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Limelight Hotel Empowers Employees to Help Neighbors Through Nonprofits
Friday, January 20, 2023


Employees of the Limelight Hotel Ketchum have been donating a dollar, two dollars, maybe even four dollars out of every paycheck to their workplace’s Limelight Ketchum Community Fund.

On Thursday those employees, which can number 85 during peak summer months, got to see what their donations were going to.

The hotel threw a luncheon for employees as it invited representatives of six nonprofits to describe what their donations would be used for over a lunch of chicken, salmon, roast potatoes and asparagus.

The Limelight Ketchum Community Fund donated $24,500 this year to six Wood River Valley organizations. It has given out more than $200,000 in the past seven years to 38 nonprofits.

The Fund is financed by contributions from the hotels’ operation, by employees who take part in the optional paycheck deduction and by guests who agree to an opt-out $1-per-night donation. Limelight Hotel Ketchum employees from various departments determine which applicants to fund.

“Every one of these organizations is incredibly important,” said Aliki Georgakopoulos, president of the Limelight Ketchum Community Fund. “This is for sure an amazing thing that our company does, that our employees do, that our hotel guests do.”

“Embracing community is a hallmark of the Limelight Hotel Ketchum,” added Tim Johnson, director of Sales and a Community Fund board member “Our entire team greatly values where we live and work, and we understand the importance of supporting one another—our Limelight Ketchum Community Fund is one way to make an impact.

  • Tammy Davis, executive director of the Crisis Hotline, said that her organization would use the $5,000 awarded it to teach parents and community members about suicide prevention in small gatherings in homes. The discussions will go beyond teaching people signs of emotional distress to teaching about such things as how young people’s brains work.

    “We’re teaching a lot of things that our parents never taught us, such as how a young person’s brain doesn’t develop emotionally until they’re in their mid-20s,” she said. “So, while your 6-foot- 250-pound son may look like an adult, he doesn’t have an adult brain.”

    Davis said she recently met with 13 parents at a trailer park near Ketchum. “One Latino man said he had so much more compassion for his 17-year-old son after sitting through the program,” she added.

  • Shannon Nichols, director of development for The Advocates, noted that The Advocates’ shelter is bursting at the seams with 35 adults, 36 children and seven dogs, all of whom are assigned a case manager to advocate for them and help them find resources. The Advocates provides free, confidential services to an average of 38 clients a day.

    January tends to be a busy time, she said, because people get through the holidays and decide at the beginning of the year that they’re not going to endure a bad situation any longer.

    “The Limelight allows this work to continue,” she said. “Together we’re saving lives and changing futures.”

  • Jovita Pina, the executive director of The Senior Connection, said that her organization is tremendously grateful to the Limelight Fund and its employees for its $5,000 contribution to the Meals on Wheels program.

    “You guys have become tremendous supporters of our programs and services,” she said. “You believe like we do that seniors need us. They were there for us when we were young. Now we need to be there for them.”

    Brittany Werry, the organization’s new associate executive, said that the Senior Connection incurred over $100,000 in raw food costs this past year. Meals on Wheels drivers performed 13,000 safety checks on seniors in their homes as they delivered meals five days a week.

    “That may be the only social interaction these seniors have during the week,” she said.

  • Teressa Johnson took over the local Girls on the Run program last fall after having left Colorado Springs—a city of a half-million—for the smaller community of Ketchum.

    “I grew up running with my Mom and I like the way this program helps girls build confidence and other important life skills,” she said, reciting the case of one girl who went from looking down all the time to raising her hand in class as she gained self-esteem.

    Johnson said that about 50 percent of girls are subject to name calling and bullying. The Girls on the Run  afterschool program uses games and discussions to teach values and such skills as learning to compromise. The multi-week program ends with a snazzy 5K run celebrating the girls’ accomplishments.

    Johnson said she hopes to have 80 girls take part in the spring session, which begins after Spring Break in late March.

    “We’re just so excited to have a spring session because we haven’t had one since 2018 because of COVID,” she said.

  • Flourish Foundation has 78 teenagers this year in its 11-year-old Compassionate Leaders program for high school juniors and seniors, said Noah Koski. They’re focusing on happiness, asking such questions as “What do we mean by happiness?” But they’re also looking at how understanding suffering can cultivate a more empathetic response.

    In addition to mindfulness, participants do trail work in the wilderness and travel to such places as Morocco, India and the Philippines where they offer their assistance to the people in those communities.

  • Swiftsure Therapeutic Riding will use its money to work with students needing social, emotional and cognitive help. Executive Director Paul Bennett described how one teen-age boy began riding a horse once a week and changed his attitude, becoming more cooperative and able to sit and learn.

“Horses give feedback instantly and, if you’re going to be difficult, they’re going to challenge you,” he said. “But if you help them, they’ll help you.”



The Advocates provides support and services, including legal assistance, counseling services, food, transportation and housing assistance, to victims of abusive relationships.


The Senior Connection’s Meals on Wheels program has grown from one meal a week in 1971 to five lunches a week. The program helps seniors maintain their independence in their own homes, while providing a hot meal, safety check and social support.


The Crisis Hotline, founded in 1987, offers 24-hour crisis intervention via trained volunteers, It recently instituted a bilingual support line and it created Neighbors Helping Neighbors to address needs caused by the pandemic.

It started My Life Matters in 2015 to provide suicide awareness and prevention for teens through educational presentations that tell them what to do if concerned about themselves or a friend.


The ranch south of Bellevue provides free riding therapy for 300 adults and children with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.


Girls on the Run teaches life skills and helps build confidence and self-esteem for girls via afterschool interactive lessons that culminate in a 5K run.


Flourish Foundation strives to ignite personal transformation, inspire social change and nurture inclusive communities while promoting benevolent social action and environmental stewardship through such activities as trail restoration, meditation and group reflection.

Applications for the next grant cycle are due by mid-September 2023. Email Aliki Georgakopoulos, Limelight Ketchum Community Fund board chair, at for more information.

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