News & Features

Great Fish Community Challenge Raises Over $2.4 Million

Whitefish Community Foundation releases final report and announces awards

The Whitefish Community Foundation announced earlier this month that its 2018 Great Fish Community Challenge, an annual campaign benefiting local nonprofits, raised more than $2.4 million.

Fifty participating nonprofits raised over $1.9 million, while the foundation awarded $468,931 in matching grants, bringing the total amount to $2,406,810. Thirty-eight nonprofits exceeded $20,000 and received the maximum matching grant of $10,200, and all 50 raised the $5,000 minimum to receive a match.

The campaign eclipsed previous records with 1,653 donations, $600,000 in contributions during the final week, 50 total participating nonprofits and the collective tally of $1,905,479, more than $300,000 greater than last year’s total.

The final report on the challenge noted that 482 donations were accepted on the final day despite an internet outage late that afternoon.

The Whitefish Community Foundation organizes the annual campaign free of charge for participating nonprofits, the cost of which exceeded $150,000 in 2018. The foundation, with help from its sponsors, covers the entire cost to ensure that 100 percent of donations go to the designated charities.

At the fourth annual Great Fish Community Challenge Awards Presentation on Oct. 18, several charities received special recognition. The most prestigious award is the annual Great Fish Award, accompanied by a $5,000 grant, which this year went to the North Valley Music School for “outstanding participation in all areas of the Great Fish Community Challenge for several years in a row.”

“The music school had the second largest number of donors in the campaign and excelled in all areas of community outreach to promote the Challenge,” the foundation’s report stated.

Other award recipients included the North Valley Hospital Foundation with the Russ and Mary Jane Street Community Service Award and $2,500 grant; Flathead Rapids Youth Soccer with the Doris Schumm Community Spirit Award and $2,500 grant; and Whitefish Legacy Partners with the Biggest Catch Award and $2,500 grant for receiving the largest number of donations in the challenge.

The Howard family increased the Jean Howard Memorial Award to $5,000 this year and selected Flathead Cancer Aid Services as the recipient.

The Whitefish Community Foundation has been “helping donors make smart giving decisions and nonprofits become more effective in their work since 2000.” The foundation manages over $28 million in assets, and the first three years of the Great Fish Community Challenge raised over $4.5 million.

For more information about the foundation, fundraising challenge and awards, visit