ICF Founder John Fery passes away
We are saddened to report the passing of our founder, steadfast supporter and dear friend John Fery. Fery passed away on Saturday, February 11 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, where he had been ill.
The idea for the Idaho Community Foundation came from Whit Jones of the Whittenberger Foundation in Caldwell. Jones brought the idea to Fery who immediately saw the positive impact a community foundation could have in Idaho.
“At the outset it was obvious to me and others that the community foundation concept was sound and would enhance charitable giving in Idaho,” Fery said in a 2013 interview for the ICF Annual Report.
Fery and Jones put together an exploratory committee in 1987, which quickly grew into a Steering Committee to establish ICF. Fery recalled that while the idea was almost universally supported, it still wasn’t easy.
“Any new concept takes a little selling,” he said. “But there are a lot of charitable minded people in Idaho and they could see that this would enrich the quality of life throughout the state.”
It was a concept that resonated. By the end of the first year, ICF had assets of nearly $1 million and distributed $164,000 in grants throughout the state. In less than five years, ICF’s assets totaled $5 million.
“There was such a sense of purpose and camaraderie between the Steering Committee and the first Board of Directors,” Fery said. “They were wonderful, dedicated people who all became friends.”
John and his wife Dee established one of ICF’s first charitable funds in 1989 and have been longtime members of ICF. In 2014, their children made the lead gift to remodel and modernize the Victorian home where ICF’s offices are located. The home was christened the “John and Dee Fery House” in recognition of their years of support and efforts on our behalf.
John is survived by his wife Dee, three sons Brent, Bruce and Mike and their spouses and families.
To read the Idaho Statesman article about John, click here.