Esther Simplot, perhaps Idaho's best-known patron of the arts, announced Monday she had established a $3 million endowment to permanently fund the work of Ballet Idaho, the Boise Philharmonic and Opera Idaho. The endowment will be managed through the Idaho Community Foundation.
The Pauline Becker and Dorothy Simplot Memorial Endowment Fund, named for her and her late husband's mothers, is Simplot's second fund at ICF. She and her late husband, J.R. Simplot, established a $1.1 million endowment in 1992 to support the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy. This new fund will provide distributions of $40,000-$45,000 every year to each of the three organizations and because it is an endowment, the distributions are in perpetuity.
“All of ICF’s endowed funds, including the Becker Simplot Fund, will eventually distribute more than the amount of the original gift,” ICF President and CEO Karen Bilowith said in a press release. “That’s the power of endowment, and we have several funds that have done this.”