Idaho universities commit to an annual donation campaign in Fred Cornforth’s honor

Courtesy of the Idaho Democratic Party

Boise State’s food pantry benefactor, Fred Cornforth, has secured the future of the Boise State food pantry. Cornforth is the founder of the nonprofit Community Development Inc. (CDI) Group of Companies. The CDI’s Group of Companies Food Pantry Fund has given generously to Boise State University, University of Idaho and Idaho State University’s campus food pantries. 

Together the student government bodies of Boise State, University of Idaho and Idaho State University crafted a joint resolution to express their gratitude towards Cornforth and his family in honor of his work to increase resources and fight food insecurity in the state for college students. It was presented to Cornforth this month after he announced he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, which is terminal. 

The joint resolution proposed an annual “Cornforth Challenge” where the public can donate to campus food pantries. Boise State recently wrapped up its first Cornforth Challenge that started on Dec. 11 and concluded Dec. 20, Cornforth’s birthday. A total of 144 supporters donated $13,170 dollars to Boise State’s campus food pantry, reaching 57.6% of their fundraising goal of 250 donations.

“His big goal is sustainability. He wants to set us up to have long term success and be here forever to help students,” Michelle Cain, Manager of Student Basic Needs Resources, told The Arbiter in an interview. 

Cain works in the Dean of Students Office and oversees the food pantry, student emergency fund, emergency housing program, meal assistance and one-on-one cases for assisting students with meeting their needs. 

“He (Fred Cornforth) got connected to us as somebody who experienced food insecurity as a college student himself … and he has just really prioritized his philanthropic work around really just helping others succeed,” Cain said. “He has committed to funding a food budget and a hygiene budget … for 10 years.”

As an Idaho native and alum from Idaho State University, Walla Walla University and Andrews University, Cornforth knows what the college experience is like and seeks to give back to struggling college students. He supported the Model United Nations for high school students in the Frank Church Institute and the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge Competition at Boise State, as well as the fund for the food pantry. 

“This is a resource for everyone,” Cain said. 

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