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News >  Idaho

Idaho charity golf event costs more than it gives out

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 4, 2019

In this Jan. 5, 2018, photo, Idaho Gov. C.L.
In this Jan. 5, 2018, photo, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter speaks to reporters about the 2018 legislative session at the State Capitol in Boise, Idaho. Roughly seven weeks after leaving office, Otter has joined the board of a Canadian mining company that is expanding into Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger / AP)
Associated Press

BOISE – For more than four decades, the governor and first lady of Idaho have hosted an annual multiday golf and sporting event to raise money for state college and trade-school scholarships.

Almost every year for the past decade, the nonprofit that runs the Governor’s Cup tournament has spent at least double on throwing the annual event than it has awarded in financial aid, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday.

That has raised concerns about the purpose of the event. But some nonprofit experts and the Governor’s Cup chairman argue that the scholarships would not exist without the annual fundraiser.

The Statesman was not granted interviews with Gov. Butch Otter, first lady Lori Otter or Gov.-elect Brad Little for this story.

“Miss Lori and I are profoundly proud and humbled to have played a small part in the ongoing success this program has achieved,” Gov. Otter said in a statement provided by the nonprofit’s executive director. “In our 12 years hosting the event, the First Lady and I have watched more than 300 Idaho students begin their journey at an Idaho school. That keeps our kids at home, while supporting Idaho post-secondary higher education.”

Lori Otter has been on the event’s board of directors since at least 2007.

The event raised $1.3 million in 2018, Otter told the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce in November. What he didn’t say was how much of that money will go toward scholarships – less than half, if history is any indication, the Statesman said.

Students received $2.1 million in scholarship awards in the time that the Idaho Governor’s Cup nonprofit spent $6.1 million on the annual event. That doesn’t include the nonprofit’s other operating expenses.

Critics of the Governor’s Cup, such as Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, have raised concerns in the past that the Cup is a networking event, where an affluent few can hobnob with the governor and other dignitaries.

The event alternates annually between resorts in Coeur d’Alene and Sun Valley.

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