Whittenberger Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports Southwest Idaho nonprofits that serve children and youth. Grant applications are accepted once per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Children and youth

IP TAKE:  Caldwell and Boise groups fare very well with this locally focused Idaho funder. Pitch an idea that gets youth involved in their communities outside of school.

PROFILE: The Whittenberger Foundation is based in Caldwell, Idaho, and began giving grants in 1973. This private, independent, grantmaking foundation was established by the will of Ethel Bales Whittenberger, who passed away in 1970. Her husband, Claude R. Whittenberger, was an osteopathic physician, and the couple was active in civic, educational, religious, and cultural affairs.

Ethel was an elementary school teacher, and the bulk of Whittenberger Foundation grantmaking is focused on children and youth. Specific interests that relate to children and youth include education, arts and culture, health, social welfare, recreation and the environment.

All funds support activities within Idaho. More specifically, Whittenberger sticks to causes in Southwest Idaho. A majority of grants are between $5,000 and $10,000; anything over $20,000 is rare.

Whittenberger prefers to fund short-term projects, however, it is not opposed to long-term funding if there is a potential for matching funds or concurrent avenues of support. Over $8 million has been awarded since the first distribution in 1973. The foundation’s assets are around $5 million.

Typically, grant applications are due in mid-August and are reviewed in the fall. You must provide eight copies of your application, which can be found on the funder's website.  Applicants will be notified of the board’s decision in late November, and public announcements are made in December.

In a recent year, the foundation awarded $260,350. Grantees include the Patricia Romanko Public Library, the Boise Community Radio Project, Boise Urban Garden School, and the Discovery Center of Idaho. Many Whittenberger grants go to equipment and material purchases. Others support specific programs for children and youth. General operating support is rare. 

One major foundation project, the P-16 Program, prepares Caldwell School District students for post-secondary success. It involves preschool activities, out-of-school learning, and career planning events. Whittenberger has also given significantly to the Caldwell Public Library and the Caldwell Family YMCA. A list of prior grants is here.

The foundation is run by a seven-member board of managers who serve on a volunteer-basis. Scott Gipson is the board chair and has served on the board since 2004. There is no full-time staff, and applications are not pre-screened before the board’s review, so clarity and brevity are appreciated. Applications should be sent to the attention of board secretary Mike Groff. 

General questions can be directed to the Whittenberger Foundation at whittfnd@cableone.net. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1073, Caldwell, Idaho 83606-1073. Phone calls are discouraged.

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