LINCOLN COUNTY — The Lincoln County Youth Center received a $50,000 grant from Chobani late last month to help start a business incubator program. The purpose of the program is to help kids learn how to launch their own businesses.
Late last week, the youth center received additional funding by means of another grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation worth $40,000. This grant will go towards improvements for the youth center's building.
“What a great honor," said Karma Fitzgerald, a board member of the Lincoln County Youth Commission. "We’re really proud to work with Blue Cross and appreciate their commitment to community programs like ours.”
The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation focuses on expanding educational opportunities and resources for children. After hearing about the youth center's mission and the work they've put in over the last few months, the Blue Cross wanted to help with any needs they may have.
“We want them to be able to use the funds where they feel like they need them right now,” said Jackie Yarbrough, the Senior Program Officer with Blue Cross of Idaho.
The funding will be put towards numerous needs such as some structural renovations, additional room for storage, educational programs the youth center offers, and payroll support.
“We have a great team," said Fitzgerald. "We want to be able to offer them some added benefits, maybe increase their hourly rate. Also, we’ve already put in an in-house child care system so our employees don’t have to look for childcare outside our building.”
The Blue Cross of Idaho hopes that their grant given will inspire other organizations around the state to realize the importance of the youth center to the local community and help them succeed in educating their local youth.
“Recognizing what the youth center brings to the county," said Yarbrough. "And what that means for the children and families who now have an amazing supportive environment where their children can be safe, continue to learn, prosper and grow.”
The recent grants from the Blue Cross of Idaho and Chobani have been a tremendous help to the Lincoln County Youth Center in continuing its mission to provide more educational opportunities.
Officials from the youth center say they now take a breather and not be as concerned about funding for a little bit and truly prioritize their educational programs.
“With the Blue Cross money, we’ll be able to embellish what we’re already offering," said Fitzgerald. "With Chobani, we’re putting economic opportunity in front of our kids before they even graduate high school. Those are things that don’t happen anywhere else in this valley.”