Great Fish Community Challenge Exceeds 2021 Fundraising Record

Whitefish Community Foundation releases final report showing $4.1 million was raised for nonprofits

By Micah Drew
The sign for the Whitefish Community Foundation. Beacon file photo

The Whitefish Community Foundation (WCF) announced on Tuesday that its Great Fish Community Challenge, an annual campaign benefiting local nonprofits, raised more than $4.1 million. The six-week fundraising event saw $1.5 million donated in the final seven days alone.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of everyone who gave in this year’s Challenge and supported the critical work of our local nonprofits,” Whitefish Community Foundation President Linda Engh-Grady said. “Many of the participating nonprofits have recently experienced a significant increase in demand for their services and are relying on funds raised in the Great Fish Community Challenge to help keep their doors open in the coming year.”

Seventy nonprofits participated in the fundraising event, setting yet another record by raising nearly $500,000 more in the eighth annual fundraiser than in 2021, a 14% increase. This number is a preliminary total since the foundation has yet to award percentage-based matching grants on the first $20,000 raised by each organization. In 2021, the foundation matched a total of $665,739.

The Great Fish Match Fund comes from donors in the community foundation’s Circle of Giving, with additional funds coming from the donations made straight to the Match Fund during the campaign. WCF will release the final amount raised in the challenge and announce the percentage matching grant on Oct. 17 after all campaign gifts have been reconciled.

Of the 70 participating nonprofits, the Abbie Shelter had the most individual donors, with 393, followed by the Nate Chute Foundation and Whitefish Legacy Partners. The North Valley Foodbank raised the highest total amount. All but six nonprofits exceeded the $20,000 maximum matching limit set by the WCF, and 11 had donations in excess of six figures.

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% of donations go to the designated charities.

“The ease of the Great Fish Community Challenge platform 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 program budget,” Engh-Grady said.

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 in seven years the Great Fish Community Challenge has raised over $20 million for 78 charities.

For more information about the foundation, fundraising challenge and awards, visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.

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