To kick off 2023, I have been writing about people and organizations giving back to the community.
Readers enjoy seeing uplifting, positive stories. So today, I wanted to write about a person in Idaho and the good he has done for the community.
His name is Frank Vandersloot, and he is the wealthiest person in Idaho. But the good he does with his wealth makes for a good story.
The richest person in Idaho
Fran VanderSloot was born into a poor farming family in 1948 and moved to Idaho in 1949.
He attended school in Sandpoint, Idaho, before attending Brigham Young University and then earning an associate degree at Rick College in Rexburg, Idaho.
VanderSloot made a move to earn his billion-dollar fortune in 1985 when he started Melaleuca, a multi-level marketing company selling supplements, cleaning supplies, and personal-care products.
Melaleuca has over one million monthly customers, and its global head office is in Idaho Falls. In addition to Melaleuca, Vandersloot owns Riverbend Communications and several radio stations across Eastern Idaho.
VanderSloot is one of the largest landowners in the United States, with over 1117,500 acres across Idaho, Utah, and Montana.
This has led him to become a billionaire- the only billionaire living in Idaho. And thankfully, he has used his wealth to give back to the community.
In 2001 Vandersloot created the Melaleuca Foundation to help support the victims of 9/11.
It raised and donated more than $800,000 to aid several families and individuals unable to receive financial support.
Since then, the foundation has "raised millions of dollars, donated millions of Melaleuca’s wellness products, collected thousands of tons of food, and provided supplies and additional aid to families in need across the globe."
Melaleuca has donated millions to support local and national nonprofit organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, and more.
It has also stepped in to help with relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
In February 2012, VanderSloot purchased a property from the Idaho Falls School District. He financed renovations of a building on the site, the New Sweden School, which had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He donated the entire parcel to the American Heritage Charter School.
Most recently, the foundation donated healthcare supplies to Ukraine.
“We support Ukraine in the fight for freedom! Melaleuca was honored to donate first aid supplies to support the brave men and women who are defending their homes.” Frank VanderSloot.
Perhaps one of the best uses of the fund provided by Melaleuca and Vandersloot is The Santa Lucia Children’s Home which has been the signature cause of the Melaleuca Foundation since 2007. The home is "special and unique among the world’s orphanages. Instead of vast dormitories with rows of beds, there are small “homes” in which children live in loving, safe family units."
What do you think of the charitable giving of Vandersloot? What organizations in Idaho would you like to see him support?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.
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