Whitefish Community Foundation kicks off the 9th annual Great Fish Community Challenge on Thursday, Aug. 10 with the Great Fish Launch Party at First Interstate Bank in Whitefish. This year’s Great Fish Community Challenge runs Aug. 10 to Sept. 15 and will benefit 78 Flathead Valley nonprofit organizations.

Sponsored by First Interstate Bank, the Launch Party begins at 5:30 p.m. with appetizers, assorted refreshments and the opportunity for donors to win incentive grants for their favorite participating nonprofits. Donors who make a gift of $100 or more at the party to one participating nonprofit will be eligible for a chance to win one of 10 $100 matching grants for that organization. All are welcome to attend this free event.

The Great Fish Community Challenge is a charitable giving campaign hosted by Whitefish Community Foundation to help local nonprofit organizations raise funds for their programs and projects.

Donors can choose to give to multiple organizations with one transaction. Beginning Aug. 10, donations can be made online at whitefishcommunityfoundation.org/great-fish, by check or cash accompanied by the official donation form, or through a gift of stock or distribution from an IRA. At the conclusion of the campaign, Whitefish Community Foundation will award a percentage match on the first $20,000 raised by each participating organization. The match is made possible by Whitefish Community Foundation’s Circle of Giving donors, as well as donors who designate their gift to the Great Fish Match Fund. Last year’s match exceeded $800,000, allowing for a matching grant of $11,800 for each nonprofit that raised at least $20,000 in the Challenge.

“We are thrilled to host eight more nonprofits this year, an 11% increase over 2022,” Whitefish Community Foundation Director of Programs and Outreach Lynnette Donaldson said. “Whitefish Community Foundation strategically grows the campaign year after year, and each nonprofit brings their unique mission to the Challenge. This helps us expand our reach and rally everyone in the Flathead Valley to support these wonderful nonprofits.”

Of the 78 organizations participating in this year’s Challenge, 46 percent are based in Kalispell and Evergreen, 41 percent are based in Whitefish, 10 percent are based in Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse, and 3 percent are based in Bigfork and Creston.

Since 2015, the Great Fish Community Challenge has raised over $22 million for more than 85 local nonprofit organizations. In addition to the percentage match, Whitefish Community Foundation awards thousands of dollars in incentive grants throughout the campaign.