With a decades-long tradition of giving, the Kasiska Family Foundation has gifted nearly $20 million to Idaho State University. Most recently, a gift of $1 million was presented to ISU in early May. This latest contribution creates the Eva Kasiska Scholarship Endowment and will provide scholarships for students studying health professions at ISU now and into the future.
The Kasiska Family Foundation has also issued a challenge to the community members and former Kasiska scholarship recipients. Their board has pledged to provide up to $1 million in additional funds, by doubling any contributions made to the endowment from now until September 2023. Organizations, alumni members and community leaders have the opportunity to contribute to the endowment, unlocking the full potential of the Kasiska challenge and supporting the health care leaders of tomorrow in perpetuity.
“I have long looked forward to this day when we would join with the University to establish an endowed fund managed by the ISU Foundation,” said Alan Van Orden, chair for the Kasiska Family Foundation Board of Managers. "This opens the opportunity for others to contribute, especially those who are among the over 7,000 previous scholarship recipients. We hope the community will respond to our challenge with gifts both large and small. We are especially pleased that the Eva Kasiska Scholarship Endowment will carry on after the Kasiska Family Foundation comes to an end.”
One of those students who benefitted from the philanthropy of the Kasiska family was pharmacy graduate Kylie Auger. She is grateful to the Kasiska Family Foundation for helping her achieve her career dream.
“I say to them, ‘Thank you for believing in me and making an investment in my future.’ I certainly plan to pay it forward,” Auger said.
Kasiska support for ISU began in the 1940s, thanks to sisters Eva and Mabel Kasiska, who inherited their father’s philanthropic spirit. The Kasiska family legacy began with William F. Kasiska, who came to Pocatello in 1890. An astute businessman, William Kasiska invested in land, operated banks and ranches and served as mayor of Pocatello. The Kasiska's owned substantial real estate in Pocatello, including the home now occupied by the president of Idaho State University, and the old Bannock Hotel. Through hard work, William and Mary Kasiska accumulated a significant estate, which they bequeathed equally to their daughters, Mabel and Eva.
William Kasiska, who died in 1945, was known for helping young people finance their education or dipping into his pocket to help a friend in need. After the passing of their father, Mabel and Eva carried forward the family enterprises, along with their father's devotion to service and philanthropy. In his memory, and in honor of his birthday, Mabel and Eva established a scholarship program at Idaho State College in December of 1949, funding scholarships for young women studying to become nurses.
In 1968 they founded the "ISU Scholarship Club" as a means to encourage others who may be capable of giving to support the student scholarships. To date, thousands of students have benefited from Kasiska Scholarships. Funds have also provided opportunities for the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences (KDHS) at ISU to host conferences and events, update equipment and facilities, and offer professional development for faculty and students.
“We take our commitment to honor the Kasiska family very seriously, and are so grateful for the continued support of the Foundation and family,” said Rex Force, vice president for health sciences and senior vice provost at ISU. “Even decades after Eva and Mabel’s passing, students at ISU know and understand the significance of the Kasiska family legacy. This gift will ensure that students have access to scholarships to help pay for their education in the high-demand health professions.”