Great Fish Community Challenge Finalizes Record Fundraising Total

Seventy-seven nonprofits raised $1.1 million more than last year, with a record amount of matching donations

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

The Whitefish Community Foundation (WCF) announced on Wednesday that it awarded more than $6.2 million to 77 local nonprofit organizations, the culmination of the record breaking annual Great Fish Community Challenge. The five-week fundraising event brought in nearly $1 million more in donations than last year, with more than $1.7 million donated in the final seven days alone.

“We are amazed by our donors and inspired by our local nonprofits. The spirit of the Challenge is ‘teamwork,’ and this year, we all worked together to create a truly astounding impact for our nonprofit community,” Whitefish Community Foundation President/CEO Alan Davis said in a statement.

The fundraising total includes the previously announced $5.2 million raised from 3,111 donors during the Challenge itself, in addition to the Great Fish Match Fund, which 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. This year’s match fund was the largest ever, with participating nonprofits receiving a matching grant of up to $12,400. The WCF also awarded nearly $40,000 in incentive grants throughout the Challenge, for a grant total of $6,262,929 awarded, a 23% increase over 2022.

During the Great Fish Awards Celebration held on Tuesday, the WCF recognized several nonprofits with additional funds, including the $7,500 Great Fish Award given to the Nate Chute Foundation for tremendous leadership and dedication in their work empowering the Flathead Valley to promote mental wellness and reduce suicide.

Flathead Electric Co-op received the Corporate Citizenship Award recognizing the company’s leadership in philanthropy. The WCF also recognized longtime Flathead Valley resident Jim Hollensteiner with the Connie Heckathorn “Cheers for Volunteers” Award for decades of service to local nonprofits.

The Whitefish Community Foundation organizes the annual campaign free of charge for participating nonprofits, shouldering a cost of roughly $320,000. The foundation, with help from its sponsors, covers the entire cost to ensure that 100% of donations go to the designated charities.

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 $55 million in assets, and in nine years the Great Fish Community Challenge has raised over $28 million for 80 charities.

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

Nonprofit leaders and staff gather during the Great Fish Awards Celebration. Courtesy photo

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