Great Fish Campaign Raises Over $1.1 Million

1Great Fish Awards Brian Schott-Web

Thank You Donors for Making the Great Fish Community Challenge a Major Success!

This week, the Whitefish Community Foundation distributed over $1.1 million to 32 participating nonprofits in the first annual Great Fish Community Challenge! The fundraiser that began on June 9th pulled in a total of $1,126,860.

The campaign received 1,391 contributions totaling $917,764. The Whitefish Community Foundation match amounted to 53% on the first $15,000 for a total of just over $209,000. Matching funds stemmed from contributors to the Circle of Giving and from individuals donating directly to the Great Fish Match Fund.

More than half the participating nonprofits raised $15,000 or more and received the maximum matching grant of $7,982. Grant awards were announced and distributed at an exciting event with over 150 people in attendance at Casey’s in downtown Whitefish.

The Challenge culminated with the Great Fish 5K Color Run and Fair held in downtown Whitefish on September 12. Over 440 runners and walkers came out to participate in the event. They enjoyed interactive booths from the participating nonprofits showcasing their programs and telling their stories.

The total amount raised by the nonprofits surpasses the initial goal of at least $300,000 for the first year. “To raise more than $1.1 million in this first year event is tremendous to say the least,” said Board President David Dittman. “The community really came out for this campaign.”

Donations were flooding into the Foundation office both online and in the mail during the final two weeks of the campaign. It was exciting to see many donors really grasp the concept of how easy it was to give to several nonprofits with just one check. The Community Foundation processed all the gifts for the campaign and 100% of the designated donations went to the charities. All the costs of the campaign and the signature color run were covered by the Whitefish Community Foundation with the help of local sponsors.

webLinda“The campaign did exactly what we wanted it to do,” said Community Foundation Executive Director Linda Engh-Grady. “It helped all sizes and types of nonprofits raise significant program money at no cost. Many of these participating nonprofits have little or no paid staff and are run by volunteers, some of which are working two jobs. These individuals are passionate about their organizations and the good work that they do to serve the community, she said.”

Raising over $1.1 million, the Whitefish Community Foundation Board of Directors views the first challenge as a huge success and is making plans to run the Great Fish Community Challenge again in 2016.

The excitement and thanks that has come in after the event has been very rewarding. FACEBOOK Fans have been sharing their thanks:

CASA For Kids posted:
We had a great night in Whitefish receiving our check from the Great Fish Community Challenge. Whitefish Community Foundation matched a portion of the money we raised bringing our total to just over $54,000!!

Whitefish Legacy Partners posted:
Thanks to Whitefish Community Foundation for throwing such a great party last night in recognition of 32 local non-profits who participated in The Great Fish Community Challenge.
Whitefish Legacy Partners was able to raise $35,905 in support of continued recreation, conservation, and education on the Whitefish Trail. With a $7,982.76 match from the Community Foundation, our grand total was $43,887.76!!!
We would like to thank all of our dedicated Friends and Families who gave to the Great Fish Challenge. You guys rock, and we would not be here without you!

Glacier Institute posted:
Thank you to all of our donors who made the Great Fish event such a success for us!

Backpack Assistance Program posted:
Thank you Whitefish Community Foundation for letting the Backpack Assistance Program be a part of the Great Fish Challenge. Our non profit is overwhelmed with the generosity of the donations we received. What a success this campaign was !!!

DREAM Adaptive Recreation posted:
Thank You to the Whitefish Community Foundation for helping so many non profits on the Valley raise an incredible amount of money. Can’t wait to see what next years challenge brings!

Flathead Youth Home posted:
An amazing night, an amazing foundation, an amazing community. Thank you doesn’t cover it.

Whitefish Community Library posted:
Thank you Whitefish Community Foundation for accepting Whitefish Community Library to be a participant in the Great Fish Community Challenge. Our community is so fortunate to have you. And thanks to all the donors who made this such a success.