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Celebrate the Season of Light – 2016

The Envision Polson Beautification Committee invites you to nominate what “best” embodies to joy of the season through the our “Celebrate the Season of Light” decoration contest. Nominate yourself, a neighbor or your favorite spot in one of the following categories

**Best Business **Best Residence  **Best Church  **Best All one Color **Best Multiple Colors

Contest boundaries include Polson City limits along Hwy 35 to Fulkerson Corner and Along Rocky Point Road to Kings point turn off.

Drop off your nominations to Polson Chamber of Commerce by Friday 16th. Please download Nomination form attachment below. If you have questions contact Mary Jensen at 406.849.5288

Celebrate the Season of Light

Celebrate the Season of Light

Annual Fund-Raiser Sets New Record

The eighth annual “Passion for Polson Celebration” held Friday, August 5 at the home of Tim and Kelly Bagnell, generated $26,759, a new record for the Greater Polson Community Foundation.

The event also broke previous attendance records as 198 donors made reservations for the festive dinner-dance.  A live band, The Grateful Dads, traveled from the Sacramento area at their own expense and rolled back the clock by playing danceable rock and roll music.  Their lead singer, whose voice was amazingly similar to that of “The King,” Elvis Presley, delighted the crowd when he sang those familiar songs.

There was lively bidding for both the live and silent auction items which together generated $12,270, which also set a new record.

The 2017 “Passion for Polson Celebration” will be held Friday, August 4.












The Greater Polson Community Foundation recently distributed $18,501 among nine local non-profit organizations as part of its 2016 grant cycle.  The amount distributed represents the annual earnings from the GPCF’s permanent endowment fund.  The award recipients are:  Crown of the Continent Guitar Scholarship, Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC), Friends of Lake County Fairgrounds, Lake County Parks Board, Mission Valley Aquatics, Mission Valley Ice Arena, Onward and Upward, North Lake County Public Library, and Polson Middle School.

The grants support a wide variety of youth and community-oriented projects including: amenities and exercise stations for trail users on Polson’s walking trails, a LEGO project and building table, scholarships for local guitar students, support for communication and literacy skills for Polson Middle School students, materials for STEM projects (science-technology-engineering-math) in Polson’s elementary schools, support for the FLIC film festival, a portable multi-use stage for 4-H and other youth activities, equipment for a new winter festival organized by the Mission Valley Ice Rink and Boys’ and Girls’ Club member swim lessons at the Mission Valley Aquatics Center.

“Being able to support our community non-profits and their projects is definitely the highlight of our year.  GPCF is able to fund these grants because our donors truly love making a difference,” said GPCF Board President Penny Jarecki.

Gifts and contributions from donors have added significantly to the permanent endowment, which now totals over $600,000.  Only the earnings can be used from the permanent endowment.  The more this fund grows, the more earnings are available for GPCF’s annual grants.

20160510_094731 copyThe 8th annual “Passion for Polson Celebration” will be held Friday, Aug. 5 on the park-like grounds surrounding the home of Drs. Tim and Kelly Bagnell on Rocky Point Road. Their beautiful home has an unobstructed view of the lake, the Swan Range, and on a clear day, the peaks of Glacier Park.

A special treat, and one in keeping with this year’s party theme, “Denim & Diamonds,” will be the opportunity to see examples of the popular performance quarter horses the Bagnells raise. Seeing mares with their foals will be sweet.

Recipients of the 2016 GPCF grants will be announced, and a delicious dinner will be catered by Caffe Firenze. There also will be a short list of interesting items for a live auction. The festive evening will be rounded out with music provided by the band, the Grateful Dads. The four members of this band, special friends of Polson, are traveling from the Sacramento area at their own expense to make our evening together especially fun. So wear your dancing shoes!

All “Passion for Polson Celebration” parties have been graciously hosted at the homes of donors who believe in the mission and possibilities of the Greater Polson Community Foundation. These events have been a big part of the GPCF’s foundation and growth. Since 2009, when grants were first awarded, donors have made it possible for GPCF to give over $420,000 to meet needs in our community.

11822989_1457496004576798_4546091336722873890_oDenver Holt has been around the world, more than a few times, and knows a thing or two about beautiful locations and natural attractions. He’s the director of the Owl Institute in Charlo and one of the world’s foremost experts on owls.
Holt was the guest of honor at this year’s Annual Passion For Polson Celebration, and he wasted no time sharing with his audience that the Mission Valley is unique, and it has a lot to draw one particular crowd: birders.

Holt’s talk brought the theme of the party, Go Wild for Polson, into sharp focus. He encouraged community members, and the leaders in attendance, to look into nature-based, sustainable tourism opportunities to contribute to a more vibrant year-round local economy.

Violinist Geoffrey Castle dazzled guests with lively melodies as the evening sun set on the lakefront home of Darrell and Sandi Cain. The event saw a record number of guests in attendance and raised $21,562.12 for the foundation.

“A great many people told me afterward that this event was the best one we have ever had,” said GPCF Penny Jarecki, praising the location, food, decor and presentation.

