From left, Joan Woodard, Jody Harris, Janice Baldwin, Jeneane Prince and Jan Tymesen participate in a grant proposal session for the Women's Gift Alliance in May.
Women's Gift Alliance members gather around one of five new practice pianos that were purchased by the Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene with a Women's Gift Alliance grant in December 2021.
Women's Gift Alliance members Judy Salzer, far left, and Jeneane Prince, far right, present Tesh, Inc. Vice President Terri Johnson, center left, and CEO Marcee Hartzell with a $25,000 grant in June.
Staff Writer | August 29, 2022 1:09 AM
One person donating $1,000 is a big deal.
When 135 people donate $1,000, their collective philanthropy can make a world of difference.
The Women's Gift Alliance is proof of strength in numbers.
"We raise $135,000 every year," said Pat Krug, board member and membership chair of the philanthropic nonprofit.
Each year, members of the Women's Gift Alliance pay $1,050 to participate in the organization. Of that, $50 goes to administrative expenses; $500 is pooled with other members’ funds and distributed through a grant solicitation and selection process; $250 is allocated to a nonprofit of the member's choice; and $250 is added to an endowment fund so the alliance can annually disburse set amounts.
Since 2005, the Women's Gift Alliance has awarded nearly $1.5 million to Kootenai County nonprofits.
"If you want to add philanthropy to your lifestyle, to your legacy, and you can budget that, you can really make an impact," Krug said. "Plus, you get to vote on where the money goes."
She said what she enjoys most about the organization is members have the ability to choose how they participate. Members can send in their membership fees and participate that way. They can also attend meetings and group functions, or serve as officers or on the grant committee, which meets, reviews and discusses each grant proposal. Members of the grant committee make final reviews of finalist organizations and visit applicants on site.
Krug was on the committee for three years.
"For seven years, all I did was send in my dues and vote, but I felt like I was a part of something much bigger and I had a voice because I got to vote," Krug said. "When my responsibilities shifted, I had more time and I got involved in the grant committee."
Each year, three nonprofits receive $25,000 grants while smaller consolation grants of $5,000 are provided to other applicants that were not selected in the top three.
Organizations that have benefited from the Women's Gift Alliance through the years include the Post Falls Food Bank, North Idaho CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Tesh, Inc., the Idaho Youth Ranch, On Site for Seniors, Children's Village, Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho and many more.
The grants have supported an array of projects throughout the community — installing a fire alarm, science field trips for high schoolers, facility upgrades at the homeless day center, supporting former inmates as they transition back into society, replacing old vehicles and contributing to scholarship funds, to name a few.
"Our goal is simple: The more members, the more we can give," Women's Gift Alliance co-founding member Janice Baldwin said.
She said the group was founded after she was inspired by the founder of Washington Women’s Foundation in Seattle to start a collective giving group in Kootenai County.
"In 2004, we came together with eight board members and 52 founding members to start Women’s Gift Alliance," she said. "Yearly I have the honor of finding our annual guest speaker to motivate our members to keep growing and improving our community."
On Sept. 20, the Women's Gift alliance will host its annual speaker and dinner event at Settlers Creek from 5-8 p.m. The honored guest will be Aaron McMurray, chief strategy officer of the Innovia Foundation, which partners with nonprofits to identify and respond to the Inland Northwest's opportunities, help those in need and leave a lasting impact.
"(McMurray) has a unique way of sharing stories of generosity to inspire others to consider leaving a legacy to the community they love," Baldwin said. "This would help increase the financial resiliency of our local community for the future. This is a message we want everyone to hear."
Registration for the event is open through Wednesday. Tickets are $90 per person or $700 for a table of eight. Visit womensgiftalliance.org/event to register.
"Every year, I am amazed about nonprofit organizations that I was not aware of in the county that are making a huge difference in the lives of others," Baldwin said. "What a joy to be part of a group of women who give their time to be educated on our community’s needs and how to support them."