July 5: The Independence Day fireworks celebrations booms over the Downtown Boise skyline.

Idaho Statesman
Debra Leithauser, President & Publisher

A friend is considering moving to the Treasure Valley. What’s your elevator pitch on why he or she should?

Beautiful vistas and wonderful people. Outdoors galore. A wonderful place to raise a family or go to school. Boise is truly special — I grew up in Hawaii and Florida, and Boise is the best place I’ve ever lived.

What’s your favorite piece of public art and where in the world is it?

The one that humbles me and fills me with respect is the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. There are so many wonderful memorials along the National Mall, but this one — especially the way they light it at night, and the way artist Frank Gaylord captured the soldiers’ faces in the granite — so clearly signals the sacrifice so many made in our fight for freedom.

What’s your go-to book to give a friend?

So many choices, and book selections are very personal. “Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole is a favorite, though, if you have a friend with a good sense of humor who appreciates brilliant writing.

If you could change one thing about the Treasure Valley, what would it be and why?

Our education system. We are behind the world and the rest of the nation, and it will hold back Idaho until we invest in our children and our future.

What is the one thing about the Treasure Valley you would never change?

The people — so friendly, caring and giving. They made my entire family feel very welcomed when we arrived.

One of our area’s treasures is the outdoors. What’s your favorite thing to do here?

I have absolutely loved taking my family whitewater rafting. They had never tried it before, and to see the thrilled looks on their faces as we hit the rapids is just priceless.

What “hidden gems” have you discovered living here?

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is amazing — how lucky we are to have such amazing talent showcased on a stage under the stars. I didn’t miss a show last year, and I hope to make it to all of them this year.

What energizes your business team to work together to support the community?

The Statesman is a vital part of the community. Every day, we share stories of our community succeeding, struggling and striving. We try hard to be a part of the conversation on every front because we are a community connector.

What lasting impression do you hope Together Treasure Valley will have?

I hope Together Treasure Valley will be remembered for years to come for all of our community projects, from our green “community conversation” benches to our library grants and ABC story mats to new public art. But most important, I hope people will remember how the partners in Together Treasure Valley came together as business leaders to make amazing things happen.

What positive feedback has your company received about Together Treasure Valley?

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback, but perhaps my favorite moment was at the Boise Public Library. I was there checking out books for my kids, and the library had a Together Treasure Valley sign posted that I pointed out to one of my sons. The librarian didn’t know who I was and proceeded to tell me about Together Treasure Valley awarding the library money. I just nodded my head and grinned. She seemed very excited about the impact that money would make.

Together Treasure Valley gave $50,000 to help fund Boise’s Vista Gateway Median Arts project. Why was this an important project to fund?

It’s exciting to see Together Treasure Valley’s dollars amplified with the city of Boise’s generous match for this arts project. Once again, it’s clear that great things happen when business leaders come together to support their cities in new and creative ways.

Together Treasure Valley gave $50,000 to help fund Caldwell’s Indian Creek Musical Arts project. Why was this an important project to fund?

This project brings together beautiful art in a way that’s interactive and educational. We had applications from six cities, and choosing what to support was difficult. Caldwell is supporting public arts as well as learning, which was exciting to the Together Treasure Valley partners.

Together Treasure Valley gave $17,250 to fund Lee Pesky Learning Center’s ABC Story Mats & Activity Guides. Why was this an important project to fund?

Together Treasure Valley’s aim is to make a tangible impact in helping people across the Valley. What could be more important than preparing children as they embark on their educational journey? It is really wonderful that we could help bring this learning tool to so many kids across the Valley for free. For kids to be able to identify their letters when they start kindergarten is a huge step forward.

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