A Helpful Guide For Helping Others

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‘Giving Guide’ available soon Valley-wide

By Hayden Seder

The Giving Guide. Photo credit: Suzanne Hazlett

With so many nonprofits positively impacting the Wood River Valley, it may come as a surprise to find out there does not exist a guide to learning about those organizations and how residents can help them. That’s why Suzanne Hazlett, a financial advisor and founder of the Wood River Valley Studio Tour, started a nonprofit to produce such a guide.

The “Giving Guide of the Wood River Valley” is a newly-issued publication featuring 67 organizations in the Valley as well as some statistics on nonprofits in the area. It’s all wrapped up in a visually-curated, stand-alone guide that will soon be available on top-tier racks for Sun Valley Source magazine and key locations, including nonprofits with public facilities, The Chamber of Hailey and The Wood River Valley and the Visitors Center in Ketchum.

Part of the motivation for starting the guide came through Hazlett’s financial work, which includes involvement with several nonprofit institutions in town. Specifically, a tax-law change that made it so some small donors are no longer able to take tax deductions for charitable contributions drew Hazlett’s attention.

“It’s imperative that nonprofits be mindful of that and how giving may change over the next few years,” Hazlett said. “A lot of individual clients haven’t necessarily been aware of different opportunities to give but it was really coming from private clients and institutional clients as to how to communicate with prospective donors.”

As a nonprofit founder with a small budget herself, Hazlett knows the difficulty of letting the community know that an organization is, in fact, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. Hazlett wanted to create a non-commercial guide, asking only that nonprofits indicate if they were interested in participating but were not asked to buy ads or contribute monetarily.

There are roughly 400 nonprofits in the Valley, which Hazlett and her Giving Guide founding board member and business development director at Hazlett’s financial advising firm, Jenni Riley, began vetting through a select set of criteria. Government entities, private foundations and religious organizations were excluded, as were any organization that did not incorporate in Blaine County borders, even though they may have an active presence in the county. Any nonprofits in the Valley whose mission focuses outside of the area were also excluded; only those true Valley nonprofits making a positive impact locally were considered. Of those, 67 ended up represented in the pages of the guide.

Not just for donors, but volunteers, too, each of the organizations that accept volunteers has been marked in the guide with a symbol. Idaho ranks fifth in the nation for volunteer contributions per capita and 34 percent of Idaho residents volunteer their time for a cause, part of the impetus behind creating this guide.

“With the changing landscape of charitable giving, sustaining our nonprofit organizations has become more critical,” Hazlett said. “Whether financially through outright or legacy gifts, or with the investment of volunteer time, everyone can play a meaningful role in contributing to the success of charitable missions.”

The new guide was introduced to the community August 21 at a charitable-giving education event hosted by the Wood River Women’s Foundation at The Community Library in Ketchum. Roughly 200 copies of the 154-page guide were ordered for the event, and 5,000 copies of the first issue will be available this week in hard copy, while a digital copy is currently available on the organization’s website.

“The Ketchum Innovation Center is thrilled to have the Giving Guide of the Wood River Valley as a valuable new resource for our community,” said Christy Anna Gerber, executive director of the Ketchum Innovation Center. “It benefits nonprofits and charitable individuals alike as an informative, one-of-a-kind publication that highlights wonderful organizations in our Valley and elevates their missions. Many local nonprofits operate similar to startups, and the Giving Guide provides the opportunity to raise awareness for the wide variety of opportunities to support our community—big or small.” 

Visit givingguidewrv.org to learn more about Giving Guide of the Wood River Valley, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

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