
Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation
Morrison Knudsen Company Foundation
Park Price Motor Company
Potlatch Corporation
Steele-Reese Foundation
The Terteling Company, Inc.
U S WEST Communications
U.S. Bank
Union Pacific Foundation
Washington Trust Bank
Wells Fargo Bank
West One Bancorp

Founding Donors: Individuals, Couples and Families
J.A. and Kathryn Albertson
Harry Bettis
Joan Chesbro
Jim and Barbara Cimino
Robert and Mary Evans
Roger and Sybil Ferguson
John B. and Delores L. Fery
Donald and Gretchen Fraser
Linda Grable-Curtis
Tom and Alice Hennessey
John and Geri Herbert
William R. Hewlett
Richard M. and Mary B. Hormaechea
Lewis Hower
Nick and Sara Ifft
Kenlon P. and Carol J. Johnson
D. Whitman and Paula Jones
Edward Keane
Sara M. Maas
H.F. and Colleen Magnuson
Warren E. McCain
Jane and Arthur Oppenheimer
David and Vaniece Petso
Ethel B. "Stevie" Rawlinson
Robert and Dorothy Rebholtz
Bob and Carol Reed
Earl C. Reynolds Jr.
Tom, Sheila, John and Joy Richards
Jim and Bette Roper
John Roper
John and Karen Rosholt
J.R. Simplot
Carmelita G. Spencer
Harry B. Turner
Miles and Virginia Willard

Other Support
Joan G. Adkins, Arthur Andersen & Co.
Millis Anderson
Larry R. Bird, Deloitte and Touche
Kristy Browning
Karla Haun, Boise Cascade
Roger Martell, Deloitte & Touche
John McHugh, Magnuson & McHugh
Herb Pellinen, Boise Cascade
J. Kirk Sullivan, Boise Cascade
Susan Reeb, Boise Cascade
John Runft, Runft, Coffin & Matthews

Idaho Community Foundation Presidents and CEOs
1988-1993 – Dr. Sally J. Thomas
1993-1996 – Steve Guerber
1996-2004 – Alice E. Hennessey
2004-2008 – Cathy Silak
2008-2009 – Alice E. Hennessey (interim)
2009-2016 – Bob Hoover
2016-2021 – Karen Bilowith
2021-Current – Steve Burns

Idaho Community Foundation Board Chairs
1988-1997 – John Fery, Boise
1997-2000 – Park Price III, Idaho Falls
2000-2002 – Roger Martell, Boise
2002-2004 – Dolores S. Chapman, McCall
2004-2006 – Duane Jacklin, Coeur d’Alene
2006-2008 – Douglas R. Nelson, Idaho Falls
2008-2010 – Joseph W. Marshall, Boise
2010-2012 – Sandra L.S. Fery, Boise
2012-2014 – Michael McBride, Twin Falls
2015-2017 – Bill Berg, Sagle
2017-2019 – Sue Thilo, Hayden Lake
2019-2021 – Steve Carr, Idaho Falls