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Great Fish raises $4.2 million for nonprofits

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | October 20, 2021 1:00 AM

The Whitefish Community Foundation handed out $4.2 million in funds Monday night to 61 Flathead Valley nonprofit organizations during its Great Fish awards event.

The total amount awarded included about $3.5 million donated by 2,683 donors during the six-week Great Fish Community Challenge, plus a 56% match on the first $20,000 raised by each organization.

The Great Fish Match is made possible by Whitefish Community Foundation’s Circle of Giving and those who donated to the match fund during the Challenge. This year’s Great Fish Match grew to $665,739.

The Whitefish Community Foundation also awarded $15,150 in incentive grants throughout the Challenge.

All these areas brought the grand total awarded through this year’s Great Fish Community Challenge to $4,200,643, which works out to a 28% increase over last year.

The 2021 Challenge attracted 10 percent more donors and 21 percent more gifts than last year.

On average, each donor gave 10 percent more than last year and supported more than three organizations.

“Once again the Great Fish Community Challenge has demonstrated the power of giving together for the Flathead Valley,” Whitefish Community Foundation President and CEO Linda Engh-Grady said. “The 2021 Challenge set a new fundraising record while creating greater awareness of the important work our nonprofit organizations do to make life better for everyone in the Flathead.”

On Monday, the foundation presented several special awards.

The prestigious Great Fish Award along with its associated $7,500 grant was given to the Abbie Shelter. The award is given annually to an organization that demonstrates tremendous leadership and dedication toward advancing their mission and impacting the critical needs in local communities.

The Abbie Shelter was selected for the 2021 Great Fish for the organization’s work to provide court advocacy, mental health support, and shelter for those seeking safety and justice from domestic and sexual violence, the foundation notes.

The Great Fish Community Challenge is a charitable giving campaign that offers donors the opportunity to give to multiple organizations with one transaction.

Whitefish Community Foundation organizes and administers the challenge free of charge for qualifying nonprofits. The estimated cost of this year’s challenge is approximately $285,000, a value of over $4,600 to each participating nonprofit.

Since 2015, the Great Fish Community Challenge has raised over $17 million for more than 75 local nonprofit organizations.

For more information about Whitefish Community Foundation, visit whitefishcommunityfoundation.org or call (406) 863-1781.

Other special award winners were:

Flathead Warming Center: $5,000 Jean Howard Memorial Award

DREAM Adaptive Recreation: $2,500 Russ & Mary Jane Street Community Service Award

North Valley Food Bank: $2,500 Doris Schumm Community Spirit Award

Backpack Assistance Program, in memory of Traci Stolte: $2,500 Connie Heckathorn Cheers for Volunteers Award

Nate Chute Foundation, selected by Whitefish Lake Restaurant: $2,500 Corporate Citizenship Award

Foy’s to Blacktail Trails: $500 New Fish on the Block Award

Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center: $500 Best Fish Teamwork Award

Boys & Girls Club of Glacier Country: $500 Upstream Award

Gateway to Glacier Trail: $500 Finest Fishing Award

Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead: $500 Most Improved Fishing Award

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The Whitefish Community Foundation presented the prestigious Great Fish Award along with its associated $7,500 grant to the Abbie Shelter.