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Local nonprofit devoted to helping sexually abused children gifted $275,000

Business & Money

IDAHO FALLS – A local contractor is on a mission to save children from abusive situations.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Matt Morgan, the founder of Morgan Construction, donated $250,000 to Building Hope Today, a nonprofit he and his wife, Lynne, started six years ago to help children who have been sexually abused.

“I’ve got a very dear friend of mine sitting here that I’ve known for a very long time,” Morgan said of Ball Ventures CEO Cortney Liddiard, who is a board member for Building Hope Today. “I love you, I appreciate you and I’d like you to accept this check and help me steward this money … as we work to protect children.”

“On behalf of the board, I accept this check,” Liddiard said in response. “You never cease to amaze me with your generosity and caring for people. I can’t think of finer individuals and examples than Matt and Lynne Morgan.”

Morgan tells the money will be used specifically to hire an executive director to “transform the nonprofit from its founding to its growth stage.”

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The $250,000 donation is a portion of the proceeds the Morgans received during a recent acquisition of Morgan Construction by ESI Construction. As part of the sale, Morgan will continue to be involved working directly with clients to help them get their projects off the ground.

Lynne said the acquisition of Morgan Construction couldn’t have come at a better time and they’re excited to now be involved full-time in the nonprofit.

“We care deeply about children. We hope to provide a brighter, safer tomorrow for all of our children in our community and throughout the nation,” she said.

During the news conference, Matt said helping children who are victims of abuse is his biggest passion. That passion stems from his own experience. His uncle abused him numerous times as a kid, he says, and he’s struggled throughout his life with recurring nightmares and sleeping problems, depression and even alcoholism.

“I was diagnosed with PTSD (at one point) from trauma (tied to) sexual abuse throughout my childhood,” Morgan says.

Counselors and other professionals helped him work through those issues. His case was later resolved in court in November 2014.

“I was able to reconcile with those (things),” Morgan said. “Through civil courts here in Bonneville County, I got the truth I was looking for and that I needed.”

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He and his wife felt a desire to give back in some way and the formation of the nonprofit happened the following year.

He also announced the creation of a new philanthropic arm of his nonprofit called Builders Building Hope, which partners with construction companies to help in the effort to save children.

“There’s a spiderweb of things that happen (to a child who is abused). They lose their innocence,” he says. “A lot of qualities that make children innocent and perfect break and they’re damaged.”

ESI Cares, a charity arm of ESI Construction, provided a $25,000 donation as an inaugural gift for Builders Building Hope.

“I continue to be humbled at the personal investment of energy and financial investment Matt and Lynne have put forward to helping kids. It’s amazing,” ESI Construction Executive Vice President Joe Jackson said. “We’re honored that they are trusting us with their company, their employees, their reputation and their name as we move forward in the next few years.”

Lynne and Matt Morgan, left, with a $25,000 check presented by Andrea Hovey from ESI Cares and Joe Jackson, Executive VP of ESI Construction. | Rett Nelson,

Jackson will oversee the operation of Morgan Construction going forward. One of its most well-known projects is Jackson Hole Junction, a commercial development on Sunnyside Road in Idaho Falls just off Interstate 15. Some of its tenants include the Holiday Inn and Burger Theory restaurant, which opened in June after several months of construction delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes the Idaho Kidney Institute, which is wrapping up construction.

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Construction was supposed to begin on Showbiz Cinemas, a multiplex theater and entertainment complex, last February. The pandemic put a temporary hold on the project.

Despite months of uncertainty over Jackson Hole Junction’s future, Morgan says there are some new developments coming, which will be announced at a later date.


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