Great Fish Challenge kicks off July 12

Forty local nonprofits are set to reap the rewards of the Great Fish Community Challenge. The second annual giving campaign organized by Whitefish Community Foundation kicks off Tuesday, July 12.

The Challenge begins with a $200,000 match fund to inspire the community to give to the participating nonprofits in order to help them receive a matching grant.

The first year of the Challenge raised $1.1 million for 32 nonprofits and started with a match fund of $150,000. The final match came out to 53 percent and was applied to the first $15,000 raised by each nonprofit. Sixteen of the 32 nonprofits raised more than $15,000 and received the maximum matching grant along with their designated donations.

The results from the first Challenge exceeded all expectations, said Foundation President Linda Engh-Grady.

“We are hoping that now more individuals understand the Challenge and will help us exceed the first year of record giving in the second year,” she added.

The final match percentage will be announced at the awards celebration Oct. 10 at Casey’s in downtown Whitefish.

The match fund is established by the Foundation’s Circle of Giving donors. Additional funds come from Great Fish Challengers who give directly to the fund through the campaign. When donors give to the match they are essentially giving to all 40 participating nonprofits, Engh-Grady explained.

Whitefish Community Foundation organizes the campaign at no cost to the participating nonprofits. Even credit card fees are covered by the Foundation with help from the major sponsor BNSF Railway and the six title sponsors.

Engh-Grady notes that donors can be assured that 100 percent of donations go to the designated nonprofits.

The Community Foundation created the campaign to inspire a giving season and promote awareness about the work local nonprofits do in the community. Many nonprofits have limited staff and resources for fundraising. The campaign provides the resources for them to raise money, Engh-Grady adds.

Whitefish Community Foundation handles the gifts and processes the tax letters for the donors. Donors can give to several charities with just one check or credit card transaction. Gifts of appreciated securities and IRA charitable roll over distributions can used to benefit the charities by working through the Foundation.

Donors can start making gifts on July 12, by sending in an official donor form, which will be available throughout the summer at the Whitefish Community Foundation office, local downtown businesses, Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, and from participating nonprofits. Online donations are accepted at

The website will also feature a leader board updated daily to show how much money the nonprofits have raised and how many donations they have received. Incentive grants will be awarded throughout the campaign based on the number of donors and the amount raised by each nonprofit. Donors are encouraged to donate early to help their favorite nonprofits earn even more money. The campaign will officially end on Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.

For more information about the Whitefish Community Foundation and the Great Fish Community Challenge visit the Foundation website at or call 406-863-1781.

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