Our first recipient, Mary K Jones Aucutt, arguably is responsible for the existence of more Idaho nonprofit organizations than any other Idahoan. In her capacity as Funding Information Specialist for the Boise Public Library, she first created the Funding Information Center, then staffed it from 1988 to 2009.
In one-on-one consultations and group presentations, she assisted well over 1,000 nonprofit volunteers and staff in identifying and procuring the resources necessary to fulfill their missions. She also helped grant-making foundations and corporations, as well as individual donors, assess their philanthropic goals so they could more knowledgably meet the needs of grantees and their communities.
In addition to her “day job,” Mary K was a founder and board secretary of the Idaho Nonprofit Development Center (now the Idaho Nonprofit Center), a member of the Southwest Idaho Planned Giving Council and the Southwest Idaho Contribution Managers, and active in leading her own Basque community, including board membership in the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Basque Neighborhood Marketplace (the precursor to the Basque Block).
“My goal always has been to support and encourage those who seek to be engaged in their communities,” she says. “Nonprofits are all about providing opportunity, that is to say, about helping people bridge and bond. This sector offers the services that ensure a high quality of life for every Idahoan, from the arts to human services to social change. “Equally important, nonprofits offer individuals an entryway to civic engagement and leadership responsibility, affecting lives and extending nonprofits’ influence far beyond their missions. My role has been to facilitate the discovery and use of all potential resources and increase people’s awareness of the nuances of their communities.”