Applications taken for Great Fish

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The Great Fish Community Challenge has begun taking applications from nonprofits wishing to participate in the fourth year of the collaborative fundraiser.

The Challenge is a matching grant program organized by the Whitefish Community Foundation. It is designed to encourage mission awareness while raising funds to support local nonprofit programs and services.

The Great Fish Challenge has grown every year since inception, raising over $2.1 million for 45 nonprofits in 2017. This included a Match Fund of $407,500, which enabled the Foundation to award a 48 percent match on the first $20,000 raised by the participating nonprofits.

This year, the Campaign giving period will launch on July 26 and run until Sept. 14.

The Challenge will culminate with the Great Fish Color Run and Community Celebration, held Sept. 8 in Depot Park. This event is open to the public and will include a parade, color toss, 1 mile and 5K color runs, barbecue lunch, Striders Race, Tot Trot, incentive grants and more.

Throughout the campaign the Whitefish Community Foundation will be giving the participating nonprofits a chance to win $15,000 worth of incentive grants.

The annual Great Fish Award will also be awarded to one of the participating nonprofits and it comes with a $5,000 grant. This award was presented to Whitefish Animal Group (WAG) in 2017 for exhibiting outstanding participation in all areas of the Challenge.

With the success of last year’s Jingle Competition in mind, a new competition has been created and will take place at the Community Celebration. This year’s Challenge will include a “Drop the Mic” competition featuring unique raps about the Great Fish Community Challenge. The organization with the best rap will be awarded a $1,000 incentive grant and the artist will receive a $500 award.

Last year, a public performance by Hilary Shaw won the Abbie Shelter a $1,000 incentive grant for Shaw’s jingle called “Helping Our Community to Run.” The Whitefish Community Foundation will be accepting entries into this year’s “Drop the Mic” competition beginning April 23.

The Community Foundation is again dedicating $200,000 to the Great Fish Match Fund to launch the campaign, and the Match Fund will grow as the campaign progresses and individuals are inspired to give. The match is the backbone of the Challenge and a percentage match will be awarded on the first $20,000 raised by each nonprofit. Each participating nonprofit will receive gifts designated to them, as well as an additional percentage match from the Whitefish Community Foundation.

Nonprofits interested in applying for the Challenge must submit an online application by Feb. 28 at www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org. Nonprofits selected to participate in the Challenge will be notified April 20.

The significant expenses associated with the Great Fish Community Challenge, including staff support, marketing, administration, and event management — over $100,000 in 2017 — are paid by the Whitefish Community Foundation as a community service.

For more information about the Great Fish Challenge or the Whitefish Community Foundation, visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org or call 406-863-1781. The Whitefish Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering philanthropy, building endowments and helping donors and nonprofits benefit the community.

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