Guest Opinions

Idaho Gives: A chance to see the state’s incredible generosity of spirit

The Idaho Gives website.
The Idaho Gives website.

If you want to understand this state and the goodness of its people, spend a few minutes at www.idahogives.org.

Idaho Gives takes place May 3. This 24-hour, statewide, online giving event has raised nearly $5 million for nonprofits across Idaho since 2013.

Idaho National Laboratory is a supporter of Idaho Gives, and I wondered where donations went. So, I logged on to the website and clicked on the “Participating Organizations” link. What I discovered made me proud to be an Idahoan, and eager to spread the word about this important annual event.

In virtually every Idaho community, big and small, you will find people working without fanfare, and few resources to make their corner of the world a better place for everyone.

I discovered groups who feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, care for abandoned pets, comfort those afflicted with deadly diseases, and assist vulnerable children in crisis.

Close to home for INL, I was pleased nonprofits working to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Idaho are participating in Idaho Gives. That includes the Idaho STEM Action Center Foundation, which is doing a great job helping our children prepare for the jobs of the future.

But the beauty of Idaho Gives is that all of us have the opportunity to support causes closest to our hearts.

At INL, we care about education, and developing the future energy workforce, but through our corporate charitable efforts, we support so many important endeavors in the communities our employees call home: involving children, families, seniors, health, the arts, education and the environment.

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As an institution, INL is proud to support Idaho Gives. INL is Idaho’s national laboratory and we are determined to do all we can to improve the quality of life for all Idahoans.

Personally, I am urging INL’s more than 4,200 employees – and everybody else reading this column – to do what they can on May 3. To follow their hearts and join a movement beneficial to so many of our fellow citizens.

Let’s keep the momentum going. In 2013, 6,192 individuals donated $578,735 on the first Idaho Gives day.

In 2014, more than $780,000 was raised. In 2015 and 2016, Idahoans donated roughly $1.1 million. That jumped to $1,379,406 last year.

This year’s goal is to raise $1.5 million. Let’s make sure we get there. Let’s support an Idaho nonprofit industry that employs more than 55,000 of our friends, neighbors and family members, adds $2.81 billion to the state economy, and shines a little light into some of our darkest places.

It’s so easy to help. Go to www.idahogives.org on May 3, find those causes you want to support, and contribute what you can.

You won’t regret it. In fact, I believe that donating even a small amount of your hard-earned money to any of these great organizations will be the most satisfying and rewarding thing you do that day.

Our donations allow so many good people to do important work, from improving libraries to preventing bullying in our schools, supporting the Special Olympics, hospice care and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, encouraging kids to read, promoting the arts and protecting pristine places … this incredible generosity of spirit is the Idaho I have come to know and love.

This is the Idaho I will be supporting on May 3.

I hope you will join me.

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