Idaho giving charity

INL giving charityIt’s the season of giving, and companies all across Idaho are going out of their way to make sure this time of year is extra special for those in need. However, many Idaho-based organizations don’t limit their humanitarian efforts to just the holiday season.

For example, IDACORP annually sponsors the popular Paint The Town program, a community event in which Idaho Power employees, family members, and retirees join other volunteers to paint the homes of senior and disabled citizens. But they’re not the only ones getting who get caught up in the spirit of service. Here’s a look at five more Idaho businesses involved in philanthropy the whole year round.


Right now Boise-based grocer is continuing its holiday giving program called Santa Bucks. Last year, thanks in part to shoppers’ donations, Albertsons made sure more than 3,000 local families had holiday meals on the dinner table. Altogether in 2016, the company contributed more than $270 million in food and financial support to communities across the U.S.

Realizing the importance of education, Albertsons recently teamed up with the Arizona Cardinals to donate thousands of dollars, 650 backpacks, and $10,000 worth of school supplies to needy schools. Albertsons has partnered with other businesses for a wide variety of charitable programs including Toys for Tots, Race for the Cure, Community Baby Shower, and more.

Idaho National Laboratory

The INL and its main contractor, Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA), support Idaho Falls and surrounding communities through employee volunteer service, employee charitable contributions, grants, and corporate donations.

The INL has a tradition of funding K-12 classrooms to enhance STEM learning. It also teams its scientists and technical experts up with local educators during the summer to come up with research projects relevant to the classes they teach.

Together, the INL and BEA fund philanthropic efforts that focus on environmental projects, health and human services, civic affairs, disadvantaged youth, culture and the arts. When giving to nonprofit organizations, the INL focuses on those that provide basic needs for youth and the underprivileged.

J.R. Simplot Company

Part of this Boise-based company’s mission is “supporting organizations and programs that benefit both the communities in which we operate and society as a whole.” To that end, J.R. Simplot supports many nonprofit organizations whose efforts focus on supporting arts, education, youth, community, and industry.

Earlier this year Esther Simplot and the J.R. Simplot Foundation announced a grant of $90,000 to the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. That followed a $3 million endowment to support Ballet Idaho, Opera Idaho, and the Boise Philharmonic. And just last month, thanks to donations from the foundation, Esther Simplot Park opened in Boise and now offers 55 pond-filled acres where people can swim, fish, relax, and play.


Since Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot founded The Wellness Company over 30 years, he has made philanthropy a central part of the company. In the last few years alone, both Melaleuca and VanderSloot individually have donated millions of dollars to more than 3,000 nonprofit, humanitarian, and other charitable organizations around the world.

In the past, Melaleuca has raised money for the families of 9/11 victims and has provided disaster relief in the form of cleaning supplies and financial donations following floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, wildfires, and earthquakes. Melaleuca’s charitable arm, The Melaleuca Foundation, is also the sole supporter of Santa Lucia Children’s Orphanage, a progressive orphanage in Quito, Ecuador.

Currently, the Idaho Falls company is participating in one of its most popular charitable programs, the annual Giving Tree, in which hundreds of its employees donate toys to boys and girls in need. And each year Melaleuca puts on the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration—a free event for the community that happens to be the largest Fourth of July fireworks show west of the Mississippi River.

Proof Eyewear

Proof Eyewear is a relatively young business (founded in 2010) that creates eco-friendly products—in this case, wooden sunglasses. But the Boise-based company goes a step beyond sustainability. For every pair of shades they sell, money goes to help causes such as tsunami relief in Japan, child soldier rehabilitation in Africa, restoration in Haiti, and building eye clinics in India.

Last year, volunteers from Proof Eyewear donated their money and manpower to underserved communities and El Salvador and Guatemala. They hosted a school education camp, helped reconstruct a home, built a community center, funded a girl’s orphanage and safe house, paid for microfinance loans,

As they traveled to project to project, across two countries and six towns, the Proof Eyewear crew also gave service where they could along the way. They participated in roofing projects, improved a library, and bought gear for kids’ soccer teams.

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