A New Urgency - (September 2021)

The latest from Spur

Dear Friends of Spur,

As we say goodbye to summer, the first traces of autumn can be felt in the air. At Spur, we have sensed something else in the air as of late: an urgent community-wide motivation to address our current housing crisis.

Across the Wood River Valley, individuals and organizations are turning their time and energy to the shortage of available workforce housing, looking into the roots of the problem and potential solutions. I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and momentum we are seeing around this particular issue. If there is one point of consensus across the valley, it is this: Something must be done about this shortage, and soon.

 While this energy is heartening to witness, it is also largely siloed. There is room for improvement when it comes to coordination and collaboration within the wide range of interested and engaged parties, and especially among local governments. It has become increasingly clear that tackling our housing challenges effectively will require a range of perspectives, approaches and efforts. It will also require increased communication and cooperation to ensure that the energy around this issue is channeled in the most productive way possible.

Spur sees its role in the equation as being the aggregator of information regarding who is doing what, where, when, and how, as well as the current dynamics of supply and demand. As viable projects come along that have a charitable component, we will also be an aggregator of philanthropic capital to invest in solutions. Our Community Housing Fund is already open to receive donations. Grants from this fund will benefit programs, projects and organizations focused on increasing or maintaining housing units that are affordable to workers in the local economy. We will consider proposals for abroad range of initiatives, from research, planning efforts and awareness campaigns to property purchases and construction. To donate, click here.

In this newsletter, you will also find:

·     Updates on our newly-launched Board Chair Leadership Program

·     Some details on a grantee program that's taking an unorthodox approach to cleaning up our trails

·     Answers to some frequently-asked questions about our Warm Springs Preserve Fund

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need a resource to assist with strategic local giving.

Most Gratefully,

Sally Gillespie

Donate to the Warm Springs Preserve Fund here.

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Meet the Inaugural Board Chair Leadership Class

After receiving more than a dozen thoughtful and compelling applications from nonprofit board chairs across the Wood River Valley, Spur selected seven candidates to make up the inaugural class of its Board Chair Leadership Program. We are excited to share that those seven participants are:

  • Erin Buell, The Senior Connection
  • Alicia Hollis, Blaine County Education Foundation
  • Page Klune, NAMI-Wood River Valley
  • Matt McNeal, Wood River Trails Coalition
  • Sally Onetto, Mountain Humane
  • Sarah Sentilles, The Alliance of Idaho
  • Steve Thompson, Blaine County Charitable Fund

The program, which kicked off earlier this month, will consist of a series of sessions spanning a wide range of topics, such as partnering with executive directors, board culture, governance best practices, growing capacity, and leading in times of risk and crisis. While participation in the Board Chair Leadership Program required selection through a formal application process, Spur is available as a resource at any time to any local nonprofit board member, director, or employee.

Nonprofit Spotlight

Environmental Resource Center

Noticed your local hiking trails looking a little cleaner lately? Meet Erica Exline, manager of the Environmental Resource Center's Pick Up for the Planet (PUP) Program. Affectionately known as the "Poop Fairy," Erica has picked up more than 12,000 pounds of dog waste and trash from Wood River Valley trails since December.

The PUP Program also provides educational signage, baggies, and weekly bin servicing to 16 highly-trafficked trailheads valley-wide, at no cost to the community. Picking up after your dog doesn't just help your fellow hikers keep their boots clean — it also helps the environment. Unlike waste from wild animals, domestic dog waste can contain harmful microbes such as E. coli and salmonella, encourages rampant algae growth when added to water due to high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, and often includes chemicals from preservative-rich packaged dog food.

Here's what Erica had to say about her job and the program:

"Believe it or not, I really enjoy my job. It's like a scavenger hunt every day, and it's a great workout. It's really challenging. I meet lovely people. I get great exercise. It's very fulfilling to me.

I've had several people tell me I changed their thinking. They never knew about the dangers of E. coli and dog poop, and all it took was a little bit of education. What really, really works is talking to people and educating them in a friendly, non-confrontational way. Just saying, 'It's ok, I got your back.' People want that positivity."


Spur is proud to have helped support the PUP Program with a $12,500 grant. To learn more about the program and the Environmental Resource Center, visit https://www.ercsv.org/.

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Testimonial

How can we help?

Spur can help you determine the most effective use of your philanthropy. If you have heard about intriguing organizations in the community, please reach out to Spur for our perspective.

‍Feel free to reach out to our organization or donate today to one of our funds by clicking below.

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