Whitefish Community Foundation recently awarded a $120,000 grant to the Northwest Montana Community Land Trust (NWMTCLT) for the acquisition of four affordable homes in Whitefish.

NWMTCLT is a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing affordable homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families in the Flathead Valley and Northwest Montana. Under the land trust model, the land underneath the home is separated from the value of the home. The land is owned by NWMTCLT in perpetuity, thereby reducing the purchase price for current and future homebuyers.

“It’s a one-time investment in permanent affordability,” NWMTCLT Executive Director Kim Morisaki said.

Earlier this year, NWMTCLT began working to raise $280,000 to acquire the land beneath four homes in Whitefish’s Trailview neighborhood. With the deadline to secure the funds rapidly approaching, NWMTCLT was facing a $120,000 shortfall.

In response, a local family issued a matching challenge to other members of Whitefish Community Foundation’s Circle of Giving to help raise the remaining funds needed. A $25,000 Major Community Project Grant from Whitefish Community Foundation brought the total raised to $120,000, closing the funding gap and allowing NWMTCLT to move forward with purchasing the land.

“We were astounded to learn about the grant and speechless when we found out the amount,” Morisaki said. “I am so incredibly thankful for the hard work of the foundation to invest in housing initiatives in our valley.”

Whitefish Community Foundation’s Major Community Project Grant program is dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations complete capital projects that will have a significant and positive effect on communities in the Flathead Valley. The program was formed in 2010 and has awarded $869,000 to projects identified and selected by the foundation’s board of directors.

“Housing is a critical issue in the Flathead right now, and we are all lucky to have organizations like the Northwest Montana Community Land Trust working hard to develop creative solutions,” Whitefish Community Foundation President/CEO Alan Davis said. “On behalf of our generous donors, we are pleased to support permanent housing for hardworking, local families.”

Funding for the Major Community Project Grant program comes from the Circle of Giving, Whitefish Community Foundation’s core group of donors who give $5,000 or more annually to support the grant programs and mission of the foundation.