In 2007, a group of concerned citizens gathered to discuss the future of Teton Valley’s nonprofits. Teton Valley’s population had grown significantly in the preceding years and the number of nonprofits was rapidly multiplying in order to address the needs of the growing citizenry. This increase in the number of nonprofits operating in Teton Valley began making it more difficult for the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole to continue supporting both sides of the Tetons with their groundbreaking event, Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities. The time had come for Teton Valley’s nonprofits to establish themselves as their own, unique community. The time had come for the birth of the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
With the support of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, of which the Community Foundation of Teton Valley remains an affiliate, this group of engaged local citizens began the work to effectively adopt the model provided by their counterpart to benefit the residents of Teton Valley. From these humble beginnings was born the annual Tin Cup Challenge fundraiser, which has successfully raised over $8 million in the last 8 years for Teton Valley nonprofits, far surpassing anyone’s expectations of what a community of only 10,000 could accomplish.
“The Community Foundation offers many of the services of a traditional community foundation, but we are not your father’s foundation. The programs we offer to support our local nonprofits are important to who we are and what we value as an organization,” said Carrie Mowrey, Community Foundation of Teton Valley Executive Director. In addition to providing traditional philanthropic services to empower donors and leverage their gifts in the community, the Foundation serves local nonprofits by supporting their work through the annual Tin Cup Challenge. This cutting-edge fundraising event assists participating nonprofits in raising a significant portion of their annual operating budgets, allowing them to better focus their resources on fulfilling their missions. Without this financial support, many local nonprofits would be forced to spend much more of their time on the task of fundraising to support basic operations, leaving less time for their community-enriching programmatic work.
Since the beginning, the Foundation has sought to improve lives through the power of generosity. In addition to hosting the annual Tin Cup Challenge, the Community Foundation offers a competitive grants program, awarding over $250,000 in the past eight years to support important projects, programs and services provided by local nonprofits. The Foundation has also worked in partnership with Teton High School for the last five years to educate the next generation of local philanthropists through a Youth Philanthropy program. This program provides students in the Dual Enrollment Government class with a hands-on learning opportunity to explore the concept of philanthropy, as well as to learn more about the important role played by nonprofits in Teton Valley.
The Community Foundation also supports local nonprofits by offering workshops designed to educate them on important skills, such as marketing, grant writing and donor relations. According to Mowrey, “These workshops are designed to assist local nonprofits in operating more effectively and efficiently in our community. We believe that our local nonprofits are vital to the strength and health of our community as a whole and feel it is important for us to do all we can to support their work.”
Besides serving local donors and nonprofits, the Community Foundation also seeks to act as a catalyst in addressing critical community needs, most recently by working with other community stakeholders in the field of health and human services to identify the need for and help establish a local Community Resource Center. This new nonprofit, opening its doors to the community this month, will work to help residents identify and coordinate critical services that can often be difficult to navigate when a person is facing a significant crisis. “The Community Resource Center is an important step in improving the quality of life for all residents of Teton Valley, especially those most vulnerable amongst us. This is the type of supportive community that we can all be proud to be a part of and we are grateful to Teton Valley Health Care, Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition, Subs for Santa, Family Safety Network and the LDS Church for their partnership on this critical project,” said Mowrey.
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley’s board of directors and staff believe deeply in the power of generosity to improve lives. They believe Teton Valley would be a far different place without the nonprofits serving the community, and seek to provide the funding and support necessary to fulfill their missions. They believe donors want to know that their gifts are having the largest possible impact on their community. They believe their work matters because the community is a stronger, healthier and more generous place when donors, nonprofits and the community have the tools they need to better work together.
That’s why the Community Foundation of Teton Valley matters, but it’s only part of the local nonprofit community’s story. Help us tell the whole story. If you are affiliated with a Teton Valley nonprofit, we want to hear from you to help share why it matters. Each week, the Community Foundation will highlight a local nonprofit in the pages of the Teton Valley News. Email Dawn Banks, Marketing and Programs Director, at [email protected] or call 208.354.0230. We look forward to helping share your story! You can continue the conversation on social media using #WhyItMatters.