Helping Works

Anna Webb: It’s year 23 for Valentines for AIDS, a favorite Boise fundraiser

Flying M's annual Valentine for AIDS fundraiser in Downtown Boise has become a February tradition in the City of Trees. The event is marking its 23rd year raising money for men and women living with HIV/AIDS.
Flying M's annual Valentine for AIDS fundraiser in Downtown Boise has become a February tradition in the City of Trees. The event is marking its 23rd year raising money for men and women living with HIV/AIDS. Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The annual silent art auction has been packing in lovers of art, of community, of good deeds and of Flying M, the downtown purveyor of coffee, tea and sweets for more than two decades.

Valentine for AIDS raises money for SNAP, the Safety Net for AIDS Program that provides assistance for housing, utility bills, groceries and medical insurance payments for people living with HIV/AIDS.

This year, about 260 artists are expected to create and donate art for the auction. Flying M owner Kent Collins said that close to 20 of the artists are first-time participants.

Art will be on display and up for bids from Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 14, at Flying M Coffeehouse in Downtown Boise, 500 W. Idaho St.

Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7. Bidding closes at 4 p.m. on Feb. 14.

In 2015, the event raised over $27,000 for the cause. Over the past 22 years, it’s raised more than $426,000.

Annual Conference on Refugees

This year’s theme is Neighbors United. The conference takes place Feb. 8-9 at Boise State University. Its focus will be how the community can come together after a controversial year in refugee resettlement, both on the national scale and in the Treasure Valley.

The conference will feature workshops, speakers and panels in the fields of health, education, cross-cultural communication, self-sufficiency and more. There will also be a special evening reception on Monday, Feb. 8 with appetizers and opportunities for networking.

Conference organizers encourage refugees to attend. Full scholarships covering fees are available. For more details and registration, visit

Boost that Borah Band and help get them to Seattle in April

Talented kids over at Borah.

So talented that The Borah Band Boosters have launched a GoFundMe account to raise money for the band’s upcoming trip to Seattle in April. If they make it to the Emerald City, they will be able to participate in clinics taught by the top music educators in the region as well as visit college campuses in the area and get some key exposure to Seattle’s culture. If you’d like to help, donate online at As of the writing of this column, the band had raised $65 of the $5,000 it needs. The band, the music need you.

Start training, and get ready to strip down — Cupid’s Undie Run is upon us

The run may be humorous and lighthearted, but the cause is not.

The annual Cupid’s Undie Run raises awareness and money for the research of neurofibromatosis through the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout a person’s body. The condition, for which there isn’t yet a cure, causes a number of disabilities and chronic pain.

Cupid’s Undie Run, a one mile-ish run in the cold, takes place on Feb. 13 in 36 U.S. cities, including Boise. Most runners run in their undies, or other seasonably inappropriate garb, though that’s not required.

Boise’s event begins at noon at Tom Grainey’s 109 S. 6th St.

To date, this Valentine’s season event has raised nearly $8 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Register online to run (or volunteer!) at

Idaho Humanities Council offers oral history workshops in Nampa, Burley and Ketchum

The Idaho Humanities Council will offer three two-hour workshops exploring the best practices for the collection of oral histories. Troy Reeves, the program director of the University of Wisconsin Oral History Program, will share his expertise to help you gather useful information for historical research, library archives, and family records. Reeves will also talk about project planning, technology, good questions, as well as follow-up questions. The workshops, which will include at least one interactive exercise, are free and open to the public.

Register now for the following sessions:

Thursday, Feb. 25, 4-6 p.m. at the Nampa Public Library, 215 12th Ave. South, Nampa. Contact Beth Neunaber, 208-468-5807 or

Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.-noon at the Burley Public Library, 1300 Miller Ave., Burley. Contact Linda Barney, 208-878-7708 or

Monday, Feb. 29, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at The Community Library, 415 Spruce Ave. North, Ketchum. Contact Mary Tyson, 208-726-7355, ext. 112, or

Idaho women receive ‘Smart Women’ grants from Zions Bank

The recipients of this year’s $3,000 microgrants were Kathy Malm of Fort Hall Elementary School, Tracy Crites of Outdoor Exchange and Michelle Griffith of ARCH Community Housing Trust.

Malm, school principal, will use her grant to bring the art of storytelling to the Shoshoni and Bannock Native American students at Fort Hall Elementary School. The money will pay to bring Layne Gneiting, a professional storyteller from Arizona to work with Idaho students and faculty.

Crites founded the Outdoor Exchange consignment store in Boise to provide affordable items for active lifestyles for children and adults. She’ll use the grant to buy snowshoe quipment that customers can use for free or for a small fee and to pay for in-store educational events.

Griffith is the executive director of ARCH Community Housing Trust, a Blaine County nonprofit developer focused on providing housing for households earning 80 percent or less of area median income. Griffith will use her grant to help defray permit fees for a project to develop two townhomes.

Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group awards the microgrants each year to people whose projects promote the empowerment of women or directly benefit women or low-income or underserved populations in Idaho and Utah. Since 2004, Zion’s has awarded 76 microgrants totaling more than $217,000. Learn more about the grants at