Hecla Charitable gives Silver Valley CASA a boost

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From left: Shoshone County CASA supervisor Jessica Cagle and Hecla Charitable Foundation consultant Mike Dexter hold a symbolic big $6,000 check in front of the Silver Valley CASA office in Kellogg. Photo by CHANSE WATSON

KELLOGG — The Hecla Charitable Foundation has once again stepped up and supported a local organization that is working to change things for the better in the Silver Valley.

First in March, then again in August, the Charitable Foundation stepped up to give two separate donations totaling $6,000 to the Silver Valley branch of CASA — or Court Appointed Special Advocates.

CASA is a mostly volunteer organization that trains advocates to investigate child protection cases and report their findings to the court. They talk to anyone that is involved in their assigned child’s life to get a sense of what their needs are. These reports can then be used by judges when determining what course of action to take in legal matters involving that CASA represented child.

Shoshone County CASA supervisor Jessica Cagle said that the first $1,000 donation went toward a luncheon/recruiting event that brought in three new volunteers to the organization.

The addition of these volunteers is huge for Silver Valley CASA, since there are still several child cases that cannot be assigned due to there being so few advocates.

The second $5,000 donation, Cagle explained, will not only go toward helping the assigned children by providing them with much needed items (such as school supplies, toys, care equipment, etc.), but it will also help spread awareness of CASA.

“This is our first donation, so we are really excited to be able to decided what we need to do next with it,” she added.

Hecla’s decision to choose Silver Valley CASA as the recipient of these funds had a lot to do with a glowing recommendation from Mike Dexter, a retired consultant with the Hecla Charitable Foundation.

“About three months ago, I was asked by Hecla folks in Coeur d’Alene to learn what I could about CASA in the Silver Valley,” he explained. “Honestly, I didn’t know much. I went to the courthouse and met with the district court judge, Scott Wayman … and he could not have spoken more favorably of the CASA effort. Then he told me he was convinced there would not be an attorney in North Idaho that I could find that would not echo his sentiments.”

With this kind of positive feedback, it was a no-brainer for the Hecla Charitable Foundation.

Hecla President and CEO Phil Baker, with support of the company’s Board of Directors, created the Hecla Charitable Foundation in 2007, which was initially seeded with company stock.

“The foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life and to promote the social, environmental, and economic sustainability and development of those communities where Hecla has operations and activities,” Baker said.

Within the overall mission of contributing to worthwhile local projects, the foundation focuses its efforts in four areas: education, community programs, youth activities and health services.

In 2009, the very first grants were awarded from the foundation, which has now grown from the initial stock advances and some periodic cash infusions to a self-sustained program with more than $6 million asset value.

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