Thank you donors for making the 2017 Great Fish Community Challenge a tremendous success in the third annual campaign! In just three years, the Great Fish Community Challenge has raised over $4.5M for more than 45 charities.




Whitefish Community Foundation’s Great Fish Campaign awards over $2 Million

On October 12th, the Whitefish Community Foundation distributed over $2 million to 45 participating nonprofits in the third annual Great Fish Community Challenge! The fundraiser that began on July 20th raised a final total of $2,025,834 once the Community Foundation added the Match.

The Challenge received 3,939 contributions totaling $1,602,874. Whitefish Community Foundation calculated the final percentage match at 48%. The match was applied to the  first $20,000 raised by each nonprofit for a total match of $407,460. Nonprofits that met or exceeded $20,000 received a matching grant of $9,600 from the Community Foundation. For many of the nonprofits this was almost 50% more than they raised.

Nearly all the participating nonprofits exceeded $20,000 or more and received the maximum matching grant of $9,600. Grants were presented to the nonprofits at the Great Fish Awards Event on October 12th at Casey’s in downtown Whitefish.

Special awards were announced at the October 12th event including the annual Great Fish Award, presented to WAG-Whitefish Animal Group for exhibiting outstanding participation in all areas of the challenge. WAG received an additional $5,000 grant with this award. A $1,000 grant was presented to Abbie Shelter, the nonprofit winner of the Jingle Contest, for the most creative jingle representing the true spirit of the Great Fish Community Challenge.

“The community continues to amaze me in its generosity,” said Foundation President Linda Engh-Grady. “The Foundation had an internal goal of reaching $2M this year and the community and nonprofits did it. We were very pleased to be able to keep the Match as high as 48% with more charities in the Challenge and raising the maximum matched to $20,000,” Engh-Grady said.

Throughout the Challenge, the Community Foundation offered incentive grants to participating nonprofits totaling over $15,500. The bonus grants helped to increase the urgency of donors to give to participating nonprofits and in many cases encouraged donors to give again.

The total amount raised by the nonprofits surpasses the 2016 total by more than $430,000 and for a third year in a row, the Challenge has set a new high.

Whitefish Community Foundation organizes the annual campaign free of charge for participating nonprofits. The cost of the 2017 campaign exceeded $100,000.  The Community Foundation with help from its sponsors covers the cost to ensure that 100% of all donations go to the designated charities.

“In our third year, the Great Fish Challenge is up over 28% from last year with 45 charitable organizations participating,” said Board Chair Ken Wessels. “Total giving in just three years of the Challenge exceeds $4,500,000. We look forward to continuing our work to help more local nonprofits with a successful 2018 Great Fish event,” Wessels said.