Litehouse tourney aids education

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(File photo by MARY MALONE) Panhandle Alliance for Education awarded more than $109,000 to 41 educators Thursday during the Teacher Grant Awards reception at the Heartwood Center in Sandpoint in May.

SANDPOINT — When it comes to supporting education in the community, Litehouse, Inc., hit a hole in one when it hosted its third annual Charity Golf Classic at the Coeur d’Alene Resort last Thursday.

The employee-owned company coordinated the participation of 31 tournament teams, made up of donating partners and vendors from across the country, 13 Sandpoint businesses and Litehouse employees. All proceeds from the Litehouse Charity Golf Classic are donated to Panhandle Alliance for Education, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting excellence in education and community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

The founders of Litehouse began with roots as teachers, and from there, education has been a core value of the Litehouse culture, according to a joint statement from Litehouse and PAFE officials. As a Sandpoint business, Litehouse has made it a priority to continually invest in local education through PAFE over the last 15 years.

"Education is a cause that directly improves the lives of individuals as well as creates a better place to live in our own community," said Jim Frank, Litehouse President & CEO and proud tournament participant, in the statement. "It is a cause that our entire employee owned company embraces and we’re thrilled to announce the turn out for this year’s event was the best yet. Hosting this annual tournament is important to us because we know the money raised is directly reinvested into the Lake Pend Oreille School District."

Other local participants in the tournament included: Lewis and Hawn Excellence in Dentistry, Mountain West Bank, Realm Partners Real Estate, Montana Seals and Packings, Summit Advisor Solutions, Flowmark, Sandpoint Title Insurance, Trinity at City Beach, Gibson Wealth Strategy Group, Regence Blue Shield of Idaho, Farm Bureau Insurance, Litehouse Printing, and Slaughter Wholesale Lumber. All of these local businesses place an importance on supporting local education which is part of what makes this event more successful every year, the statement said.

"When you look at how complicated local and world issues have become, my wife Tracy and I believe the area we can make the most difference is in the education of our youth," said Tom Gibson of Gibson Wealth Strategy Group, who supports the event each year. "Education is the key. It’s an easy decision."

"This enthusiastic support from our business leaders speaks volumes about their desire for quality education in our community," added Marcia Wilson, executive director of PAFE. "The funds raised through the Litehouse Charity Golf Tournament go directly into our classrooms through a competitive teacher grants program. We are grateful for this generous support and the difference it makes for our students and employers."

The Panhandle Alliance for Education is a nonprofit organization composed of local citizens, businesses, and educators. The mission is to promote excellence in education and broad-based community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Donations are distributed as a working pool of money used to fund classroom teacher grants, as well as READY! For Kindergarten, an early childhood literacy education program for parents of children from birth to age five, a district-wide writing program, and other strategic programs. For information or to participate in the recurring giving program, visit

Litehouse began as a family-owned restaurant more than 50 years ago in Hope. The company became famous for its bleu cheese dressing and, as a result, has become the leader in refrigerated salad dressings, sauces, veggie and fruit dips, caramel dip, instantly fresh herbs, cheese, apple cider and more.

Litehouse has been an employee-owned company since 2006, and each one of the employee/owners is proud to carry on the high standards of quality and innovation, living up to the slogan, "Because Taste Matters." 

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