Giving Station at JUMP, Democratizing philanthropy as a community


In a captivating interview with Steve Burns of the Idaho Community Foundation, the amiable CEO and president, who assumed his role just two years ago, shared insights into his journey. Formerly the director of the Boise Zoo for two fruitful decades, Steve’s transition to supporting the Idaho Community Foundation was not just a career move but an honorable commitment.

Having witnessed Boise’s remarkable growth since his arrival in 1996, Steve’s innovative spirit shone through during his tenure at the zoo. Reflecting on a unique idea, he contemplated a vending machine offering wildlife-themed gift cards, backed by foundation support. This concept evolved into the “Giving Station” under the Idaho Community Foundation’s wing—a vending machine featuring 24 nonprofit gift cards available for purchase in amounts from $10-$25 each. Every purchase becomes a donation for that organization.

The interview underscored two key takeaways. Firstly, Steve envisioned the Idaho Community Foundation Giving Station as a focal point for family discussions. Imagine engaging in dinner-like conversations with loved ones in front of the vending machine, deliberating on the charities closest to your hearts. This unique experience adds a personal touch to philanthropy.

Secondly, the Giving Station democratizes philanthropy. It breaks the stereotype that substantial donations are the sole path to being a philanthropist. With a range from $10 to $25, anyone can walk in, pick their preferred charities, grab a gift card, and instantly become a philanthropist. It transforms the act of giving into an accessible and inclusive experience, emphasizing that every contribution, regardless of size, makes a meaningful impact on the supported causes. Steve Burns has not only brought innovation to charitable giving but has also made philanthropy a shared and democratic endeavor.

Nonprofits eager to join the innovative Giving Station initiative can reach out to the Idaho Community Foundation via email to become part of this impactful venture. The concept involves strategically placing the Giving Station vending machine in high-traffic areas around town for designated periods. This not only ensures visibility but also encourages community engagement with charitable causes.

The Giving Station will be in the JUMP lobby, 1000 W Myrtle Street in Boise through December. As the Giving Station gains momentum, the plan is to expand its presence beyond the initial location, reaching out to other counties. This

expansion will facilitate broader support for nonprofits and causes in diverse communities. The visionary approach of the Idaho Community Foundation and the Giving Station not only fosters local philanthropy but also sets the stage for a ripple effect of positive change across counties, creating a network of support for various impactful initiatives.

For more information visit