In 2017, Idahoans came together to raise over $1.3 million for nonprofit organizations in the Gem State.  This year, the 24-hour giving day hopes to top that number and raise even more for these incredible organizations in our community!

Organized by the Idaho Nonprofit Center, this year's Idaho Gives Day is Thursday, May 3.  For 24 hours, Idahoans are encouraged to "give where they live" and make an online donation to their favorite cause. Prior to April 15, any organization who's registered as a 501(c)(3) headquartered in or serving Idaho had an open invitation to register themselves to be part of the listings on the giving website.

I always make a donation to Idaho Gives Day and can't wait to give back to some incredible organizations again this year.  If you're undecided on where to put your dollars to work, check out these three fundraisers that I'm passionate about!

  • Friends of Zoo Boise

    The Friends of Zoo Boise knew how to suck me in last year.  After their 11-year-old giraffe, Julius Longfellow was put down they asked Idaho Gives Day donors to help them bring a 1-year-old giraffe to the Treasure Valley to be friends with the remaining giraffe.  Anyone who donated $50 or more to the campaign got to meet the new giraffe during a special after-hours donor party. Giraffe party? Take all my money!

    This year, they're hoping to use Idaho Gives Day as an opportunity to help bring some Nile crocodiles to Zoo Boise to be part of their new Gorongosa National Park exhibit.  They've got their eye on two female crocs currently living in South Dakota.  Your donations would help cover the costs of bringing the two five foot long, 250 reptiles to the new exhibit.   Those donating at least a $100 will receive two passes to the opening of the exhibit in 2019.  A $1,000 donation will get you a crocodile footprint painting once they arrive as a thank you from the crocs themselves.  If you've got deep pockets and donate $10,000 (the ultimate goal of the campaign) you'll be the first person to do a behind the scenes crocodile encounter!

  • Girls on the Run Treasure Valley

    I'm so thankful that one of our amazing sales directors, Holly Johnson, introduced me to Girls on the Run a few years ago! They're a group who empowers young girls in the Treasure Valley through my favorite sport in the entire world...running. The after-school program is offered twice a year to girls in grades 3-5 and does a whole lot more than teaching these ladies to run their first 5K.  It teaches them how to develop healthy relationships,  the importance of community and how to feel good about themselves, inside and out. It's a big deal because studies show that girls' self-confidence begins to drop around the age of 9. That's the age where they start experiencing bullying and name-calling and may start to shy away from physical activity because of those experiences.

    I'm a firm believer that running can turn around a girl's self-esteem.  In junior high, I was bullied to the point where I woke up every morning wishing that I could vanish or that my family would move to another town.  As the years went on, I developed an eating disorder as a result of my low self-esteem.  When I joined the high school cross country and track teams, everything changed.  I finally felt like I had real friends with my teammates.  Seeing what my body could handle with proper nutrition and training, was exciting.  Progressing in my events and earning new Personal Records made me feel confident in my skin. I truly believe that running saved my life.  I want that opportunity to be there for these young ladies, many years before it was there for me and Girls on the Run offers that.

    A $25 donation is enough to provide a scholarship for one girl to enter her end of season 5K.  A $50 donation provides the training for one volunteer coach. A $130 donation is enough to cover for the entire program for one GOTR girl.

  • Camp Rainbow Gold

    Having the opportunity to be a bus monitor for Camp Rainbow Gold a few years ago was a truly life-changing experience. If you're unfamiliar with Camp Rainbow Gold, they provide kids fighting cancer with the opportunity to feel like a normal child through summer camp experiences, free of charge.  They also provide camps for siblings who may be feeling a little less important as their parents take care of their brother or sister going through cancer treatment and family camps for the entire family. The bond these kids develop through some of the most trying times in their lives is incredibly moving and inspirational.

    Seeing first hand how Camp Rainbow Gold helps build these kids' confidence and help them heal has made me admire the organization even more.  We're planning some big things along with them this fall, so if you can show them support on Idaho Gives Day, that'd be incredible!

    A $25 donation supports the Art Shack.  A $50 can support their costume collection that kids get to play with at camp.  A $100 donation helps stock the Med Shack with medical supplies so kids can continue to recieve treatment during their camp experience. If your pockets are deep enough, you can provide the ultimate gift for $2,000.  That will send one child battling cancer to camp for one whole week!