Branston memorial grant goes to trail program

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Katy Branston

The Whitefish Community Foundation has announced the recipient of a one-time $5,000 memorial grant in memory of Katy Branston to the Whitefish Legacy Partners’ Girls on the Trail program.

The grant comes from the Katy Branston Fun Fund, which was founded in 2016 by Branston’s friends and family, who wanted to cement her legacy through a project that would build community, expand worldviews, and increase access to education and outdoor recreation for all people, especially children. The community foundation, in partnership with Branston’s friends and family, conducted an invitational application process to award a program grant that best fit with her legacy.

Girls on the Trail will bring teenage girls to the Whitefish Trail through a series of free mountain biking, hiking and volunteer events. Combining many of Branston’s passions — bikes, trails, friends, youth, and volunteerism — Whitefish Legacy Partners will lead Girls on the Trail to provide teenage girls from the Flathead Valley an opportunity to find their own love of mountain biking, appreciation of trails and open lands, and strength through hard work and mentorship. Girls on the Trail will also help connect the girls with resources, role models, and opportunities in the community.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Branston found her way to Whitefish by way of Missoula. Although she occasionally let slip a Memphis twang, Branston’s fervent embrace of all things Montana was a testament to where she belonged. She was passionate about Glacier National Park, fly fishing, cross-country cycling, and enjoyed volunteering as a Whitefish Trail bike patroller. Of all her accomplishments, none was greater than her dedication to community service, particularly that which benefited Montana’s youth.

Whitefish Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering philanthropy, building endowments, and helping donors and nonprofits benefit the community. For more information about the Whitefish Community Foundation visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.

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