11 Mar Nonprofit Spotlight – N.C. Foundation
Founded in 1999, the same year its namesake, Nate Chute, took his own life at just 18-years old, N.C. Foundation is probably best known for the snowboarding competition held annually on Big Mountain in March. This Whitefish foundation’s Board has been presided over by Nate’s father Terry Chute for 16 years. With his wife Secretary-Treasurer Jane Kollmeyer, they have put together an amazingly dedicated group: two of Nate’s Whitefish High School classmates, Jason Forrest of Whitefish Mountain Resort, and Joan Schmidt, veteran youth-in-crisis counselor. And just recently Rebecca McClellan has come on board as Executive Director to handle the expanding responsibilities that successful public awareness of the Foundation and its programs makes possible.
In classic philanthropic form, the Board has worked somewhat silently, but with community leaders, to create and fund programs that act as safety nets for youth facing mental health crises. The N.C. Foundation receives funding from local and State sources like the Whitefish Community Foundation, Ila B. Dousman Foundation, and the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Its flagship programs are the Student Assistance Program based in schools (SAP) that trains students in active listening skills through peer, age-based volunteer discussion groups; and Youth Suicide Prevention Program which provides financial aid for mental health counseling to youth who are referred for help.