Carrying Forward a Family Legacy of Community Activism

Dean and Colleen Mahoney Fund

In the 50 years Colleen Mahoney has spent serving the changing needs of the Lewis Clark Valley, her passion for community activism has never wavered. Whether teaching elementary school, serving on the Idaho State Board of Education, helping to develop a new library, participating in human rights activism or working at the food bank, Colleen’s lifelong investment in her community has been guided by the legacy of her family’s values.

Colleen’s passion for human rights was ignited at a young age when she witnessed the primitive and inhumane living conditions at a Japanese internment camp in Idaho during World War II. Her parents were some of the first to rent land to Japanese families recently released from the internment camp, instilling in Colleen a lifelong respect for other people.

“We need to understand and appreciate each other,” she says.

At the encouragement of her daughter, Nancy, who is a fund founder with Innovia, Colleen recently created the Dean & Colleen Mahoney Fund. The fund is dedicated to advancing causes in the Lewis Clark Valley through supporting places such as Lewis Clark State College and the YWCA Shelter for Domestic Violence Survivors.

“My life has been really wonderful, and I would like to give back,” Colleen says. “I hope to leave the community a legacy of giving.”