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Centers receive Coeur d’Alene donations

WORLEY, Idaho – The Coeur d’Alene Tribe continues to make good on its commitment to education with a $1.4 million contribution to schools on and around the reservation. “I want to say how proud I am of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe,” Tribal Chairman Chief Allan told the assembled crowd. “This tribe has always stepped up and given to the kids and to the education of the local area.”

Laura Stensgar, acting CEO for the Coeur d’Alene Casino and Hotel, added, “Today is truly a great day. Thirteen years ago we made a commitment to give to the children, to invest in their education. It benefits all of us, not just the tribe but our fellow neighbors. We want to share our profits. We want to share in our idealism.”

Speaker after speaker thanked and commended the tribe as 28 separate entities received checks. The Plummer/Worley school on the reservation received one of the larger donations of $225,000, and its spokesman commented, “It’s super and almost beyond belief. It started in 1993 and our sum prior to this year is $2,190,000. We use it for student activities and to bolster our technology. If kids don’t have technology in the mobile society we live in we’re going to be way behind.” Others on the reservation receiving money included the tribal school, Early Childhood Learning Center, tribal cultural institute and tribal scholarship program, but numerous schools off the reservation throughout northern Idaho also received funds.

Other speakers also made heartfelt comments. “It continues to amaze me what the Coeur d’Alene Tribe does for the education of northern Idaho students,” said the speaker from Timberlake School. “We’re humbled and honored by everything you continue to do for our children,” voiced the speaker from Potlatch. The Kellogg School spokesman said, “It’s wonderful to have an association with the tribe and their big heart.”

Several entities other than schools also received money. The Cataldo Mission, built on the reservation between 1848 and 1853 and now a state park, has begun a Sacred Encounters Program to create a museum; the tribe made its single largest donation of $300,000 for that project.

The money for these donations comes from gaming revenues. Allan said that $6.2 million in gaming profits had been donated to schools in just the past five years.

The tribe also pledged to give $1 million over a 10-year period to the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene. The initial payment of $100,000 was presented at the same time as the contributions to education. This community center has not yet started but is largely funded by a $1.5 billion endowment McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc gave to the Salvation Army. Coeur d’Alene was one of six cities nationwide recently awarded $60 million for such a center. Local communities must come up with additional operating monies and the tribe’s contribution is the largest yet received.

Allan commented, “One thing we like about the Kroc Center is that it provides spiritual growth, educational growth and recreational growth for all the folks.” Both gaming monies and money from fuel tax dollars will go into this fund “because we really believe in it and the tribe wants to make this happen,” Allan concluded.

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloom was one of many to thank the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. “We applaud you for your success. We applaud you for sharing that success with so many others and you truly have set the standard for the rest of us to look at as to what we can do in giving back. We appreciate that standard you’re setting.”

Tribal committee member Norma Peone summed up the event: “God has blessed us beyond belief. The things that we’ve been able to do for our children and your children – I’m so proud of that. I would like to thank the Lord today for blessing us and taking care of us.”