Stories of Impact

Stories of generosity and community support from every corner of Idaho, including impactful grants, inspirational families and more.

Impacting Lives through Dance and Art: Rehle Higham Scholarship

Rehle Higham

To honor her 50 years of teaching art and dance, former students of Rehle Higham established the Rehle Higham Legacy Art and Dance Scholarship at Shelley High School. The scholarship fund will now be managed by the Idaho Community Foundation.

Teaching in her backyard studio in Shelley, Rehle Higham influenced thousands of southeast Idaho students. Her 8-week ballroom dance and etiquette classes were especially popular. They always concluded with a fancy dinner and dance during which students would perform in front of their parents. She passed away in March 2022.

As former student Curtis Olachea wrote in a letter to Mrs. Higham in 2014: “I want to thank you for the impact you had on my life. You taught me many things, but the most important thing you taught me was how to be a gentleman.”

Rehle’s son Jordan Higham said many of his mother’s former students felt the same way. “Countless times throughout my life I have had strangers tell me about their experience in the class and how it has helped them in life,” he recalled. “It might have helped them get a job, make a great first impression, impress their future wife or numerous other situations.”

In addition to dance, Rehle was a talented painter whose paintings were displayed in galleries in Jackson, Wyo., Park City, Utah, and throughout Idaho. Jordan said his mother passed along her love of art and dance to him and his six siblings.

“We all have our own personal original art collections in our homes,” he said. “For me it was helping set up for or sitting at art shows with her and delivering paintings to galleries. Growing up attending countless dance recitals, ballets, plays and other performances instilled in us all a love and appreciation for dance. I would say most of us have passed that on to our children as well.”

William Zanetti Community Fund

William (Bill) Zanetti

Decades ago, local businessman William (Bill) Zanetti of Silverton realized that there was no retirement community in his small town in north Idaho’s Shoshone County. He had family members who were aging, and he wanted a comfortable place for them to live where they could stay connected with friends and family.

He led a group of community members to acquire a site and spearheaded the effort to raise the funds for the Good Samaritan Society – Silver Wood Village. Over time, he helped improve the building and brought in bulldozers from his construction business to flatten a hill and give residents a more expansive view from their windows.

“He always tried to help his community by investing in it and helping people get a start in life,” said his former attorney, Michael Branstetter. “He was kind to his friends and neighbors and enjoyed helping where needed.”

“While Bill remained ever proud of his Zanetti heritage which began in 1886 with the family’s homestead and small mining claims, he was always looking towards the future,” added his nephew, Herb Zanetti. “He seemed to have a keen eye for creating opportunities that would ensure continued growth throughout the Silver Valley.”

Zanetti, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 97, created an Idaho Community Foundation charitable giving fund through his estate to forever support the retirement home he helped establish.

Thanks to Zanetti’s generosity and ICF’s prudent investing, every year Good Samaritan Society – Silver Wood Village received a distribution from Zanetti’s fund. However, the retirement home was purchased in 2023 and is no longer a nonprofit. ICF can’t give grants to for-profit organizations.

All ICF funds have a back-up plan written into the fund agreement for situations like this. Zanetti said that if Silver Wood Village became ineligible for grants that the mayor of Wallace, the mayor of Osburn and others he named should recommend grants to support organizations that serve residents of Wallace and Osburn.

In 2023, grants were awarded to:

  • City of Wallace for infrastructure repairs - $34,490
  • City of Osburn for pickleball and fitness courts at Lions Park - $32,800
  • Osburn area Silver Valley Seniors to support the Meals on Wheels program - $1,690

“It means so much that projects that have been a dream can now actually be completed because of his generosity,” said Osburn Mayor Kip McGillivray.