Whitefish Community Foundation recently awarded a $90,000 multi-year Kids Fund grant to Bigfork ACES to support the creation of an afterschool program for middle school students.

Bigfork ACES is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing safe, educational afterschool and summer programs for Bigfork-area children and teens, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.

Whitefish Community Foundation’s Kids Fund Grant will be used to establish an afterschool program specifically for students in grades six through eight. The program will engage participants in activities that focus on community service learning, addressing each child’s scholastic needs, connecting with adult mentors, and building valuable career and life skills. Bigfork ACES will work with the Bigfork School District to identify middle school students who would especially benefit from the program, including those from low-income, single-parent, and foster families.

“As kids age out of our elementary school program, we want to continue providing enrichment opportunities for them,” Bigfork ACES Executive Director Cathy Hay said. “This grant will make a huge impact on our community and provide many students with a safe place to go after school.”

The Kids Fund was created in 2019 to support programs in the areas of health, safety and education that mitigate challenges and prevent local youth from becoming homeless. To date, Whitefish Community Foundation has awarded more than $585,000 in Kids Fund grants to Flathead Valley nonprofit organizations, including Flathead Youth Home, CASA for Kids, Child Bridge, Boys & Girls Club of Glacier Country, Center for Restorative Youth Justice, and Nate Chute Foundation.

“Our Kids Fund remains committed to supporting and empowering youth throughout the greater Flathead Valley,” Whitefish Community Foundation President/CEO Alan Davis said. “Bigfork ACES serves kids from Creston all the way down to Swan Lake. We feel privileged to help Bigfork ACES address the growing need for afterschool programs in their rural service area.”