Whitefish Community Foundation recently received $300,000 for the Kids Fund – Giving Voice to Children, a grant program established in 2020 to address the needs of local children suffering from homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. The Foundation received two new gifts totaling $150,000 and the Lesar Foundation matched these gifts for a total of $300,000 in additional funding.
Early in 2020, Sherry and Dave Lesar put forward a challenge from the Lesar Foundation to raise funding to create impactful programs for homeless and at-risk children. The challenge was an attempt to bring more attention to the serious problem and hopefully, some sustainable outcomes. The Kids Fund focuses on three main areas of need: safety, education, and health.
“With the economy slipping into recession and high inflation impacting everything from food to shelter, it is now more critical than ever to provide help to children in need,” Sherry Lesar said.
Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded $316,000 in grants to several local nonprofit organizations.
CASA for Kids received $120,000 over three years to support a new program called FOCUS, aimed at helping children prepare to age out of the foster care system.
Boys and Girls Club of Glacier Country (BGCGC) received $130,000 over the past two years to help open a Boys and Girls Club in the Evergreen community. BGCGC will receive another $20,000 grant next year to continue to fund the Evergreen location.
Three smaller grants of $10,000 each were awarded to Child Bridge, Flathead Youth Home, and Land to Hand to assist with capital projects that would further their programs helping homeless youth. Flathead Youth Home also received a $36,146 grant to hire a youth advocate that would continue to assist youth who have moved on from the youth shelter.
Whitefish Community Foundation is pleased with the outcome of the Kids Fund program to date but points out that there is still much more that needs to be done to address the problem of child homelessness in the Flathead Valley. Foundation leaders hope that nonprofits will see what has been accomplished through the Kids Fund and bring forward new initiatives for grant consideration.
For more information about the Kids Fund or to make a gift, visit whitefishcommunityfoundation.org/the-kids-fund/