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Idaho and Montana Grant Program

Grants to Idaho and Montana Nonprofits for Education,
Conservation, and Health in Rural Communities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Steele-Reese Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/02/18 11:59 PM MT


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Grants starting at $5,000 to Idaho and Montana nonprofits and agencies for programs that specifically serve rural communities in the areas of education, human and social services, conservation and preservation, health, and arts and humanities. LOIs are due on January 10, 2018.

In all program areas, the Foundation makes a limited number of grants for capital improvements, fixtures, and remodeling, retrofitting, and building new structures. In projects involving the building of a new facility or other large-scale capital endeavors, these grants are typically made only during the closing phases, when a substantial portion of the required funds are already in hand.

For its 2018 funding cycle, the Foundation will be strengthening its focus on those programs operating in the more rural parts of the two states in its service area.

Proposed projects should:

- Serve rural areas
- Help people to help themselves
- Be modest and direct in aim
- Be narrow in function
- Be based on experience
- Demonstrate community financial, in-kind, or other support
- Be essential, rather than merely desirable
- Yield a direct and measurable, rather than a remote, benefit to people
- Be conducted by competent, practical organizations and managers and demonstrate strong leadership capacity at both the organizational and program level.

Funding Areas:

Rural Education
The Foundation focuses on early childhood to Grade 12 education programming. Examples include funding for supplemental programs in early childhood education settings; elementary, middle, and high school programs that improve outcomes for students; support of literacy programs and out-of-school-time services; and charter schools and other model school programs that provide quality educational options for students and families. The Foundation also provides assistance to small public libraries.

The Foundation does not accept applications to directly fund higher education, though early childhood to Grade 12 programs run by colleges or universities or state or local education districts will be considered.

Rural Human/Social Services
Examples include programs for low-income and under-represented populations, including elders, homeless individuals, people living with disabilities, young children, disadvantaged or disconnected older youth, young people or adults involved in the criminal justice system, and survivors of abuse or domestic violence. Examples also include local fire-protection services, parks and other civic improvements, and local food banks.

Rural Conservation and Preservation
Examples include land, wildlife, and historic preservation and restoration projects; ecosystem protection programs; and water projects. All conservation or environmental programs must be locally focused.

National organizations are eligible for support only if all Steele-Reese funds will be employed directly in projects located in the geographical areas served by the Foundation and if the coordinating entity can demonstrate substantial connections to the people and organizations in these areas.

Rural Health
Examples include services in preventive health programs; medical clinics; small hospitals; EMS and ambulance units; family-planning programs, and hospices. While the Foundation has, in a limited manner, supported equipment purchases for rural medical facilities, it is not currently considering unsolicited requests for such purposes in Idaho and Montana.

Rural Arts and Humanities
Examples include local visual arts programs, music and performance arts, and the broader support of creative arts activities and efforts to maintain the rich histories of the Foundation’s funding geographies.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177728

Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant awarded by the Foundation is $5,000. Grants of up to $50,000 for a single year are rarely made.

Term of Contract:

The Foundation rarely makes multi-year grants.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

No grants are made to individuals or to organizations that have not been recognized as federally tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service. All entities are required to submit proof of 501(c)3 tax-exempt status as part of their applications. An exception to this requirement is for tax-exempt governmental entities or agencies such as schools, fire departments, and libraries; these entities should submit a letter on official letterhead verifying their public status.

The Foundation is not able, at this time, to consider funding for work benefiting urban or suburban areas, or those more rural areas that are immediately adjacent or in very close proximity to an urbanized or more heavily populated area.

Not funded:

- Endowment funds
- Emergencies
- Community funds and charity drives
- Conferences and workshops or their related travel
- Documentaries
- Efforts to influence elections directly or indirectly
- Planning, research, experimental, or untested projects
- Athletic or academic competitions, or related travel
- Efforts to promulgate religious or political beliefs or agendas.

Pre-Application Information:

For Idaho and Montana applicants, the application process begins with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) The LOI form, which must be submitted online, is available via the Foundation's web site beginning December 1, 2017, and is due on January 10, 2018, before 11:59 pm Mountain Time.

If the Foundation is able to consider a request, it will send a response by March 1 inviting a full application, which will be due April 2, 2018. All Montana and Idaho applicants are required to use the online inquiry and application tools.

Applicants who have not previously registered to submit an LOI or application form online (during a previous grant cycle) will first need to register to establish an account. This includes providing an email address, creating a password, and providing key contact and organization details. Applicants can register at any time, even before the opening date of the online inquiry or application periods by clicking the Apply Online buttons on the web site.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Linda Tracy with any questions about the registration process or the online grant inquiry or application, and to discuss your project prior to submitting an application.

A Letter of Inquiry Preparation Worksheet is attached below so that applicants may review questions prior to filling out the form online. It also includes full instructions and answers to frequently asked questions. You may use this worksheet as a tool to prepare your answers for the online inquiry, but you must log in and complete the online form itself in order for your inquiry to be formally submitted.

All notices of final funding decisions are made by August 1 of each year, and funds are available by late August or early September.

Program areas:


How to apply:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online here:

Linda Tracy, Western Director
Phone: (406) 207-7984

The Steele-Reese Foundation
PO Box 8311
Missoula, MT 59807-8311

Please note that e-mail should be used for brief initial inquiries to determine whether formal applications are warranted, and for follow-up correspondence.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Idaho;   Montana