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Boise Nice - Local Non-Profit Seeks To Educate Idahoans On How To Stay Kind As Treasure Valley Grows

Last updated August 24, 2021 by Mariah Hebbeln

A comment heard continuously in the City of Trees is about just how nice Idahoans are. With our simple yet urban downtown, hiking trails and camping spots less than 15 minutes away, and farmland still within the city limits, the Treasure Valley has maintained its small-town charm. But as the Treasure Valley grows, with new residents from their own respective communities and cultures, some have noticed a plausible threat to this “nice-ness.” One group, aptly named Boise Nice, has made it their mission to welcome all new residents and educate them on how to help maintain the pleasant, welcoming, and friendly Idaho spirit.

Who is Boise Nice?

The team of Boise Nice is made up of 5 community members: Husband and wife duo, Sayoko Kuwahara and Rourke O'Brien, Philip Thompson, Julia Kertz Grant, and Shawn Shepard Davis. Together they bring forth their unique experiences of either being raised in the Gem State or finding our treasured valley later in life.

Boise Nice | Nonprofit in Boise

A Brief Background on how this group came to be...

Julia Kertz Grant is a prominent figure in the community. She is recognized for helping raise awareness and then the eventual passing of the Foothills Open Space Levy. She remembers how kind the city had been to her when she first moved here as a newlywed and later trademarked the term “Boise Nice” to assure it always had the connection to the kind attitudes of those who live here. Later, when Sayoko Kuwahara and Rourke O'Brien came to Boise for a weekend trip, they instantly fell in love with the town. They moved here in the same summer of 2018. Feeling motivated to assist in the preservation of that iconic Boise nice-ness, they both found Julia and helped launch the non-profit. Fellow member Shawn Shepard Davis had moved to Boise after several “fact-finding” trips when she was tasked with finding a new home. She later fell in love with a member of the influential Davis family from Boise and knew that Boise wasn't just where she lived, it was home. She hopes to continue the conversation and host events that encourage others to live with that Boise positivity. Finally, after being told about the group from O'Brien, Philip Thompson was interested in merging his background and family history with the brand. Thompson's family has been in the valley for 116 years and has been breaking racial barriers in the valley ever since. His great, great, great grandfather constructed and led Idaho's first Black church, his grandfather, Aurelius Buckner was Boise State's first Black Football player, and his mother, Cherie Buckner-Webb was Idaho's first Black woman elected into Idaho's legislature. Together, these five influential and genuinely nice Idahoans make the dream team behind Boise Nice.

How to Keep Boise Nice.

Keeping Boise nice is a conscious and intentional frame of mind, shares the project. Core issues they seek to address in the valley are homelessness, education, essential services, cultural and historical preservation, and maintaining Boise's ecological health. They've also outlined a few more characteristics that will help keep Boise nice below.

  • It's not uncommon to hear a friendly “hello” from a complete stranger or have someone let you into traffic with a charitable wave. You can take the quiz created by Boise Nice to learn more.
  • Shop local with Boise grown businesses
  • Learn the history of the valley of special places like Hulls Gulch, the Ribbon of Jewels, the Anne Frank Memorial, the Basque Block, Old Idaho Penitentiary, Idaho State Capitol Building, or the Assay Office. This list is much longer, but these are a great start.
  • Attend uniquely Boise events like Treefort Music Festival which helps amplify local musicians, artists, vendors, and creators from the valley, as well as from around the country.

Totally Boise is proud to help encourage the message of preserving what makes Boise such a nice place to live, work and play in. As the valley continues to grow, we know that with a few intentional actions, each one of us can do our part to achieve that mission.

If you would like to learn more about the Boise Nice non-profit, check out the link below!

Boise Nice Website

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