Family’s museum legacy grows

Jack and Helen Yuditsky were all smiles Thursday in front of the J.C. White House along McEuen Park. The Yuditskys donated $100,000 to the Museum of North Idaho to help convert the historic house, the museum’s future home. Helen is holding a photograph of her father, Carl Krueger, who served on the board, helped catalogue artifacts from the old North Idaho Historical Society and volunteered at the museum until he passed away in 1985.

Staff Writer | July 17, 2020 1:08 AM

Yuditskys donate $100,000

The sun was shining down along McEuen Park Thursday afternoon as Dorothy Dahlgren admired the width and breadth of the J.C. White House a few feet from where she stood.

“This is a very special day,” the director of the Museum of North Idaho admitted.

Thursday was special for the museum staff and board because of Jack and Helen Yuditsky. Helen is the daughter of Carl Krueger who served on the board, helped catalogue artifacts from the old North Idaho Historical Society and volunteered at the museum until he passed away in 1985. On Thursday, the Yuditskys donated $100,000 to the Moving History Forward project, which aims to help transform the J.C. White House into the future location of the Museum of North Idaho.

“This is a very special contribution coming from the Carl Krueger family,” Dahlgren continued. “It will help to allow his dream to continue on. He always wanted to have a place where people could learn about our wonderful history here, and that our artifacts and stories would be preserved for future generations. To have the Yuditskys make this wonderful donation now is just perfect.”

Jocelyn Whitfield-Babcock, development director for the museum and one of the driving forces in the fundraising campaign, said the Yuditskys’ support follows in more than just Carl’s footsteps.

“I’m so tickled that Helen has remained such a strong supporter of the museum,” Babcock said. “Both her parents worked so hard to make this museum what it is. A lot of people know about Carl, but in the background, Helen’s mom played such a big role, too.”

The Yuditsky donation represents one-sixth of the project’s initial goal of reaching $600,000 by the end of 2020. To date, donations have eclipsed $200,000. Overall, the nonprofit hopes to raise $4 million to renovate and add onto the J.C. White House.

“We currently have a capital campaign cabinet that is working on additional gifts,” said Julie Gibbs, vice president of the museum board. “We have a number of supporters we’re working with to talk to about our plans for the new museum, as well as some company sponsors. Our plans are to continue to share our successes and tell people what’s happening at the museum and share the potential. I think we have some tremendous work underway to make this a premiere museum.”

Babcock added that fundraising in the age of the coronavirus requires innovative thinking.

“Giving is actually up right now,” she explained, “but the way people give is kind of how you pivot. Nonprofits have been given shares of stock, so they can either sell those shares or hold onto them, as their value tends to go up in uncertain times. We’re looking at things like planned giving and endowments and percentages of life insurance. Sometimes people give real property. Nonprofits get these interesting donations during times like these.”

The Yuditskys said they were happy to give back, preserve a legacy and help the future of the museum.

“I’m excited for the museum to grow,” Jack said. “I think, down here by Tubbs Hill and the park, it’ll get a lot of visibility.”

“I think moving the house down here was a great idea,” Helen added, a photograph of her father in her hands. “The location for parking, right downtown: It’s perfect.”

Helen clutched the photograph a little tighter as she looked at the museum.

“My mom and dad helped start the museum,” she said. “This just seemed like the perfect time to honor them.”