Whitefish Community Foundation held its annual Community Grant Awards Celebration on May 18 and presented $383,201 in grants and special awards to 46 nonprofit organizations representing projects and programs in Bigfork, Browning, Columbia Falls, Eureka, Evergreen, Hungry Horse, Kalispell and Whitefish.

In addition to $270,701 in Community Grants and $12,500 in special awards, the foundation presented a $50,000 Major Community Project Grant to Flathead Audubon for the conservation of the Owen-Sowerwine natural area and a $50,000 Kids Fund Grant to Boys & Girls Club of Glacier Country for after-school programming in Evergreen.

The following organizations received a Community Grant:
• 406 for Kids, $5,000 so support families with children undergoing treatment at Logan Health Children’s
• Abbie Shelter, $10,000 for mental health therapy for survivors
• Bigfork ACES, Inc., $8,000 for children’s summer programs
• Bigfork Soccer Club, $6,000 for program equipment
• CF-WF High School Swim Teams, $6,000 for the self-funded Whitefish High School swim team
• City of Whitefish Parks and Recreation, $8,000 for youth scholarships to attend after-school and summer programs
• Code Girls United, $7,500 to remodel the organization’s learning space
• Conrad Mansion Museum, $5,000 to build a garden shed for maintenance and storage
• Creative Arts Council, $5,000 to support the facility director position
• Evergreen School District, $7,500 for the Evergreen Fitness Team after-school and summer program
• Farming for Future Academy, $5,000 for agriculture-based STEAM camps for students with disabilities
• FAST Blackfeet, $7,500 for the Growing Healthy Program, a Food Sovereignty initiative
• Flathead Community Health Center, $4,634 to acquire two vital signs monitors for medical and school-based clinics
• Flathead County Search and Rescue Association, $9,831 to purchase updated field radios
• Flathead Land Trust, $6,000 for the Bigfork “Rec Connect Action Plan”
• Flathead Rivers Alliance, $2,086 for Leave No Trace stations
• Flathead Shelter Friends, $4,000 for a public relations campaign
• Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation, $6,000 to acquire a USSA-approved timing system;
• Gateway to Glacier Trail, $7,500 for signage, bike repair stations, and bike racks between Hungry Horse and West Glacier
• Glacier Nordic Club, $7,500 for a storage trailer for rentals, machinery and tools
• Housing Whitefish, $10,000 for the conceptual design of Alpenglow Phase II
• Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center, $6,000 for live raptor educational programs
• My Glacier Village, $5,000 for programs to empower seniors to age in their own homes
• North Valley Food Bank, $10,000 for a new food distribution truck
• Northwest Montana Community Land Trust, $10,000 for land purchase to deed-restrict two homes for families in Whitefish
• Nurtured Growth Learning Center, $4,000 for scholarships and laptops for neurodivergent students
• Postpartum Resource Group, $7,500 to support the peer group director position
• Project Whitefish Kids, $10,000 for a Toro Groundmaster lawn mower for use at Smith Fields Sports Complex
• Rombi Wrestling Foundation, $6,000 for program equipment for the Columbia Falls High School women’s wrestling team
• Stumptown Art Studio, $5,000 to acquire a new kiln
• The Wave, $6,000 to support free Red Cross swim lessons for local third-grade students
• The University of Montana Foundation – Flathead Lake Biological Station, $5,000 for ecological and water quality monitoring of Flathead Lake
• Whitefish Community Center, $5,000 for an electronic sign-in and activity registration system
• Whitefish Community School, $8,000 for creative pre-school programming
• Whitefish Firefighter’s Association, $5,150 for lithium-ion battery deactivation and fire suppression tools
• Whitefish Freestyle, INC, $5,000 for youth scholarships
• Whitefish High School Baseball, $6,000 to support the inaugural season
• Whitefish Lake Institute, $2,500 for scholarships to attend the 2023 Lakes Conference
• Whitefish Legacy Partners, $7,500 to build a storage shed for tools and supplies
• Whitefish Safe Grad Night, $3,000 for an all-night graduation event at The Wave
• Whitefish School District #44, $10,000 to replace the unsafe stage curtains at the Performing Arts Center
• Writing Coaches of Montana, $6,000 to support writing coaches in grades 4-12 public schools

The foundation presented the following special awards and accompanying grants:

Big Mountain Firefighters Association received the Russ and Mary Jane Street Community Service Award and an accompanying $2,500 grant for the organization’s efforts to purchase equipment and other necessary items for the Big Mountain Fire District.

Code Girls United received the Doris Schumm Community Spirit Award and an accompanying $2,500 grant for the organization’s work to expand the future career opportunities of girls through hands on experiences in coding, technology and business.

Wings Regional Cancer Support received the Jean and Bill Howard Memorial Award and an accompanying $5,000 grant for the organization’s dedication to helping defray out-of-pocket expenses associated with cancer treatment for Northwest Montana residents and their families.

Carol Bibler received the Founders Leadership Award for her exemplary service and leadership to local and regional conservation organizations. Bibler and her husband Jim Watson were instrumental in establishing Foy’s to Blacktail Trails in 2005 and expanding Herron Park in 2007. In addition to serving on the Foy’s to Blacktail Trails board of directors for six years, Bibler has served as a board member for the Montana Land Reliance and for Montana Conservation Corps. A $2,500 grant accompanied the award, which Bibler directed to Flathead Land Trust for the conservation of the Owen-Sowerwine natural area.

The foundation also recognized 15 Flathead Valley residents who have served a local nonprofit organization for 20 years or more. The following people were inducted into the Twenty-Year Club for their long-term commitment to helping ensure the health and sustainability of a nonprofit organization:
• Carol Atkinson – Whitefish Community Foundation
• Collette Box – Discovery Developmental Center
• Heidi Clausen – Whitefish Theatre Co.
• Melanie Drown – Stumptown Art Studio
• Jack Eaton – Whitefish Theatre Co.
• Sue Evans – FVCC Foundation
• Linda Erickson – NW Montana Veterans Food Pantry
• Brett Holmquist – Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center
• Mike Jenson – Whitefish Community Foundation
• Mike Jopek – Whitefish Legacy Partners
• John Kramer – Whitefish Community Foundation
• Betty Jo Malone – Northwest Montana History Museum
• Jesse Malone – Northwest Montana History Museum
• Pam Saunders – Whitefish Theatre Co.
• Chris Vick – Conrad Mansion Museum

Whitefish Community Foundation’s grant programs are supported by the Circle of Giving, a core group of donors who see the value in pooling their resources together for greater impact. Circle members make an annual donation of $5,000 or more to the foundation.

Whitefish Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering philanthropy, building endowments, and helping donors and nonprofits benefit our communities. Since 2000, Whitefish Community Foundation has awarded more than $69 million in cumulative grants to nonprofit organizations.