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Boise State Model United Nations program receives $500,000 gift

Idaho Senator Frank Church addresses the United Nations General Assembly, circa 1967. Photo courtesy of Boise State University Frank Church Collection.

Boise State’s new Model United Nations program, funded through the largest philanthropic gift to the university’s Frank Church Institute, will soon give Idaho high school students expanded learning opportunities focusing on global issues.

Idaho businessman C. Fredrick Cornforth, a member of the institute’s board of directors, pledged $500,000 to help fund the Model UN diplomacy-based competition. The money will be used for program delivery and to subsidize high school students’ attendance at an annual competition to be held on the Boise State campus.

Cornforth, founder of Community Development, Inc., said he was motivated to make the gift from life-changing experiences he had with a Model UN competition program as a youth in Montana, adding that it will help prepare Idaho students for an increasingly global economy.

“This contribution will help high school students in Idaho, especially in rural areas, experience a broader horizon,” Cornforth said. “We do business internationally here in Idaho, and we live day-to-day more globally connected.”

The gift is made in honor of former Boise State President Bob Kustra and his wife Kathy Kustra, both of whom served on the Frank Church Institute board.

“Bob and Kathy Kustra’s many years of service to Boise State, especially in establishing the School of Public Service and serving on the Frank Church Institute Board, deserve this recognition,” said Board President Skip Oppenheimer.

Boise State School of Public Service Interim Dean Andrew Giacomazzi said he looks forward to hosting Idaho high school students on campus for this “experiential learning opportunity.”

“We are very grateful for this transformational gift,” Giacomazzi said.

Organizers hope to begin the program in late spring, 2022.

Microsoft Corp. has also partnered with the institute to help fund the program. The company works with the UN to identify new projects to advance global multi-stakeholder actions on key technology, environmental, humanitarian, development and security goals, as well as advancing UN sustainable development goals.

Frank Church Institute Executive Director Garry Wenske noted Senator Church’s commitment to the United Nations, where he served as an honorary senate delegate.