Whitefish Community Foundation has activated a Community Emergency Response Fund to provide flexible resources to nonprofits helping those directly impacted by COVID-19.

The Community Foundation has committed an initial $150,000 to fund this program and it is being joined by generous community-minded donors to help fund urgent needs. Funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs. Nonprofits are encouraged to submit a brief application at

Whitefish Community Foundation will rapidly deploy grants from this program, so nonprofits can focus on providing vital assistance to families and preparing front line services to diminish the impact of COVID-19 in Whitefish and the surrounding communities.


General questions and grant inquiries may be directed to Lynnette Donaldson,

Interested donors and partners, please contact Linda Engh-Grady,

Whitefish Community Foundation is open and our staff is available to answer your questions.
Please call (406) 863-1781

Please make a donation to the Community Emergency
Response Fund

P.O. Box 1060
214 Second Street West
Whitefish, MT 59937

Supporting Our Community

“Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program” was started as an idea of Chef Andy Blanton from Café Kandahar, and has grown to serve over 5,515 meals to-date, supporting people in need and our local restaurants during the community closure. Local food banks are administering the program and providing weekly distribution of prepared meals to individuals and families in need. The program has 9 participating restaurants in Whitefish and 4 restaurants in Columbia Falls. The Emergency Response Fund has awarded $30,000 to North Valley Food Bank and $5,000 to Columbia Falls Food Bank to support this program.

Current Grant Distributions

as of May 21, 2020: Total emergency funding $215,900

$20,000 To Flathead Food Bank and North Valley Food Bank to bring in a semi load of non-perishable food
$10,000 To Flathead Food Bank to provide more resources for the Backpack Food Distributions
$15,000 To Flathead Food Bank to fund increased distribution demands
$10,000 To North Valley Food Bank to fund the “Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program”
$10,000 To North Valley Food Bank for additional funds to the “Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program”
$10,000 To North Valley Food Bank to continue the “Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program”
$5,000 To Columbia Fall Food Bank to fund the “Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program”
$2,000 To Columbia Falls Food Bank to purchase hamburger and bread for distribution
$5,000 To Whitefish Community Center to support increased demands for Meals on Wheels
$10,000 To Abbie Shelter -Violence Free Crisis Line to support increased capacity and staffing
$10,000 To Farm Hands/Nourish the Flathead to increase food bag distribution in Columbia Falls School District
$10,000 To Farm Hands/Nourish the Flathead to support increased demand of the weekly food bag distribution in Columbia Falls School District now at 750
$10,000 To Whitefish Housing Authority to start an Emergency Rental Assistance Program providing rental assistance up to $300 to workers recently laid off
$10,000 To Whitefish Housing Authority to continue the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide rental assistance of up to $300 to workers
$7,500 To Flathead Youth Homes to support 24/7 youth home staffing and protecting children
$7,500 To Sparrow’s Nest of NW Montana to support increased staffing due to 24/7 staffing requirement
$10,000 To Samaritan House to support the creation of an Emergency Homeless Shelter
$2,500 To Samaritan House to purchase two additional washing stations
$2,500 To Warming Center to purchase tents and sleeping bags for homeless residents being turned out due to shelter closing
$1,000 To Shepherd’s Hand Free Clinic to set up Project HELLO! for COVID -19 response
$1,250 To Big Brothers Big Sisters to organize activities and learning for Littles now homebound
$20,000 To North Valley Hospital Foundation to purchase a GenMark Lab Instrument for COVID test analysis
$7,000 To Backpack Assistance Program from Summer Snack Program
$20,000 To Samaritan House to expand the capacity of the shelter and to accommodate social distancing
$14,000 To the WAVE to assist with COVID-19 Adaption


I’m an individual who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this Fund help me?
We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the outbreak and more will continue to be affected. Whitefish Community Foundation is working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting local residents and families affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts.

While the Fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, we will be funding community-based organizations that have experience and history of providing people and families with services and support.

If you are looking for information because you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please visit the Center for Disease Control at, Flathead City-County Health Department at or Kalispell Regional Healthcare at

My organization is interested in resources from this Fund. Can we be considered?
Funding will be limited to nonprofit organizations working to ensure food access and to assist nonprofits working on the front lines and dealing with critical needs affecting your stakeholders.  If you have questions about funding please do not hesitate to contact us.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?
To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The Emergency Response Fund was created to pool resources and aid as many residents as possible.

Is there a fee to contribute?
With a focus on getting resources out to the community in this critical time, there is no administrative fee for participating in the Fund. 100% of donations will go to nonprofits on the ground, except for a credit card fee for online donations of 2.2% to 3.5% depending on the type of card used by the donor. Whitefish Community Foundation is covering the staffing cost to lead this effort.

Should I give to this Fund instead of making other donations?
This Fund was not created to be the only vehicle resourcing critical community activities during this outbreak. Rather it is working to facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community where it’s needed most. If the COVID-19 Response Fund priorities align with your values, please consider making a donation. However, this is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those who’ve had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community as we have a greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long-term ramifications of the outbreak.

What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?
We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing organizations working in the areas of improving food access and we have allocated funds to assist with Whitefish Housing Authority’s Rental Assistance Fund. Funding is also targeted at emerging urgent needs to combat COVID-19 and its ramifications on local nonprofits.  In this first round, we are not able to prioritize organizations who have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. We recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts continue to unfold, we will continue to fundraise and evolve our funding strategies.

Based upon the charitable structure of the COVID-19 Community Emergency Response Fund, our grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) organizations.

Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?
The COVID-19  Community Emergency Response Fund will prioritize community-based organizations offering food access in Flathead County and additional emerging needs as they arise.

When will you share who you fund?
Grant review is ongoing and grants are being deployed as quickly as possible. A running list can be found further up on this page, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.

How will the Fund shift gears if needed?
The Fund priorities may evolve as our region adapts to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to prioritize the support of our most vulnerable community members and plan to support local nonprofit organizations as this emergency develops. Crisis philanthropy recognizes the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience.

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