Idaho Gives is a big deal. Last year, the annual online day of giving raised $1.1 million for more than 660 different charitable causes, including arts and culture, children and youth, humanitarian aid, education, animals, religious organizations and more.
Besides that, it’s just a lot of fun and a chance for nonprofits to get creative. Most participating organizations host special happenings on the day. Last year, I tagged along after Boise Bicycle Project as they biked through Boise neighborhoods. They gave away a bike at an elementary school and peddled for 24 straight hours, spreading the cycling gospel. I ducked into a Downtown Boise storefront where local literary luminaries from The Cabin offered free readings and on-the-spot poetry. I stopped by a cafe where musicians were playing in support of the Boise Hive. The Idaho Botanical Garden chose that day for the ribbon cutting of its new entryway. I met up with the ACLU whose staffers were camped out at a downtown cupcake shop. The shop owners were offering a special cupcake that day — chocolate with blueberry icing (black and blue) to protest police beatings.
Who knows what our local organizations will come up with this year?
The fourth annual Idaho Gives takes place on May 5. Now is the time for Idaho nonprofits to register and to start planning how they’ll get the word out about their cause.
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Idaho Gives takes place online through the idahogives.org website. Donors can support their favorite nonprofits through online donations, learn about new nonprofits and chart the fundraising progress over the course of the day.
The deadline to register is April 1. Organizations should visit idahononprofits.org to start the process.
Any nonprofit with an IRS-certified 501(c)(3) designation is eligible to participate.
Returning nonprofits (who participated in 2015), need to accept the pre-registration emailed to their organization by March 18. If organizations miss this deadline, they must re-register.
Idaho Gives is a program through the Idaho Nonprofit Center. Idaho Central Credit Union, PacificSource Health Plans and the Idaho National Laboratory are the sponsors of this year’s event.
Last chance to see ‘Al-Mutanabbi’ exhibition
On March 5, 2007, a car bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq. The street was famous for its bookshops, publishers and literary cafes. The bomb killed 26 people and left the beloved street in shambles. A special exhibition of poetry, artists’ books, broadsides and prints opened in Boise in October. It will close with a free public event on March 5, the anniversary of the bombing. The event, which will include live readings, music, dance and art, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Arts and Humanities Institute Gallery in the Ron and Linda Yanke Family Research Park, Boise State University, 220 East ParkCenter Blvd. in Boise. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Note: normal gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through March 4.
Organizers say the Boise event will take place at the same time as at least 20 other readings around the world. Parking is free and light refreshments will be served. The Idaho Book Arts Guild and Idaho Center for the Book host.
More about Al-Mutanabbi Street: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reopened the street after a period of clean-up and repair in 2008. A 2012 collection of essays, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” includes 100 writers’ responses to the bombing.
On a related literary note: Boise Public Library hosts Rumi Night, a celebration of Sufi mystic poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, at the Main Library on Thursday, March 10. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Hayes Auditorium. The evening will include poetry, conversation and Persian desserts and tea. Attendees are welcome to bring a poem to share. For more information, call 208-972-8255. The Main Library is at 715 South Capitol Blvd. in Boise.
Rose Garden volunteers needed
The Boise City Department of Parks and Rec invites plant lovers to join the Julia Davis Rose Garden volunteer group to help keep the city’s roses thriving through the 2016 season. Volunteers do not need to be garden experts. All volunteers will receive training from experts and all skill levels are welcome.
Starting March 16, Parks and Rec will hold weekly work sessions from 8 to 11 a.m. each Wednesday through the growing season. The sessions take place at the rose garden located just east of the Boise Art Museum in Julia Davis Park. Register as a volunteer online or call 208-608-7617.
The historic garden has been attracting visitors since it opened in 1935.
Special needs climbing event for kids taking reservations
Organizers of Courageous Kids Climbing say spots are still available for children with special needs, whether physical or developmental, who would like to participate in the March 13 climbing event at Wings Center, 1875 Century Way in Boise. The event runs from 10 a.m. until noon and there is no charge. Kids will get to experience a climbing wall, climbing on a wall made of tires as well as climbing on a cargo net.
Event organizers have accommodated children who are visually, hearing and physically challenged as well as those children with developmental challenges. RIT Safety Solutions of Twinsburg, Ohio has donated a special harness to be used with those children who suffer from physical challenges. Doty Belt of Sacramento, California has also donated special straps to assist in lifting children with physical challenges.
Courageous Kids Climbing is based in McCall and coordinates free rock wall climbing and bouldering opportunities for children with special needs as well as supports the Courageous Kids Scholarship Fund at the University of Idaho.
Upgrades at Boise’s Good Samaritan Home
The Good Samaritan Home on State Street in Boise provides safe and comfortable housing for low income adults of all ages, veterans and people with disabilities. The home has operated for 73 years, and recently got some upgrades. Grants from the Nagel Foundation and the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation have paid for several repairs and renovations, including new flooring and paint. Improvements to the kitchen and dining room are scheduled for the coming months.
The home is hosting a Home Tour, 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3 at 3501 W. State St.
Volunteer opportunities, including internships, helping out with special events and activities, and doing repair and maintenance projects are also available. Call 208-343-6051 for more details.
▪ Tax Preparation with AARP: Tax aides will help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of personal taxes, Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Garden City Library, 6015 N. Glenwood St., Boise. 208-472-2940.
▪ Spring Easy Star Gazing: Learn how to find star clusters, satellites, meteors, lunar features, and planets. The Library! at Hillcrest presents an evening of stargazing on Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. in the Lemhi Room. 5246 W. Overland Road, Boise. 208-972-8340.
▪ Prison knitters thank the community: Once again, generous folks in the Treasure Valley stepped up to help those in need. This time it was the inmates at the Idaho Department of Correction who have been helping out the shelter dogs in the Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho by knitting them sweaters to wear when they leave the prison training program for new homes.
IDOC spokesman Jeff Ray said that since the story ran in the Idaho Statesman, a steady stream of donated yarn has come in, enough at this point, to fill 10 big garbage bags. Ray said the program is still accepting yarn donations: drop them at the Idaho Department of Correction central office, 1299 N. Orchard in Boise, attention William Carroll, chaplain, volunteer religious coordinator.