IDAHO FALLS — Karen Huntsman, wife of industrialist Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., learned a valuable lesson early in their marriage.
"No matter who you are and what you're doing, you can give back to others," Huntsman told those attending the Idaho Community Foundation luncheon on Thursday.
As a young Navy wife, she recalled, she noticed that $50 from their paycheck was missing each month. When she asked her husband where that money was going, he told her it was in a special fund.
Several months later, when a group of their neighbors were talking, a woman said she got an anonymous $50 donation each month. "She was a single mother with several children," Huntsman noted.
During the rise of his business, she said, John told her his drive to build his business was so he could put back into the community.
"I'm so impressed that we are all actively involved in making a difference," she told those in attendance. She said that those who don't have large amounts of money can do so through acts of kindness.
"That's something our Creator has given each of us," she said. "To lift another person up is who we are. That's what we do."
A woman of considerable accomplishment in her own right, Forbes magazine once referred to her as the "Chairman of the Chairman" because of her significant influence and remarkable impact on the operations of the Huntsman Corporation, and because of her high sense of service to charity and humanitarian causes.
She spoke in place of her husband, who was unexpectedly delayed on international business.
The ICF is a statewide nonprofit organization with the goal of having a permanent endowment of charitable dollars that will serve the state's citizens forever.
This year ICF has provided over $639,000 in grants to nonprofits in Eastern Idaho, including funds for Bingham Crisis Center's four cell phone hotlines and office equipment.