Great Fish hits $900,000 ahead of Color Run

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Heading into the remaining days of the campaign, the fourth annual Great Fish Community Challenge has raised more than $900,000 for participating nonprofits.

This is ahead of last year’s donations at the same time with one less week in the campaign. Donations are accepted until Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.

The challenge will culminate with the Great Fish Community Challenge 5K Color Run/Walk and Community Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Depot Park. Although not tied to the fundraising, the Color Run and Celebration includes many fun activities, a barbecue lunch, Mic Drop contest at noon, and informational booths from nonprofits to celebrate and raise awareness of philanthropy.

There is plenty of incentive to give at the celebration too. Another $2,000 in matching grants will be awarded by drawing from donations made that day. Registration for the Color Run/Walk can be done online at www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org or in person at the Wave on Sept. 7, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The event includes a 5-kilometer fun run/walk and 5-kilometer timed run, and a 1 mile run/walk all orchestrated by more than 100 volunteers.

“We anticipate it will be an amazing community celebration, as it has been for the last three years,” said Linda Engh-Grady, the Foundation’s President. “We’re pleased with how much attention the Challenge and celebration bring to the local nonprofits in the community and the work that they do.”

The Color Run/Walk begins at 10 a.m. and a barbecue lunch provided by Piggyback BBQ begins at 11 a.m. and is free for all runners and walkers, and open to the general public with a suggested $5 donation. Registration opens at 10 a.m. for the Tot Trot held at 11:30 a.m. and includes two heats based on age. A Striders Riders Race organized by Glacier Cyclery and Nordic for ages 5 and under is at 11:30 a.m. Participants in the Tot Trot and Striders Riders Race get a T-shirt and Sweet Peaks ice cream while supplies last. Register for the events by emailing contact@whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.

Whitefish Community Foundation started the challenge in 2015. The Great Fish Community Challenge raises money through community donations and match funds. Each year, the Community Foundation kicks off the fundraising with a $200,000 match pool. The match pool grows as donors give to the Community Foundation’s Circle of Giving – the group known as the Challengers. Circle donors give at levels ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. Additional matching dollars come from individuals that give directly to the Match Fund during the campaign.

Nonprofits participating in the Great Fish Community Challenge raise the rest of the funds. When individuals donate money to a specific nonprofit through the Challenge, the organization receives 100 percent of the donation and a percentage of matched funds, however gifts made by credit card are accessed the processing fee. Nonprofits receive the percentage match on the first $20,000 raised by each nonprofit.

Last year, the Great Fish Community Challenge raised just over $2 million from 1,557 donors and the match percentage was 48 percent. In its first three years running, the Challenge has raised $4.5 million for the community.

To make a donation, individuals can visit the Foundation website at www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org. Donations can be made online or an official donation form can be downloaded and mailed in with a check. Donations of appreciated securities and contributions made directly from an IRA are also good ways to donate. Contact the Whitefish Community Foundation at 406-863-1781 for more information or for questions about donating.

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