The principals and employees of Neel Ratliff and company take great pride in supporting the community with volunteered time. Since we are very active in these endeavors we do limit the number of commitments we can support effectively.
Jeffrey Neel, CPA
Blaine County Education Foundation
Treasurer/Chair for Foundation from 2002 – 2011. The Education Foundation supports the Blaine County public schools with supplemental funding for district initiatives, teacher classroom grants, needs-based student support, and scholarships. During my tenure on the board, the Foundation had also funded teacher down payment assistance grants during a period when local real estate prices were beyond the ability for new teachers to afford which was affecting the district’s ability to attract teachers to the valley.
Higher Ground of Sun Valley (formerly Sun Valley Adaptive Sports)
Treasurer from 2011 to the present. Higher Ground provides adaptive programs for returning veterans affected by PTSD and related combat injuries and their families including 3 years of follow-up contact and support. The organization also provides year-round adaptive programs for locals and people visiting the area with special needs as well as coordinating Special Olympics winter sports activities. During my tenure the organization has rebranded with a more nationally recognizable name to support our efforts to broaden the geographical reach of the programs at a time when more veterans are returning from tours of duty, to expand the influence of the organization in delivering effective adaptive programs to more people, and in supporting research activities to better understand therapies that help individuals improve their lives and relationships. To learn more about Higher Ground programs, visit www.highergroundsv.org
Treasurer from 2014 to present. The Drug Coalition's mission is to improve the health and safety of the community by decreasing alcohol and other drug use among our youth. The organization was founded in 2007 by alarmed community members from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Our main program, Idaho Drug Free Youth (IDFY) is a youth program whose mission is to support one another in making healthy choices and creating a counter-culture to those "you're only cool if you use" students. This program is made possible by a grant from the St. Luke's Wood River Foundation.
Mary Ann Syms
Volunteer for The Community Children’s Library. Mary Ann and her dog, Keesha (a Keeshund/Australian mix from the pound) have been volunteering at The Community Children’s Library in Ketchum for 5 years where every Saturday for one hour they partake in the Paws to Read Program where children read to a trained therapy dog. It’s reading the “fun way”. The program is a simple concept where the kids read to the dog, the dog listens and doesn’t tease, laugh or judge the child. It creates a positive, non-threatening, fun environment for the child.
Volunteer for St. Luke’s Hospital. Both Mary Ann and Keesha also partake in the St. Luke’s Pet Therapy program which provides visits from specially trained doggie friends who provide cheer, brighten a stressful day, and help patients, visitors and staff relax. The doggies offer comfort for both large and small patients alike. Their visits definitely help with the healing process. They change “tears into smiles and help the forgotten to laugh.” Mary Ann and Kesha have been volunteering for 9 years.