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Body & Soul

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Volunteer Spotlight

The Quiet Grace of Marcia Liebich

BY JODY ORR

Marcia and Don Liebich, photo by Lisa Huttinger

A seed was planted in Marcia Liebich’s brain many years ago while she was working with the American Association of University Women. Liebich met a woman there who became her mentor and told her, “It would be wonderful if we could keep our children safe within our homes, but that is impossible. Therefore, one must do all one can to improve our communities and the world.”  With that wisdom in mind, Liebich and her husband, Don, have done just that.

The Liebichs moved to Hailey in 2002 to be closer to their sons, who live in Boise.  A veteran volunteer for United Way (among others), Liebich helped found the Wood River Women’s Charitable Foundation (WRWCF) in 2005. Now 201 members strong, the WRWCF has given more than $1 million to area nonprofits. Each member donates $1,000 per year to groups like Girls on the Run, The Hunger Coalition and Nurture Idaho. “We have a lot of second homeowners in the group who want to give back to the community and this is their way to do it,” explained Liebich.

Barbara Thrasher, WRWCF’s first president, feels that Liebich has made an exceptional impBact. As she explained, “Marcia did a wonderful job of creating a template for our granting program and brought incredible expertise to the process. She’s very giving in a quiet way.”

An important component of the Liebichs’ philanthropy is the quest to help local nonprofits by bringing lecturers to the College of Southern Idaho campus in Hailey to discuss subjects like crowd sourcing, measuring social impact and how to read a financial balance sheet. “In a small, rural community like ours, it’s tough to get the education you need to successfully run a nonprofit. Bringing in speakers helps,” Marcia noted.

Along those lines, Don runs the adult education program at St. Thomas Episcopal Church and the Liebichs have taken two groups to Jordan to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, as well as two other visits to St. George’s Episcopal College in Jerusalem.

Even while on safari in Tanzania, the Liebichs found an opportunity to give. Their guide mentioned that he wanted to build a medical clinic in his village, so when Don learned that a small sum could facilitate its construction, they donated to the cause. Today that clinic treats 100-150 patients a day. As Marcia explained, “Sometimes your money just goes a lot farther in other parts of the world.”

Every Thanksgiving, the Liebichs give their grandchildren money to donate to charity and then, at Christmas, all six make “giving” presentations. “It’s so great. The kids make Power-Point presentations and one year one of our granddaughters did an interpretive dance,” Marcia said. “We really look forward to seeing how they’ll give every year.”

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