The Great Fish Challenge ended last week, and 40 nonprofit organizations raised more than $1.1 million in donations over about two months.
Linda Engh-Grady, president of the Whitefish Community Foundation, said this year’s fundraising drive was much more successful than last year’s inaugural event, likely because local residents are now more familiar with the process.
During the challenge, nonprofits selected by the foundation raise money through various fundraisers and websites, and then the Whitefish Community Foundation matches a certain percentage of that money, up to $15,000. The matching fund has nearly $249,000; it started at $200,000 but increased due to 103 donations this year.
The matching percentage hasn’t been announced, but it will be on Oct. 10 at the foundation’s award ceremony, Engh-Grady said.
Organizations were also prodded to perform through incentive grants from the foundation, which topped out at $9,000 this year.
Next year’s event will be shorter, Engh-Grady said, running from Aug. 1 into September instead of beginning in July. There were 32 nonprofits involved last year, and 40 this year, Engh-Grady said.
“Each year we’re trying to increase our match percentage. And we will probably increase the size of the challenge,” she said. “(Interested donoros) can give to the match fund, and that’s promoted all year long. There has to be a really strong backbone match for this to work.”