By Ken Levy
From the time she moved to Boise in 1970, Joan Grimm has been one of the Boise State Bronco’s biggest fans. She’s attended virtually all of BSU’s home football games, sitting in the same seat in the president’s section.
“I intended to leave a share of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Assistance League of Boise and to the Bronco Athletic Association in my will,” said Grimm, now 85.
“But my son said, ‘why leave it in your will when they can use the money now?'” she said. “So I gave them each a share.”
That stock, she said, was worth $117,000 to the BAA when it was donated. When stock prices dipped, the share given to the Assistance League of Boise was worth “only $100,000.”
Grimm was a charter member of the ALB, and was asked to help put a steering committee together to found the Boise chapter. First known as the Assistance Guild, the local organization was chartered by the National Assistance League.
“It’s grown to be a wonderful organization,” she said.
“Joan Grimm has emerged as an unassuming supporter of those causes for which she has a passion,” said Mary Ann Arnold, ALB president. “Previously she donated to the BAA which, of course is very deserving. As a longtime supporter, a significant donation such as hers enhances opportunities not only directly for Boise State University, but the community as well. Her generosity merely underlines her desire for a foundation to secure the future of worthwhile causes.”
“Joan was pivotal in helping to start the local Assistance League chapter, hosting meetings in 1976 and providing much of the energy to achieve national chartered chapter status in 1980,” said Joyce Davis, Assistant League of Boise past president. “She has remained a member for over 30 years and continues to support our organization and goals.”
“I’ll stay with them forever,” Grimm said. “They do great things for the community.”
When she heard about the ALB’s need to expand its west Boise thrift shop, Grimm said she asked to speak to the president and board of the organization to make her offer.
“They cried, they were so excited,” she said.
Davis said Grimm’s gift was about 20 percent of the funds needed for the expansion of the league’s thrift shop. The shop provides more than half of the league’s philanthropic support “and is critical to our ongoing contributions to the community,” Davis said.
“The organization has never been the recipient of such a magnanimous donation,” Arnold said.
“Her commitment and gift set a mark for others to hit. Within weeks of her donation, our members followed her example by writing checks to support our expansion project,” said Davis. “Because of Joan Grimm and her support, we will be able to continue our long history of community support through our programs and still fund the expansion we need to sustain our revenue for the future.
“Joan has given hours of service to our community through her work in support of our philanthropies,” said Karen Menz, president-elect of the ALB. “She has dressed school children through Operation School Bell and has worked monthly in the Assistance League Thrift Shop.”
Grimm “has the ability to see where a donation may have the best impact,” said Arnold. “This was certainly true in the case of her gift to the BAA, which is obviously a high-profile organization in the community.”
In the case of the ALB, Grimm’s donation “opened doors that were previously not ever considered, allowing our organization to use the resources we now have in place to leverage the best plan for construction and completion of our project,” Arnold said.
Ken Levy is a writer and photographer residing in Driggs, Idaho.