Whitefish Community Foundation held its annual Community Grant Awards Presentation on June 7 and gave more than $187,000 in grants and special awards to 44 nonprofit organizations representing projects and programs in Creston, Evergreen, Eureka, Somers, Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish.

The foundation presented $172,458 in Community Grant awards to these 41 organizations:

  • Amazing Place Music, $2,500 for “Artist Chat” programs and master classes with visiting concert artists;
  • Bigfork ACES, $5,000 for a summer education program for underserved children;
  • Bigfork Art and Cultural Center, $4,000 for an exhibit and educational project in collaboration with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes;
  • CASA for Kids, $5,000 for training of court-appointed advocates serving children in need in Lincoln County;
  • Casting for Recovery, $1,350 for local women with Stage IV breast cancer to attend a fly-fishing retreat;
  • CF-WF High School Swim Teams, $3,000 for the self-funded Whitefish High School swim team;
  • Children’s House Montessori School, $3,000 for a community garden and safety upgrades to the playground;
  • City of Whitefish Fire Department, $10,000 for an air boat to conduct rescue operations on frozen water, rivers, marsh and land;
  • City of Whitefish Parks and Recreation, $5,000 for youth scholarships to attend the Stumptown Summer Camp;
  • Code Girls United, $5,000 for a summer camp pilot program in collaboration with Kalispell Parks and Recreation;
  • Columbia Falls Bookmobile, $5,000 for a teacher-led literacy and food security project during the summer in the Columbia Falls School District;
  • Creative Arts Council, $5,000 for repairs to the community building in Eureka and program scholarships;
  • Creston Firefighter’s Association, $10,000 for a battery-operated extrication system;
  • Evergreen School District, $5,000 for the Evergreen Fitness Team serving disadvantaged students during extended school breaks;
  • Flathead County Sheriff’s Posse; $3,823 for trauma kits;
  • Flathead Lakers, $3,000 to develop a “Living in the Flathead” guide;
  • Flathead Rapids Youth Soccer, $4,350 to relocate and secure a storage shed in Columbia Falls;
  • Flathead STEAM Alliance, $3,000 to develop the STEAM Power Your Future program;
  • Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation, $5,000 to improve nighttime lighting on the youth training course;
  • Glacier Hockey Association, $5,000 for youth hockey programs;
  • Glacier Nordic Club, $5,000 to help purchase a snowmobile to groom at Meadow Lake in Columbia Falls;
  • Immanuel Foundation, $3,000 to upgrade common spaces in Immanuel Skilled Care Center;
  • Montana State Parks Foundation, $5,000 for the preservation of the Somers Beach public access point on Flathead Lake;
  • Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center, $2,000 for educational programs and the care of injured birds;
  • Montana Youth Diabetes Alliance, $2,000 for a summer camp for youth with Type 1 diabetes;
  • My Glacier Village, $2,500 for services helping seniors to remain living in their own homes;
  • Nate Chute Foundation, $5,000 to launch the Youth Empowerment Program;
  • North Valley Food Bank, $10,000 for a back-up generator to ensure food safety during power outages;
  • Northwest Montana Lookout Association, $3,175 for meals for volunteers on six restoration projects this summer;
  • Postpartum Resource Group, $2,400 for resources for local mothers in need of postpartum support;
  • Riding on Insulin, $2,000 for a ski and snowboard camp for youth with Type I diabetes;
  • Senior Mobile Home Repair Program, $5,000 for projects assisting seniors in need;
  • Stumptown Art Studio, $2,500 for the second phase of the Baker Street Underpass art project;
  • Tamarack Grief Resource Center, $5,000 for a grief symposium for Flathead Valley counselors and teachers;
  • The Patrol Fund, $3,000 for launching the Whitefish Avalanche Rescue Dogs program at Whitefish Mountain Resort;
  • The Vital Ground Foundation, $2,500 to conserve grizzly habitat in the Grave Creek area;
  • Two Bear Therapeutic Riding Center, $2,360 for sensory trail stations on a therapeutic riding trail;
  • Whitefish Freestyle, $5,000 for financial need-based scholarships for youth;
  • Whitefish Lake Institute, $4,000 for the collection and analysis of sediment core in Whitefish Lake;
  • Whitefish Legacy Partners, $5,000 to launch Outside Kind, a trail etiquette educational project in collaboration with other Flathead Valley trail organizations;
  • Whitefish Safe Grad Night, $3,000 for an all-night graduation event at The Wave.

In addition to Community Grant awards, the foundation presented the following special awards:

Whitefish Shines received the Russ and Mary Jane Street Community Service Award and an accompanying $2,500 grant for the organization’s annual efforts to decorate downtown Whitefish for the holidays and display flower baskets during the summer.

Both Montana State Parks Foundation and Flathead Land Trust received the Doris Schumm Community Spirit Award for their collaborative work to preserve a popular Flathead Lake public access and recreation spot at Somers Beach. Each organization received a $2,500 grant.

Flathead Rivers Alliance received the Jean and Bill Howard Memorial Award and an accompanying $5,000 grant for the organization’s work to preserve the Flathead River system.

Nick Polumbus received the inaugural Whitefish Community Foundation Founders Leadership Award for his dedication of time and expertise to numerous Flathead Valley nonprofit organizations over the past 15 years. Polumbus selected Nate Chute Foundation as the beneficiary of the $2,500 grant that accompanied the award.

The foundation also recognized 11 Flathead Valley residents who have served a local nonprofit organization for 20 years or more. The following people were inducted into the Twenty-Year Club for their long-term commitment to helping ensure the health and sustainability of a nonprofit organization:

  • Don Bauder – Citizens for a Better Flathead
  • Don Bestwick – Project Whitefish Kids
  • Suzanne Daniell – Shepherd’s Hand Free Clinic
  • Jim Hollensteiner – Northwest Montana Historical Society
  • Chris Krager – Samaritan House
  • Jerry Mahugh – DREAM Adaptive Recreation
  • Jon Miller – Shepherd’s Hand Free Clinic
  • Dan Munzing – Shepherd’s Hand Free Clinic
  • Kathy Neff – Shepherd’s Hand Free Clinic
  • Everit Sliter – Conrad Mansion Museum
  • Jennifer Wickland – North Valley Music School

Whitefish Community Foundation’s grant programs are supported by the Circle of Giving, a core group of donors who see the value in pooling their resources together for greater impact. Circle members make an annual donation of $5,000 or more to the foundation.

Whitefish Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering philanthropy, building endowments, and helping donors and nonprofits benefit our communities. Since 2000, Whitefish Community Foundation has awarded more than $52 million in cumulative grants to nonprofit organizations.