Whitefish Community Foundation recently accepted a grant for $10,000 from BNSF Railway Foundation to support the organization of the Great Fish Community Challenge. This is the fourth year in a row that BNSF Railway Foundation has provided funding for the Challenge. “The cost to put on the Challenge has grown to over $255,000 today,” said Linda Engh-Grady, President of Whitefish Community Foundation. “We calculate the cost to be $5,000 per nonprofit in the Challenge,” she said.

The Challenge started in 2015 and initially had 32 participating nonprofits. Each year the number of nonprofits has increased and this year it will feature 53 local charities. Whitefish Community Foundation covers all the costs of the Challenge with the help of business sponsors, to keep it free for participating charities. Costs include marketing, printing, advertising, and gift administration. The Foundation recently went through a software conversion to help manage the growing campaign. “We want to see the number of gifts double if not triple in the campaign but we need to be prepared for this,” said Engh-Grady. “Changing software was time consuming and costly but we expect it to pay off in the end by making it efficient to track and process gifts.”

BNSF Railway Foundation is the title sponsor of the 2019 Challenge. Additional support comes from the Iron Horse Foundation, Glacier Bank, First Interstate Bank, Park Side Credit Union, JCCS, Big Sky IV Care, and Underscore Art Gallery. The Great Fish Community Challenge will run through September 13. For more information, visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.