Non-profit announces workshops, grant opportunities

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By ASHLEY FOX

Lake County Leader

The Greater Polson Community Foundation has announced the 2018 grant application deadline is Friday, April 27.

Grant applications will be accepted from nonprofit organizations greater Polson area.

GPCF will accept applications for pre-screen completeness until April 13.

The complete 2018 grant application is available to download online at www.greaterpolsoncommunityfoundation.org.

The GPCF is planning two grant application workshops from 12-1:30 p.m. on March 8 and March 15 at the GPCF offices, located in the lower level of the Salish Building, 110 Main Street, Polson.

Either of the workshop sessions are available for the first 12 participants to register will show applicants how basic grant application processes work. Cost for the workshop is $5.

A total of $473,000 has been contributed to meet needs in the community since grants were first awarded in 2009.

Grants are funded annually by earnings from the foundation’s growing permanent endowment and other available GPCF funds.

Past grant awards have supported a variety of youth and community projects.

GPCF President Toni Young says “our grant funding support to our community non-profits and their projects is a highlight of our year”.

For questions and to register for the workshops, contact Jennifer at (406) 883-4723.

History

Over the last decade, the non profit Greater Polson Community Foundation has helped other local non profits achieve their goals.

Forming in 2007 and kicking off in 2008, the foundation invests in other non profits.

Multiple committees make up the foundation, with one of the most active being the grants committee.

“We give grants once a year; the highest amount we grant has been, historically, $2,500,” Penny Jarecki, board president emeritus, said.

Last year, more than $26,000 was awarded to 14 entities that benefit children in one way or another.

Those who make the decisions to award the grants are from the area.

Jarecki said that way, the decisions are made by those who understand the need and see where the money will go, as well as follow up with recipients of the grants.

“There is accountability” with the process, she added.

A newsletter is sent to donors twice a year, breaking down where the monies go through the year.

Donors are listed from May through October, and November through April in the newsletter.

During its infancy stages, Jarecki said that organizers of the foundation received guidance from the Montana Community Foundation.

Local community foundations were awarding challenge grants where if $20,000 was raised, MCF would give $10,000 so that monies could be awarded locally almost immediately.

“The whole concept behind a community foundation is an endowment fund, and the principle of that endowment fund can’t be invaded,” Jarecki explained.

The endowment is more than $650,000 and invested through MCF.

Greater Polson Community Foundation gets a portion of the earnings to distribute.

Other monies are generated by the Polson foundation on its own, Jarecki added.

Last year, 32 organizations came to a grant workshop offered by the foundation, Young said.

One of the events that the foundation helps bring to the community is the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest, which recently just wrapped up over the weekend.

Adding culture to the area, both Young and Jarecki said that the idea behind the event was to give residents something to do during the winter months.

The foundation has given way for “lots of little things” to happen in the Polson community, Young said.

One of those little things, Young said, was a grant that was given to the North Lake County Library District for tripods.

“They’re all over town, and it’s making a tremendous difference for the library.”

Books that are donated to the library are set up on the tripods, for people to use while they’re around town.

“It’s encouraging people to read,” Young said, adding that that grant is one she is proud of.

Always looking for new donors to keep the foundation going, Jarecki said that those interested in participating can go to greaterpolsoncommunityfoundation.org.

Committee members are also being sought out, as they can lead to future board members, Jarecki pointed out.

Jarecki explained that donations can be made by the website. “We’ve had donations range from $15 to $250,000. Every dollar is greatly appreciated.”

There is a tax credit that goes along with donating, Jarecki said, called the Montana Endowment Tax Credit.

“If everybody did a little something to improve their community, what a difference our world would see,” Jarecki said.

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