University of Idaho Extension Wins Community Engagement Grant

Monday, July 26 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Northwest Area Foundation will continue its support for the Idaho Horizons program with a $200,000 grant to the University of Idaho and its partners to work with communities to build economic prosperity.

Nearly 50 small towns across rural Idaho have participated in Horizons since the program began in 2003. Their successes are impressive. Local residents have created new businesses, food banks, community foundations, youth councils, farmers’ markets, and downtown clean-up projects, to name just a few. They have also secured public and private grants to achieve their community and economic development goals.

“At first I was skeptical about Horizons — I thought it was just another gimmick, another meeting I had to go to,” Cascade Mayor Dick Carter said. “It turned out to be the best thing that’s ever happened in our community.”

In Riggins, the Canyon Area Bus Service grew from a recognized community need to reality through Horizons and now provides a vital transportation option for communities along the Salmon River and for residents seeking medical care in McCall. The bus service fills a public transportation gap along the U.S. Highway 95 corridor from Grangeville to McCall.

"We've been talking about this stuff for years and now it's finally getting done," said Horizons participant Linda Hieter of Riggins. "Horizons did that by handing us the tools and providing support without interference."

The new grant from the Northwest Area Foundation will support a wide variety of asset and wealth building strategies for Horizons communities. Working with partners such as the Idaho Department of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, and Idaho Community Foundation, the university will provide workshops, technical assistance, and opportunities for communities to learn from each other.

One of the first events will be a youth retreat focusing on financial literacy, leadership development, and options for post secondary education. In July 2011, the university will host “Expanding Idaho’s Horizons,” a statewide conference for rural communities in Boise.

“Rural Idaho faces a host of challenges, including a serious lack of educational and job opportunities,” said Priscilla Salant, the university’s coordinator for outreach and engagement and the statewide Horizons lead.

“We are proud to work alongside Horizons community members as they build a prosperous future," Salant said. "Our goal is to engage them wherever possible. We’ll invite them to join us, for example, in the university’s new initiative to strengthen K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and math, thanks to a recent grant from the Micron Foundation.”

The University of Idaho recently won national recognition for its partnership with the Coeur d’Alene Reservation communities, which completed the Horizons program in 2006. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities announced in May that the University won the Outreach Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award for the western U.S. region.

The award, which included a $9,500 prize, honors the partnerships of a single university that has redesigned its teaching, research and outreach functions to become more involved with communities. The university also is one of five finalists for the national C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

The University of Idaho joins six other land grant universities receiving Horizons grants totaling $1.9 million from the Northwest Area Foundation. More information about Idaho Horizons is available online at
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit