An anonymous donor has given $7.5 million to the Idaho Youth Ranch. The money will help the organization build its new ranch outside of Middleton, said Whitney Springston, director of marketing.
The new ranch will sit on 258 acres and include a chapel, living facilities for residents and counselors and corrals and riding areas for equine therapy where young people who have experienced trauma can work through their issues through working with horses.
The Idaho Youth Ranch has operated a ranch near Rupert for more than 60 years. The Canyon County ranch will replace the Rupert location, said Springston. The facility will also be open to other organizations with similar missions to help young people, she said.
The anonymous donor has deep roots in Idaho, said Springston. The donor spent summers on an Idaho ranch and believes in the therapeutic benefits for children who get the chance to be around animals.
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“We offered to name the new ranch after her, but she doesn’t want that,” said Springston.
The donor specified that $5 million will go towards construction. The organization hopes to break ground in the spring of 2016. The remaining $2.5 million will cover operations costs for the next five years.
Fundraising continues for the project, said Springston. The goal is to raise a total of $22 million for the new ranch.
The program serves children regardless of their ability to pay. The Idaho Youth Ranch’s thrift shops help support its programs.