Valley Of Generosity

The nonprofit horsemanship organization known as the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club hosts one of the most high-profile events in the Valley (Days of the Old West Rodeo) while capturing little of the limelight themselves.Photo credit: Sawtooth Rangers

By Eric Valentine

Editor’s Note: Even the most pessimistic, Valley-life skeptic among us would have to admit: Valley folks are one generous bunch. Cases in point:

When the Limelight condominium complex fire burned to a total loss last month, it took only a few days for Valley residents to pull together well over $300 million in aid.

When the City of Ketchum wanted to purchase and preserve 65 currently pristine acres off Warm Springs, some clean and consistent messaging to the locals pulled off a capital campaign that raised roughly $9 million.

Several years ago, when the Valley’s animal shelter needs outgrew its animal shelter facilities, Mountain Humane raised enough funds to build a no-kill mega-shelter facility unmatched across the state and more.

The number of donations that come in to fundraising efforts anonymously or as matching donations or as both seem almost routine.

The skeptic would say these cases in point are just anecdotal evidence. To that, Wood River Weekly would say anecdotes are stories and stories are about actions—what Plato said was the true test of character. So, as the winter season of giving fast approaches, consider using this short list to vet your tax deductible donations and/or priorities of time. These Valley organizations are just some of the quality nonprofits here that could use whatever help you can give: financial, volunteering, or perhaps gifts in-kind. In some cases they haven’t been the main character in many stories, but their actions have spoken louder than words.


Academe Grove

Founded by Morgan and Desiree Ballis, Academe Grove is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit dedicated to supporting K-12 schools in achieving their goals for campus safety reform. Often, funding is unfortunately the number one barrier school districts encounter when looking to implement safety measures.

Academe Grove is currently raising funds for Blaine County School District’s Threat Assessment & Planning (T.A.P.) Program. This program will help educators to identify at-risk students, gather critical information, collaborate on intervention strategies and deliver necessary support. The T.A.P. Program will be provided to Wood River High School, Wood River Middle School, Carey School, and Ernest Hemingway STEAM School for the next three years.

“We’re rather new to the community so a lot of people don’t know about us yet,” said Morgan Ballis, a Hailey Police school resource officer. Familiarity breeds trust, he noted.


Men’s Second Chance Living

Under the leadership of executive director Sonya Wilander, Men’s Second Chance Living—affectionately termed “Muscle House” by some—provides an all-male, intensely supportive, sober living environment for individuals who want to maintain a clean and sober lifestyle and advance on their path to a new and better life. MSCL House provides men in recovery with safe, affordable sober housing and support services. Just last week, the organization that gives men a second chance at life opened its doors to their second house in Hailey.

If a donation is not likely at this particular time, consider following MSCL House on social media. Their Facebook page got hacked this summer and the group is trying to use the platform to spread the word about its residents’ successes. To find the official, non-hacked page, visit:


Sawtooth Rangers

The purpose of the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club’s mission is to operate without profit in the promotion of horsemanship in the community by helping 4-H clubs, rodeo-oriented groups, riding clinicians and other activities related to horsemanship. Sawtooth Rangers has been producing the Hailey Days of the Old West Rodeo for more than 70 years. With seating for 3,500 each night at Hailey’s Rodeo Park, the rodeo is the highlight of the region’s Fourth of July celebration. The Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization. Proceeds from the rodeo are allocated to several nonprofit organizations and youth scholarships throughout our community.

In some cases, the largest fundraiser for south Valley organizations like the Lions Club and Kiwanis Club is the rodeo, where such clubs often host the concessions. The pandemic stalled rodeo plans over recent years and fundraising goals, too. So the Sawtooth Rangers board of directors donated to the organizations anyway, even without its rodeo proceeds.


Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Idaho)

The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families by being the leading source of free education and support for blood cancer patients and families. Their efforts are personalized, one-on-one support, and include things like identifying and enrolling in a clinical trial.

This year LLS is making its annual fundraiser give back to the people raising the funds. Termed the ‘Visionary of the Year’ award, people in Idaho who have visionary ideas for business, education, life in general, etc., are nominated for the distinction. Nominees get a chance to promote their vision while raising funds for the nonprofit. Think about the people you know who are doing or could be doing amazing things, and all they need for their project are a few more eyes. Nominate them. You can start here:

Learn More Before Giving More

  • Academe Grove –
  • Men’s Second Chance Living –
  • Sawtooth Rangers –
  • Visionary of the Year (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) –

Please note: There are dozens of reputable organizations in the Valley doing great work. For more information on many of them, visit the chamber of commerce website:


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