Scott Curtis, CEO, Messages to Idaho Youth Ranch Team Members

May 29, 2020

According to the Governor’s recent press conference, the state of Idaho is ready to enter “Stage 3” of his reopening plan on Saturday, May 30th

We have, in combination with the Governor’s plan, reviewed the most recent CDC guidelines.  With that knowledge, it’s a great time to review some of our practices and make a couple of adaptations.  Please read the attachment (click here) for details.  Here are the high points:

  1.  Our prior protocols for sick leave and for handwashing (before/after every shift, every break, and every time gloves are removed) combined with wearing masks and maintaining social distance are the best way to protect our employees and the public.  We have done this very well thus far.  It is not time to let down our practices.  Rather, we are even more committed to them. 
  2. We will begin some travel for work that is considered mission-critical.
  3. Staff will continue to work remotely where possible. 
  4. The CDC guidelines indicate that our practice of quarantining donated items in Social Enterprise is more aggressive than the recommendations and may be counterproductive for the public’s understanding of how to stay healthy.  The Social Enterprise team will be adapting those guidelines. 

GREAT WORK, EVERYONE.  As this document (click here) explains, it is the day-to-day discipline and consistency that is allowing us to get through this together and serve our mission.

Scott Curtis, 


Download the Document Here

May 27, 2020

Tuesday Touch #4.  We’ve covered programs, thrift, and our financial situation.  It’s time for DEVELOPMENT to let us know about their response to Covid-19.  I asked James Buckles, our Chief Development Officer, to let us know what our IYR team has been up to. These folks are the ones who tell our story and work to get so many supporters around our table. 


Message from James Buckles:  

While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken everyone by surprise, the Development team has been delightfully surprised by how much our donors have stepped up during this unprecedented time.

Fundraising is rooted in one of our values – RELATIONSHIPS.  Our donors feel connected to our mission and the deeper their connection, the more they feel inspired to support our programs and services.  Fundraising is also a team sport and requires COMMITMENT across all levels of our team, from administration to marketing and communications to grant-writing and donor relations.  Below are some team “wins” we’ve experienced since COVID-19 became a reality:

Wine, Women & Shoes:

Wine, Women & Shoes is one of the best attended events, but given the limited capacity to gather in larger numbers, the Boise and CDA events have had to be completely reimagined and relaunched, including:

  • Wine Women and Shoes has now become a weeklong virtual event in Boise and CDA. We have been able to retain all but one sponsor and have gained 2 new sponsors in Coeur d’Alene.
  • AND two members of the IYR Board of Directors offered up $75,000 in matching gifts as an incentive for WWS BOI attendees to increase their giving.  To date, we’ve raised almost over 50% of our goal!  WWS BOI is tentatively planning to hold their in-person event in August, if large-scale gatherings can take place later in 2020. 


COVID-19 reactions varied greatly with, in some cases, more emergency COVID-19 related funds becoming available, with strings attached. In other cases, grant funders froze as they tried to figure out how to respond to the pandemic. Here’s the long and short of it for IYR since March 2020.

  • Five COVID-19 grants submitted and or received
    • $42,600 received
    • $37,080 pending
  • Additional opportunity grant: $54,825 for use this fiscal year

Marketing & Communications:

Within days of the pandemic hitting Idaho, the Marketing & Communications team has been busy helping to share the ever-changing and important information to IYR employees, donors, clients and their families and the community.

Donor Relations/Major Gifts:

  • Our top 100 donors received a personal phone call within the first week the pandemic started to take hold locally.  In additional, over 500 hand-written notes were sent out and mailed to our closest donors, simply to check in, expressing our care and concern for the health and well-being of our donors and their loved ones. 
  • A local family foundation, who has never given funds to IYR before, pledged a 1-to-3 match, up to $50,000, with the goal of challenging Idahoans to raise $150,000 for an overall goal of $200,000 for IYR
  • Since we can’t get together in-person these days, several team members have made videos to send to their donors as a creative way to provide an update on IYR programs and a way to say hello and keep building on the relationship. 
  • We also found a way to say thank you to some incredible donors in a safe, socially-distant way.

Capital Campaign for Ranch Expansion:

  • Although the pandemic has shifted our timeline slightly, the Development team is still actively working behind the scenes to prepare for the launch of our Capital Campaign on June 25th. 
  • Our Campaign Co-Chairs have been selected – Robert Rebholtz, Jr. (Agri Beef) and Mark Miller – will be leading an esteemed group of Campaign Cabinet members. 
  • Through our relationship with the Idaho Community Foundation, we secured a $125,000 gift to the Campaign from a family who is new to supporting Idaho Youth Ranch


Thanks, James, and thanks to the GROWTH that this group has shown in pivoting so quickly on every level.