HELENA – The MTN Montana Wildfire Relief Fund is starting to evaluate applications, as it gets ready to award its first round of grants.
The fund is a partnership between the Montana Television Network and the Montana Community Foundation, designed to help organizations and communities affected by the 2017 wildfire season.
“We’re pretty confident this money is going to make a very important positive impact on Montana and for those who kept us safe during this fire season,” said Riley Meredith, the foundation’s marketing and communications director.
About 60 organizations turned in grant applications ahead of the first deadline last week.
A grant committee has been put together, including representatives from MTN and the Community Foundation, fire professionals and people from the communities affected by fires. The members will score each application, and that score will determine which organizations receive the first awards.
For the first cycle of grants, the committee will give preference to rural volunteer fire departments and other first responders that fought this summer’s wildfires.
Meredith says the fund will likely award between $250,000 and $300,000 in the first round of grants, and that the awards could be decided as soon as next month.
Applications also opened this weekend for the second round of grants, which will focus on groups that provided relief for people affected by the fires.
“There’s a lot of direct relief organizations out there who helped out, providing food and shelter and things like that,” Meredith said. “Then there are some organizations out there who are helping people rebuild houses and pay for things like that. That’s what this second round is really dedicated for.”
Organizations have until Dec. 11 to apply for the second grant cycle.
The MTN Montana Wildfire Relief Fund has raised about $525,000 so far. The Foley Family Charitable Foundation, based in Whitefish, recently announced a $20,000 donation to the fund.
MTN and its parent company Cordillera Communications matched the first $50,000 raised.
An anonymous donation of $50,000 was received, Carl and Kay Carbon matched $50,000 and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation also matched $50,000.
The Montana Shirt Co. contributed $25,000 to the fund. American Bank and PureWest Christies International Real Estate have contributed $10,000 apiece.
The Shopko Foundation and the Alice Lee Lund Charitable Trust have each donated $5,000.
There are still opportunities to donate to the WildFire Relief Fund.
GIVE BY MAIL: Make your check payable to the Montana Community Foundation and write “Montana Wildfire Relief Fund” in the memo line.
Mail to: MTN Wildfire Relief Fund, Montana Community Foundation, PO Box 1145, Helena, MT 59624-1145.
GIVE ONLINE: Click here
MTN includes KTVQ Billings, KBZK Bozeman, KXLF Butte, KRTV Great Falls, KBGF Great Falls, KTVH Helena, KXLH Helena, KAJ Kalispell and KPAX Missoula.