More Idaho students will benefit from a state scholarship program this year than ever before, thanks to philanthropists romping at The Coeur d'Alene Resort this week.
The 2012 Idaho Governor's Cup, a three-day event wrapping up today, had already set an all-time fundraising record on Thursday at $925,000.
The amount blew past the last record of $893,000, set two years ago, the last time the 38-year-old event was held in Coeur d'Alene.
"It's fabulous," said Katie Hammon, executive director of the Governor's Cup. "This means we can probably give more scholarships than ever before. I think it's amazing."
The raised amount was about the same on Friday, Hammon said.
Most of the hefty amount has been generated by sponsorships, she added, which range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.
"We're pretty impressed. A lot is because we've had an increase in higher level sponsors," Hammon said.
Big North Idaho donors include Hecla Mining Company and Potlatch, which each contributed $25,000.
Hammon noted that the last Governor's Cup record was a slightly skewed number, because that year's event included the auctioning off of a $30,000 car.
"We didn't know if we'd get past that number this year, but we've blown past it," she said.
The Idaho Governor's Cup Scholarship provides about 25 awards each year to Idaho high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional community service and plan on attending college in-state.
Gov. Butch Otter lauded the level of support at the event.
"The Coeur d'Alene Resort and folks all over North Idaho are great hosts," Otter stated on Friday. "We couldn't ask for a better event or a better cause to support than giving Idaho students a shot at a brighter future."
This year's fundraiser has included a golf tournament, shotgun sports, fly fishing and champagne tasting, each of which participants could enjoy at a set price.
Jerry Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality, noted that the Governor's Cup location was moved up to North Idaho for the first time just a few years ago, the result of Otter's initiative.
"I think it has added some new enthusiasm for the entire project," Jaeger said of alternating the event location between Sun Valley and Coeur d'Alene. "It's really great for the entire state of Idaho, because a lot of people who don't have the opportunity to go to North Idaho have the opportunity to be exposed to our beautiful part of the state."
Hammon agreed the new location has helped attract donations from more North Idaho entities.
Holding the fundraiser at The Coeur d'Alene Resort has also added a fresh take on the event, she added, with activities like hiking on Tubbs Hill and cooking lessons at Beverly's.
"Some people have been coming for 20 years. It's great for them to have a new venue," she said.
The Governor's Cup was established by former Gov. Cecil Andrus.
Hammon predicted the final fundraiser count might be a little higher, as last-minute donations are typical.
"It will probably end up being more," she said.