Just outside the town of Victor, Idaho and about 20 miles west of Jackson Hole, there’s a 780-acre resort and planned community with single-family homes, open land, and a country club-style vibe. This is an upscale living dream with plenty of golf, spa services, and even heli-skiing to offer the best of the Mountain West on a silver platter. Although there are luxurious second home residential communities like this all over the country, the Teton Springs Resort is a bit unique because it spawned the creation of its very own philanthropic foundation.
The Teton Springs Foundation was established in 2001 by the original owners and developers of the Teton Springs Resort. To stay in line with resort covenants, TSF’s grantmaking fund is built from contributions equal to one percent of the land value on residential real estate sales. This is certainly an interesting philanthropic model, but a welcome one to encounter in a state like Idaho, where grantmakers are relatively few and far between.
For the past couple years, the Teton Springs Foundation has been an entirely separate entity from the company and has invested funds in a Community Foundation of Teton Valley endowment. TSF recently hit a big milestone when it reached the million-dollar grantmaking mark to support local nonprofits in the Teton Valley.
To close out 2017, the funder awarded $37,000 in grants to 13 local groups, which brought the grants made to date up to $1,030,000. This might not sound like a lot compared to the grant commitments from community foundations and private family funders in the region. But it is pretty impressive for a unique funder with resort community roots and a strict local focus.
It should be noted that all TSF grants are made to groups that exclusively serve the Teton Valley, Idaho, but for local groups, there’s an annual grantmaking opportunity here worth paying attention to. Take last year for example, when 72 percent of groups that applied for funding received grants. Past grants have gone to Teton Christian Academy, the Idaho Film and TV Institute, Seniors West of the Tetons, and Valley of the Tetons Library. TSF also supports a lot of the local foundations in the area, such as the Teton Valley Museum Foundation, Teton Valley Hospital Foundation, and Teton Basin Charitable Trust.
Staying true to its real estate roots, TSF is led by President Doug Gemmel, who is a sales associate at Alta Realty. Yet local groups have a bit of time to get to know this foundation and familiarize themselves with the grantmaking process. The next grant application deadline is expected to be the first Friday in November, and there’s just one grant cycle per year. Unsolicited requests are welcome, but just keep those request under $5,000. Learn more about the process or get in touch here.