Saturday, June 10, 2023

Support our local nonprofits

by Linda Engh-Grady
| September 11, 2022 12:00 AM

The Great Fish Community Challenge has been a game changer for Flathead Valley nonprofits, many of whom rely on funds raised in the Challenge to cover a significant portion, if not all, of their annual operating budget. Whitefish Community Foundation started the Great Fish Community Challenge in 2015 to raise awareness about the critical work of local nonprofits and inspire communities to give. This year’s eighth annual Challenge ends Friday, and with six days left to give, we need your participation to surpass $4 million for 70 local charities.

The Challenge encompasses the entire Flathead Valley. The nonprofits raising funds in this year’s Challenge are located in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Creston, Evergreen, Hungry Horse, Kalispell and Whitefish. Nearly 80 percent of these nonprofits serve the entire valley. They are feeding people, sheltering homeless families and individuals, supporting public schools, preserving water quality and open spaces, tackling affordable housing, providing emergency services, building trails and so much more!

Whitefish Community Foundation organizes the Challenge at zero cost for participating organizations. Time, money and other resources that nonprofits used to spend organizing fundraising events have been liberated for the programs and projects central to their missions. There are no auctions or events for them to organize, no raffle tickets to sell, no insurance to purchase, and no risk incurred if an event is poorly attended or rained out. The Challenge goes on no matter what, and in the end each nonprofit receives all of the funds designated to them plus a generous percentage matching gift from Whitefish Community Foundation.

Many of the nonprofits in the Challenge have experienced a significant increase in demand for their services this year. These organizations are relying on funds raised in the Great Fish Community Challenge to help keep their doors open in the coming year. We can’t let them down.

The Flathead is an incredible place to live, with more than 100,000 people residing here. If even half of the people who call the Flathead home donated through the Challenge, the impact on our local nonprofits’ programs and services would be phenomenal.

The Challenge is a win-win for our communities. All we need is your participation. Everyone can be a donor, and there is no gift too small or too large. Supporting Flathead Valley nonprofits through the Great Fish Community Challenge is easy, and there are several ways to give. You can donate online at or drop by our office at 214 Second Street West in Whitefish to make a gift in-person. Or feel free to call us at (406) 863-1781 to make your gift over the phone. We can accept donations until 5 p.m. this Friday.

Let’s be there for our local nonprofits so they can continue to be there for our neighbors in need. We are all in this together. Thank you for giving and making good things happen in our communities!

Linda Engh-Grady is President/CEO of the Whitefish Community Foundation.

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