COVID-19: Community Emergency Response Fund
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COVID-19: Community Emergency Response Fund


Whitefish Community Foundation has activated an Community Emergency Response Fund to provide flexible resources to nonprofits helping those directly impacted by COVID-19.

The Community Foundation has committed an initial $150,000 to fund this program and it is being joined by generous community minded donors to help fund urgent needs. Funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs. Nonprofits are encouraged to submit a brief application at whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.


Whitefish Community Foundation will rapidly deploy grants from this program, so nonprofits can focus on providing vital assistance to families and preparing front line services to diminish the impact of COVID-19 in Whitefish and the surrounding communities.


Contact Us

General questions and grant inquiries may be directed to Lynnette Donaldson, contact@whitefishcommunityfoundation.org

Interested donors and partners, please contact Linda Engh-Grady, contact@whitefishcommunityfoundation.org

Whitefish Community Foundation is open and staff is available to answer your questions. Please call (406) 863-1781


Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1060, Whitefish, MT 59937


Current Grant Distributions:

$20,000 To Flathead Food Bank and North Valley Food Bank to bring in a semi load of nonperishable food

$10,000 To Flathead Food Bank to provide more resources for the Backpack Food Distributions

$10,000 To North Valley Food Bank to fund the “Restaurants Making Healthy Meals for Families Program”

$10,000 To Abbie Shelter -Violence Free Crisis Line to support increased capacity and staffing

$10,000 To Farm Hands Nourish the Flathead to increase food bag distribution in Columbia Falls School District

$10,000 To Whitefish Housing Authority to start an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide micro grants of up to $300 for rent to workers recently laid off

$7,500 To Sparrow’s Nest of NW Montana to support increased staffing due to 24/7 staffing requirement

$2,500 To Samaritan House to purchase two additional washing stations

$2,500 To Warming Center to purchase tents and sleeping bags for homeless residents being turned out due to shelter closing



I’m an individual who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this Fund help me?
We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the outbreak and more will continue to be affected. Whitefish Community Foundation is working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting local residents and families affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts.


While the Fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, we will be funding community-based organizations that have experience and history of providing people and families with services and support.


If you are looking for information because you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please visit the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, Flathead City-County Health Department at www.flatheadhealth.org or Kalispell Regional Healthcare at www.krh.org.


My organization is interested in resources from this Fund. Can we be considered?
In the first phase, funding will be limited to nonprofit organizations working to ensure food access and/or working to mitigate the impact of school closures on youth education. If you are working in these areas, please contact us.


I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?
To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The Emergency Response Fund was created to pool resources and aid as many residents as possible.


Is there a fee to contribute?
With a focus on getting resources out to the community in this critical time, there is no administrative fee for participating in the Fund. 100% of donations will go to nonprofits on the ground, except for a credit card fee for online donations of 2.2% to 3.5% depending on the type of card used by the donor. Whitefish Community Foundation is covering the staffing cost to lead this effort.


Should I give to this Fund instead of making other donations?
This Fund was not created to be the only vehicle resourcing critical community activities during this outbreak. Rather it is working to facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community where it’s needed most. If the COVID-19 Response Fund priorities align with your values, please consider making a donation. However, this is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those who’ve had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community as we have greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long-term ramifications of the outbreak.


What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?
We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing organizations working in the areas of improving food access and education. In this first round, we are not able to prioritize organizations who have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. We recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts continue to unfold, we will continue to fundraise and evolve our funding strategies.


Based upon the charitable structure of the COVID-19 Community Emergency Response Fund, our grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) organizations.


Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?
The COVID-19  Community Emergency Response Fund will prioritize community-based organizations offering food access in Flathead County and education based needs serving North Flathead Valley.


When will you share who you fund?
We anticipate making a first round of investments in the coming weeks, and will publish the list of selected grantees on this page, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.


How will the Fund shift gears if needed?
The Fund priorities may evolve as our region adapts to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to prioritize support of our most vulnerable community members, and plan to support local nonprofit organizations as this emergency develops. Crisis philanthropy recognizes the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience.