Photo courtesy: Brian Schott

Watch the KPAX News story for a peak at the new Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.


On Friday, October 27th, the Whitefish Community Foundation awarded a Major Community Project Grant of $25,000 to the Whitefish School District Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship. The state of the art center will provide applied learning experiences for K-12 students in energy, agriculture, forestry, natural resources, and entrepreneurship.

“The Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship is an incredible grass roots project, conceived by the students in the class of 2016, to build a greenhouse. With further development, and a team of very dedicated teachers and donors behind the project, it has blossomed into a cutting edge program that will redefine the student classroom experience in Whitefish for the entire school system”, said Whitefish Community Foundation President, Linda Engh-Grady.

As previously stated, the CSE started with the vision of ambitious students and was supported by Free Flow Club leader’s science teacher, Eric Sawtelle and English teacher, Nikki Reed. The idea evolved from an existing “Farm to School” garden and the need for a greenhouse. The Whitefish Lions Club, in collaboration with school district Food Services Director, Jay Stagg, established the garden to teach students how to grow food to serve in the school cafeteria. Free Flow Club students worked with local philanthropist Richard Atkinson through the “Older Man Walking” campaign to raise the initial $70,000 in funding.

Whitefish School District Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt explains “We are incredibly grateful for this unique situation where members of the community saw a need to partner with the school district to expand experiential education, providing this amazing opportunity through philanthropy. Because of their generous support, the efforts of students to build a greenhouse has grown into the state’s first net zero facility, including classrooms, laboratories, a greenhouse, energy systems, production gardens, orchards, and an experimental forest. We cannot thank the Whitefish Community Foundation enough for the $25,000 major community grant in addition to the many generous philanthropists who have made a dream turn into reality in front of our eyes.”

Learn more about WCF Major Project Grants and other granting opportunities HERE.


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