A Path of Giving
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Sophie Craighead has spent the majority of her life volunteering, helping others. The sixty-one-year-old recalls always being involved with something, as far back as her teenage years in New Jersey, from the anti-Vietnam War movement, to tutoring inner city black kids in French, to using animals to help rehabilitate criminals in the state prison. The daughter of Charles W. Engelhard Jr., a wealthy minerals industrialist, she says philanthropy is in her blood. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, and a master’s of public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Craighead worked as a special assistant to Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, D-Mont. One day, she packed her bags and moved to Sun Valley, where she met her future husband, Derek, an ecologist. In 1996, they moved to Kelly with their two children, now twenty-one and twenty-two. “I wanted to raise them in a healthy, small community where the outdoors was as much a part of life as anything,” Craighead says. “I didn’t want them growing up in shopping malls.”
Sophie Craighead continues to work on philanthropic causes, having sat on the boards of PAWS, Teton County PAL, Jackson Hole Community School, Beringia South, and the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. One of the volunteer positions most dear to her is the time she spends at the Curran-Seeley Foundation, helping women battle alcohol problems. It’s a struggle close to her heart; Craighead has been in recovery for twenty-eight years.