Our History

The Story Behind the Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation, Inc.

Mr. Richard A. Stickle, former Executive Director of the Idaho High School Activities Association first envisioned an endowment fund for high school activities in 1978. For nine years, he investigated the concept, interviewed fundraisers from every college and university in the state of Idaho to gather ideas and an understanding of procedures that were necessary in establishing such a fund. He spent a great deal of time ascertaining whether such an idea was acceptable and feasible among administrators of the 130 high schools in the state.

The Idaho High School Activities Association would be the first state association in the nation to establish an endowment for the sole purpose of reimbursing schools for their expenses respective to sending qualifiers to state competition in IHSAA sponsored activities in speech arts, music and athletics. Mr. Stickle moved to Kansas City, MO in August 1987, before the campaign got under way, but not before the Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation was incorporated in December 1986.

In 1987 schools contributed $48,000 to hire a fundraiser; the Idaho High School Activities Association raised officials' registration fees $5 and increased activity card fees $5 earmarked for one year to help facilitate incurred expenses. A Board of Directors was formed with an individual from the private sector and an administrator in education from each of the six activity districts to serve as charter members.

In July 1987, Wm. McKenzie from Hilton Head, South Carolina, was hired by the endowment Board of Directors to become the fundraiser for the foundation. Bill McKenzie established a base of $110,000 in contributions during his 1-½ year tenure. What is more important perhaps, was the statewide public awareness campaign McKenzie diligently pursued. He introduced thousands of people to the YEA project while promoting the endowment fund. He kicked off the campaign by means of a press conference with governor Cecil Andrus; Attorney General, Butch Otter; State Auditor, Joe Williams; State Superintendent of Schools, Jerry L. Evans; United Dairymen of Idaho board chairman, Jack Davis; IHSAA board member representing music, Bert Burda; State School Board and IHSAA Board member, David Hawk; well-known community band leader, Gil Hockstrasser; businessman, Duane D. Wolfe; and IHSAA Executive Director, Myrna Johns.

In 1989, the Idaho High School Activities Association Board of Directors approved jamborees in girls' and boys' basketball with the understanding that all gate receipts would be donated to the endowment. The jamborees raised $14,519 in the first year. Jamborees became so popular that eventually the Board approved volleyball, football, wrestling, softball, baseball, soccer, track, and girls and boys' basketball jamborees, increasing donations to $51,000 by June 2000.

In June 1993, the board adopted a voluntary vestment formula introduced by Myrna Johns that permitted schools who wished to participate by paying a vestment to be eligible to reap the rewards of dividends. The formula outlined 4-5A schools to pay $2000 annually for 25 years or $50,000; 3A schools to pay $1500 annually for 25 years or $37,500; 2A schools to pay $1,000 annually for 25 years or $25,000; 1A schools to pay $500 annually for 25 years or $12,500. The vestment plan has no penalties and is totally voluntary. Dividends are to be prorated according to the percentage the school is vested. Five years after the plan was adopted, the fund topped one million dollars.

Officials raised funds by donating one game fee. Simplot Co. of Pocatello donated several thousand dollars to the "Give A Game Fee" effort. Officials also officiated jamborees gratis.

With the addition of several schools built since the advent of the fund's implementation, the vestment formula will provide $9,375,540.00 assuming every school meets its vested goal and interest rates average 7.5%. Dividends will be paid to participating schools in non-revenue-producing activities when the short-term goal of two million dollars is met. Dividends will be paid to participating schools in all IHSAA sponsored activities when the fund meets its long-range goal of nine million dollars.

Myrna Johns, was appointed Executive Director of the Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation, Inc. in April 1998 following her retirement as Associate Director of the IHSAA and held that position for ten years. The first disbursement checks in drama and track were given in 2007-08, which she claimed to be the pinnacle of her career. Myrna accepted the board's invitation to become a board member following her YEA retirement.

Richard Curtis was appointed the Executive Director in May, 2008. Curtis received his BS from the U of I and his Master of Education degree in 1973. He retired from Lake Oswego High School (Oregon) as its athletic director in 2000. He served over 30 years in the areas of teaching, personnel, program development and management.  Dick stepped down as the YEA Executive Director in the spring of 2019 but continues to serve as an at-large member of the Board of Directors.


The YEA entered into a Contract for Administrative Services with the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA). Beginning July 1, 2019, the IHSAA will provide all administrative duties for the YEA. The YEA Board of Control will still be separate from the IHSAA and will continue to maintain control of all financial, policy, practices and legal matters. The IHSAA will provide the role of Executive Director, who will work with the YEA Board of Control. IHSAA Assistant Director, Julie Hammons, will perform the duties of the YEA Executive Director, in addition to her regular duties with the IHSAA.

About Us

The Youth Endowment for Activities is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit foundation of the Idaho High School Activities Association. The foundation was incorporated in December 1986.

The Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation, Inc. (YEA) has a Board of Directors with no fewer than thirteen... (Read More)

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Youth Endowment for Activities Foundation, Inc.

8011 Ustick Rd., Boise, ID 83704

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