Opening Doors Event Raises More Than $218K

Published: October 14, 2022

After two years of completely virtual events, College of Western Idaho (CWI) Foundation’s Opening Doors Benefit Event was back in-person and saw very generous support from the entire CWI community! The ninth-annual Opening Doors Benefit Event and online auction, Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, raised more than $218,000* for student scholarships.

The event, hosted Oct. 5 at the Galaxy Event Center in Meridian, featured former CWI Foundation Board President, Ivan Castillo, as emcee. Guests heard remarks from current CWI Foundation Board President, Mike Peña, and CWI President, Gordon Jones, as well as special video messages from CWI Board of Trustee Chair, Molly Lenty, and Idaho Governor Brad Little.

Joining the event were a number of current students and scholarship recipients representing a wide range of major areas as well as Law Enforcement Program Spring 2019 graduate, Seferino Tapia. Tapia was a highlight of the night as he was recently recognized and awarded the Idaho Medal of Honor for his heroic acts during a hostage situation as part of the Caldwell Police Department.

“Seferino certainly had character and a willingness to serve and sacrifice for the community before he came to our program,” said Law Enforcement Program Director, LeRoy Forsman. “CWI provided the training, education, and practical skills that gave him an opportunity to go to work and impact his community immediately.  We are proud of his accomplishments.”

Guests at the in-person event enjoyed dinner, drinks, and dessert as well as the chance to participate in a silent, and live auction, the latter of which was conducted by auctioneer, Kevin Seward.

This year’s auction saw one-of-a-kind metal art created by CWI students, wall art created by a CWI graduate, experience packages donated by community members, tickets to sporting events around the region, and more.

To close out this year’s in-person event, Castillo invited guests to participate in a paddle raise, where supporters of CWI pledged various amounts of money to donate to the CWI Foundation. The activity saw pledges as high as $5,000.

Money Raised for CWI Foundation

In-Person Benefit Event Auction and Donations

Wednesday, Oct. 5

Total: $83,440*

Online Auctions and Donations

Sept. 28 – Oct. 9

Total: $8,916*


Total: $125,834*

Grand Total Raised: $218,190*

*The numbers are an early estimate before finalized expenses. 

“Opening Doors is a premier, scholarship fundraising event bringing together community leaders, students, and members of the CWI family,” said CWI Foundation Director and Chairman of the 2022 Opening Doors Benefit Event, Kevin Rigenhagen. “The sole objective is to raise scholarship funds for deserving students who are looking to further their personal growth through education, knowledge, and skill development.”

It is never too late to give the gift of education. Visit the CWI Foundation online to learn more and donate today.

Contact the Foundation at 208.562.3100 or for more information and ways to get involved.

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