Whitefish Community Foundation recently awarded a $30,000 Kids Fund Grant to the Nate Chute Foundation to support peer-to-peer mental health and suicide prevention training in local public schools.

Nate Chute Foundation is dedicated to promoting mental wellness and reducing suicide by offering evidence-based training and education to area schools, organizations and communities to help build resiliency and identify and intervene with suicidal behavior. The organization also aims to increase access to mental health support by providing financial assistance for professional counseling to those struggling with mental health challenges.

Whitefish Community Foundation’s Kids Fund Grant will be used to connect and educate high school students who are participating in established clubs to support their peers in times of crisis. Nate Chute Foundation is uniquely poised to provide this consortium of students with evidence-based resources and skills to increase resiliency, foster mental health and advocate for suicide prevention. This program will be initiated in conjunction with an expansion of middle school classroom programs, providing teens with opportunities to learn together and be better equipped to help each other as they move into high school.

“It’s natural for adolescents to turn to each other in times of stress or crisis. This new approach will help to ensure that these kids have the tools, education and support they need to safely support each other and to know when to get an adult involved,” Nate Chute Foundation outgoing Executive Director Kacy Howard said. “By highlighting the youth voice in these new programs, we look forward to helping cultivate a generation of empowered youth advocates for mental wellness and suicide prevention.”

The Kids Fund was created in 2019 to support programs in the areas of health, safety and education that mitigate challenges and prevent local youth from becoming homeless. To date, Whitefish Community Foundation has awarded more than $495,000 in Kids Fund grants to Flathead Valley nonprofit organizations, including Flathead Youth Home, CASA for Kids, Child Bridge, Boys & Girls Club of Glacier Country and Center for Restorative Youth Justice.

“Schools are often ground-zero for mental health crises, and we feel privileged to help the Nate Chute Foundation expand their school-based programs to support kids where they need it most,” Whitefish Community Foundation President/CEO Alan Davis said. “This first-year of funding is made possible by generous donors to the Kids Fund, and we look forward to working with Nate Chute Foundation to determine the program’s financial needs in years two and three.”