After school programs, economic empowerment, senior transportation services, and mental health services all received support from the Limelight Ketchum Community Fund in its inaugural year. The Fund has awarded almost $30,000 in grants to 9 organizations operating in the Wood River Valley through a donor-advised fund of the Idaho Community Foundation. The Fund received more than $174,000 in requests.

What is the Limelight Community Fund?

The Limelight Ketchum Community Fund is dedicated to supporting communities in the Wood River Valley. Established in 2016, the employee board met with community organizations to deepen their understanding of issues facing the Wood River Valley. They chose to focus on mental health, domestic abuse, education, and organizations whose work addresses those in crisis (emotional, physical, or otherwise). The Fund is financed by contributions from the Limelight Hotel Ketchum’s operations, by employees through an optional paycheck deduction, and by guests through an optional $1-per-night donation. The 3-member board of directors, made up of Limelight Hotel Ketchum employees, determines which qualified applicants receive a grant. Organizations supported include Senior Connection, The Advocates, and Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley.

Senior Connection

Senior Connection provides essential services, such as transportation and access to food, to senior citizens of the Wood River Valley. The Limelight Ketchum Community Fund donated $2,000 to support this transportation service. “I would guess that most of the residents that live in Blaine County don’t realize that the Senior Connection has a rolling fleet of seven vehicles,” comments Senior Connection’s Teresa Beahen Lipman, “Three that are used to deliver our daily Meals on Wheels lunches, three that are used for our home care services, and our bus that allows seniors to run errands in and around town, such as riding to the post office or the food pantry.”

Last year, Senior Connection provided 6,580 rides in total, spanning across the core program areas that the organization centers on. These rides included bus rides for meals and activities, rides to appointments and errands, home care service transports, Meals on Wheels trips, field trips, and food pantry visits.

Gaye (pictured) is one of the many seniors in the community who use Senior Connection’s transportation service to go grocery shopping, attend medical appointments, and leave the house to see friends. “Next to their health, transportation is the second largest worry for seniors,” Lipman adds. Senior Connection is the only service in the valley that addresses these needs.

The Advocates is an organization that focuses on ending all forms of relationship violence and providing support to victims and others in need. “The Advocates works to prevent emotional, physical, and sexual abuse through education, shelter, and support services,” says CEO Tricia Swartling. “We focus on teaching the elements of healthy relationships and providing people with the resources needed to live abuse-free lives.”

Smart About Money Economic Empowerment

The Limelight Ketchum Community Fund provided $4,000 to The Advocates’ Smart About Money Economic Empowerment (SAMEE) program, which encourages self-confidence and promotes financial literacy among victims of relationship violence and others in need. The curriculum focuses on building good credit, establishing constructive spending habits, budgeting, banking, and smart investing. Participants in the SAMEE program can also open a savings account in which the funds they save are matched by The Advocates organization.

By teaching these people the ins and outs of their own money and assets, the program allows them to become self-sufficient and financially independent in the hopes that they have the means to remove themselves from an abusive or troubling situation in the future.

Girls on the Run – Wood River Valley

Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley is a nonprofit organization that inspires young girls, ages 8-12, to get outdoors and experience the joy of running. This youth development initiative encourages positive physical, emotional, and social development and promotes outdoor recreation and an active, healthy lifestyle. The female-positive program encourages girl power and teamwork initiatives, while building confidence and self-esteem. The young runners also have opportunities to explore and address their own personal experiences and challenges girls often face at that age.

The $4,000 grant from the Limelight Ketchum Community Fund helped to support the implementation of this program in all Blaine County Schools. This ensures that every girl, regardless of socio-economic background, has equal access to this opportunity. In addition, 30% of all children in Idaho are overweight or obese. This program not only encourages an active lifestyle through running, the curriculum addresses healthy eating habits as well.

Fall 2017 funded projects represent a broad range of issues facing the Wood River Valley:

FALL 2017

Crisis Hotline: 24/7 Telephone Hotline; My Life Matters – Teen Suicide Education; Teen Outreach – Distribute information on teen issues; bullying, dating, abuse $5,000.00
Flourish Foundation: Mindful Awareness Program $1,500.00
Girls on the Run – Wood River Valley: Program implementation in all Blaine County Schools $4,000.00
Hailey Public Library: After School Camp $4,280.00
Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley: Sudden and Unexpected Death Response Support $4,000.00
Mountain Rides: Bus Pass Scholarship Program $1,500.00
Senior Connection: Senior Transportation $2,000.00
The Advocates: Smart About Money Economic Empowerment (SAMEE) $4,000.00
Wood River High School – Wood River Climbing Club: Adequate Safety Gear $3,587.55
Total $29,867.55

Applications for the fall 2018 grant cycle are due in mid-September. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at