Sun Valley Non-Profit Announces Wild Gift Grant Awards



(Sun Valley, Idaho) February 23, 2012 - Wild Gift founder and lifelong Wood River Valley resident, Bob Jonas, announced today the award of $28,000 in grants that support six new projects created by its better world entrepreneurs. 

The mission of the Sun Valley based nonprofit is to support a new generation of leaders committed to creating positive social change that’s in balance with the resources and gifts of the natural world.  

While the projects are as diverse as these young leaders, each contributes to the development of sustainable communities with the potential of replication elsewhere.

Every year Wild Gift recruits outstanding social entrepreneurs, age 21-30, to a growing network of young leaders around the world.

 Recipients are provided financial support for innovative projects that are developed collaboratively with the Leader Network and assistance of professional mentors.

Each new recruit is given the  “Wild Gift” - an immersion experience in Idaho’s wilderness that is life changing.

“On the trek, our leaders develop their personal vision, fine tune their project mission, and connect to the natural world on a very deep level.” Jonas explained.  “Their biggest take-away is their own responsibility as stewards of our life-sustaining Earth as they create new solutions for our global challenges”.

Founded in 2002 in Sun Valley, Wild Gift has funded the projects of 32 young men and women worldwide in the areas of education, agriculture, renewable energy, community development and land protection.  

Wild Gift is currently accepting applications for its 2012 new class of leaders. Social entrepreneurs ages 21- 30 in the Wood River Valley are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications are available at:


This year’s grant recipients include the following:

David Sone: Fawn River Advocacy Expedition - Ontario Canada. In 2011, David worked with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Indigenous Nation to develop a community Water Declaration that places their entire home watershed off-limits to industry.  This Indigenous Law is based on the teachings of KI Elders and seeks to protect 2.6 million acres of wild lakes, rivers, boreal forests, and wetlands sacred to the KI people under their Indigenous care and governance.  This advocacy expedition will assemble a diverse team of individuals with a broad set of skill sets to paddle 265 km the from the KI village to Hudson’s Bay via the free flowing Fawn and Severn Rivers to document the watershed, build support for its protection, and appreciate the teachings of their KI guides about the stewardship of wild nature.

 Amy Freeman: The North American Odyssey - North America.  The North American Odyssey (NAO) is a kayak, canoe and dogsled expedition across North America designed to educate third through eighth grade students about the plants, animals, and people of the wildest remaining places in North America through an online curriculum, thereby empowering them to protect North America’s waterways and wildlands and combat global warming. The Wild Gift grant will enable Amy to further develop online tools and promotional materials while completing the last leg of the 3,300-mile wilderness odyssey.


Josh Arnold: Bridging Sustainability - New Hampshire.  History shows that people thrive most when living in a strong, healthy community. Grange Halls around the country filled this niche in the late 1800’s, specifically for the agricultural population. Josh will revitalize the Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall in rural New Hampshire as a transformative model that demonstrates how rural America can collaborate to meet their social and economic needs, while restoring a strong sense of community and environmental integrity.


Monica Samec: Small World Carbon - Nigeria.  In 2008, Monica launched her Wild Gift Small World Carbon project: the Nigerian Improved Cook Stove Program.   Over 4500 Ekwuk stoves were built that reduced firewood usage and CO2 emissions by over 10,000 tons/year while significantly improving indoor quality and shorten cooking times. This grant will help Monica develop a simple, effective method to facilitate small projects in Africa through income earned from greenhouse emission reductions from these stoves. Her goal is to help finance over $200 million of income for small, community‐based projects in the next 15 years.


Sarah Bellos: Southern Hues - Tennessee.  Southern Hues is the exclusive brand behind the Local Color Cooperative, a group of women and beginning farmers in the Southeast US who came together to sustain their farms and improve our land. Its mission is to increase the resilience of agricultural systems by helping these small farmers diversify into natural dye crops. Natural dye plants have great potential as an alternative industrial crop to improve crop diversity, wildlife and beneficial insect habitats, and to minimize fertilizer and pesticide use on farms. Sarah's project will provide growers with a direct market for these value-added alternative crops while educating a broad range of consumers to support a sustainable agrarian economy and nurture and restore the earth.


Allison Rogers: Green Girl-Green Women - United States. The mission of this developing business is to empower young women throughout the U.S. to be sustainability champions. The Wild Gift Grant in combination with the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen grant is supporting the production of a Green Girls Guide, which will be a slick, graphic sustainability primer that includes hands-on workshops promoting the green lifestyle. As a Former Miss Rhode Island 2006 who ran on a sustainability platform, Allison saw the incredible power of young women creating  positive change throughout the USA. She continues to mentor and support young women competing in the Miss America Scholarship Organization, and hopes to be able to provide resources to them in their sustainability work. She will be exploring the use of digital media to reach across America to connect these ambassadors together in their efforts to create a better planet.



Wild Gift trek