Forging Ahead (August 2021)

The latest from Spur

Dear Friends of Spur,

I am grateful for the chance to reconnect with you and to share three exciting developments in our service to the community. You can read about them below.

In this newsletter, you will also find our grant-making statistics year-to-date and information about a grantee organization that is stepping up to meet the needs of our immigrant population.

It is still a very intense time for nonprofits. Philanthropy continues to have a tremendous impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of our community. In tandem with that, new levels of collaboration among nonprofits are leading to innovative ideas that will address our valley's big issues more effectively. Please reach out to me any time if you would like to learn more or need a resource to assist with strategic local giving.

Most Gratefully,

Sally Gillespie


The urgent demand for more affordable housing options for local workers is top of mind for many in the Wood River Valley in this time of growth and change, and Spur is no exception. We believe that philanthropy has an important role to play in providing both short-term and long-term solutions to our current housing crisis. With our network of relationships, our access to philanthropic capital, and our pragmatic approach, Spur is uniquely positioned to help bring these solutions to life.

We've been deep in conversation with local nonprofits, employers, and community members—and while the stories and statistics are troubling, the response we have seen gives us hope. This past year, we saw what’s possible when this valley bands together to innovate and care for one another in difficult times. With continued collaboration and generosity, I’m optimistic that we as a community can tackle the challenging road ahead.

One of the steps we have taken is to create a Community Housing Fund. The Fund, which officially launched in June, will make grants to programs, projects, and organizations focused on increasing or maintaining housing units that are affordable to the Wood River Valley's workforce—including our frontline workers in essential service fields such as healthcare, education, public safety, and nonprofits. We welcome donations from anyone wanting to support efforts to address the local housing crisis.

As funds accumulate, Spur will consider proposals for a broad range of initiatives, including but not limited to research, planning efforts, awareness campaigns, property purchases and construction. To donate to the Community Housing Fund, click here.


Visitors to Spur’s website will notice another new fund: the Warm Springs Preserve Fund. This fund is linked to the City of Ketchum's efforts to establish the Warm Springs Preserve—a 65-acre parcel of open space commonly referred to as “the dog park”—as a permanent public space.

Being a central repository for gifts to ambitious community initiatives is a logical role for Spur. We can provide donors with a seamless experience and ensure their interests are kept in mind throughout the fundraising campaign.

With Spur as custodian, donors can be confident that funds will be released to the City only when requirements of a grant agreement are met. They will also have options for what happens to their donations should the City not meet those requirements. Either way, it's a major opportunity to facilitate donations to a legacy community project.
To donate to the Warm Springs Preserve Fund, click here.


To further our investment in nonprofit excellence and accountability, Spur is launching a Board Leadership Program to prepare nonprofit Board Chairs to fulfill that vital role and maximize its impact on their organizations' success. The program will engage a cohort of current and incoming board chairs in sessions that will begin in September. The course will cover topics such as partnering with the Executive Director, board culture, governance best practices, growing capacity, and leading in times of risk and crisis, to name a few.

Applications for the Board Leadership Program are due Aug. 8 and can be submitted through Spur's Grant Application Portal by clicking here, creating an account, and filling out the application form.

Spur's Year-to-Date Granting

As of July 2021
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$1.65 million
distributed year-to-date
granted from Spur's discretionary funds
average discretionary grant amount
local nonprofits received discretionary grants

Nonprofit Spotlight

The Alliance of Idaho

The Alliance of Idaho welcomed its first full-time paid employee in July: executive director Becky Lopez, who is taking the reins from volunteer executive director Sarah Sentilles. The Alliance provides resources for immigrant communities in the Wood River Valley and across the state, including a free, bilingual, confidential hotline for people facing urgent immigration issues.

Becky grew up in Blaine County and attended Blaine County schools. Prior to stepping into the executive director role, she volunteered with the Alliance and worked for Power Engineers.

A new executive director is the latest milestone for the Alliance in a summer of big developments. Here's what Becky had to say about that evolution:

"When I began my work with the Alliance, it was just a small operation, with a volunteer team of two, and over the past two years, I have seen it grow into a robust organization. The Alliance has worked to bridge the gap between the legal world and the Latino population in Blaine County. With the addition of legal expertise through Sam, a local lawyer in Ketchum, and Luis, an immigration lawyer from Texas, our vision to bridge this gap starts to become a reality. With our new office at The Hunger Coalition now open, we look forward to serving the community with all of our abilities in the coming months."

Spur is proud to have helped the Alliance of Idaho transition into this next stage by advising the organization on its business plan and by awarding the Alliance a $25,000 grant to assist with general support and capacity-building.

To learn more about the Alliance's services and outreach efforts, visit

Would you like some help with your local philanthropy?

Email Sally Gillespie to learn more.

Spur does not charge fees for our services.
100% of contributions to Spur's funds will go to the nonprofit organizations.

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"Each time that I speak with [Spur], I leave the conversation invigorated, feeling both more competent than I thought I was and more confident to move forward with our business. I know that when an important question arises, I can look to Spur to guide us in the right direction."
Naomi Runkel
The Space
The Space provides academic enrichment, test preparation, and college application assistance to students who otherwise may not have access to these resources. Find out more at

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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