A live auction, which rounded out the evening with some animated bidding, earned $8,700, and was highlighted by the sale of two “Day With Denver” packages, each bringing in $2,800.

GPCF CelebrationThe 2015 Passion for Polson Celebration will be emphasizing a unique bragging point about life in our community. Featured guest Denver Holt of the Owl Institute in Charlo will be sharing stories that explain why we should all “Go Wild for Polson,” this year’s party theme.

A wonderful four-course dinner preceded by hors d’oeuvres will be catered by Caffe Firenze of Florence, Mont. The party will be held at the Darrell and Sandi Cain residence, 34870 Rocky Point Road, Polson, on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.

GPCF Dinner 2014-25

Familiar friends as well as new faces gathered at the Greater Polson Community Foundation’s Sixth Annual Passion for Polson Celebration: Viva Polson!, on Saturday, Aug. 16.

Guests were treated to beautiful gardens and a sunset Mission Mountain backdrop at the home of Gary and Christine Pitts. The ambiance was warm with colorful decorations by Charlo’s Connie Plaissay, delicate guitar music by Whitefish’s Tim Torgerson, and a flavorful spread of Latin cuisine catered by Vista Linda, of Somers. Bigfork distillery, Whistling Andy, prepared a signature drink, Hibiscus Margaritas, especially for the event.

With its sixth year in the books, the foundation and its supporters certainly have plenty to celebrate and even more to look toward in the upcoming year. The foundation has grown its assets including permanent endowment funds, donor advised funds, scholarship funds, temporarily restricted funds, special project funds and working capital.

Thanks to two dedicated gifts, the foundation now has its own furnished office space, located on the lower level of the Salish building downtown.

Recently, a sizeable directed gift allowed the remodel of a small garden just east of Ducharme Park as a memorial to a dear friend of the donor. When the landscaping work was finished, another donor was inspired to cover the cost of the concrete curbing that replaced the battered railroad ties along the streets edging the garden. The work, done by two local businesses, did wonders to brighten up this very visible section of U.S. Hwy. 93 through town.

GPCF Dinner 2014-51Perhaps a highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the foundation’s 2014 grant recipients. Altogether, $21,584 will be distributed among 10 qualifying local non-profits this year.

  • The Dayton Proctor Park Association will receive $797 to insulate a park building for energy-efficient winter use.
  • Polson Youth Soccer Association was granted $2,500 to help construct new soccer fields on newly acquired land.
  • Mission Valley Aquatics will receive $2,500 to allow the children of financially challenged families to use the facilities.
  • Polson Ski Club was granted $2,287.50, which will be used to give financial assistance to youth not otherwise able to participate in the ski program.
  • Boys and Girls Club was granted $2,500 for a healthy eating/nutrition program for youth using local produce.
  • Polson School District received $2,500 for upgrades to the high school auditorium, the only auditorium in Polson, which has not been improved for 40 years.
  • Polson Loaves and Fishes was granted $2,000 for the purchase of a metal storage container.
  • SAFE Harbor received a grant of $1,500 for video devices to help law enforcement officers provide evidence of domestic violence.
  • Polson Fairgrounds was granted $2,500 to improve the concession stand, the commercial kitchen and storage facilities.
  • The Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC) will receive $2,500 to support the third annual event that sparks our winter economy.


“You generous donors have allowed the foundation to give a total of $97,000 to our community since we first awarded grants in 2009,” said Penny Jarecki, GPCF Board President. “That’s $97,000 in six years. That’s commendable.”

The evening closed with a live auction of eight desirable items donated by individuals and businesses from the community.

Jarecki thanked the Polson High School student athletes who spent the evening tirelessly directing parking, serving dinner and clearing tables.

“You represent the bright and energetic kids we have in our community,” she said. “We hope you will remember what this event is all about. It’s about the importance of giving something back to your community. That’s why all of us are here. We know the satisfaction that comes from working for a worthy cause, and we hope you will continue to be involved in your community wherever it may be.”

GPCF Dinner 2014-37One of Polson’s most noticeable improvements this year has been the construction of a walking path linking Riverside Park with Salish Point. GPCF awarded a special $15,000 grant toward the completion of the trail which is expected to become an educational spot for our visitors.

The trail, a cooperative effort between the Salish & Kootenai Tribes and the City of Polson, was partially funded with Polson Redevelopment Agency monies. A number of signs highlighting local history, geology, flora and fauna will be added.

GPCF Dinner 2014-24Funds raised by summer residents and “year-rounders” attending the GPCF annual “Passion for Polson Celebration” in mid-August added $22,985 to the permanent endowment fund.

This year’s theme, “Viva Polson!” was carried out with bright tablecloths and sombreros filled with large tissue-paper flowers, and a background of Latin guitar music. Proceeds from the live auction supplemented dinner ticket sales and special gifts.

Bidding was especially competitive for a catered dinner for 12 held at historic Rocky Point Lodge ($1,675), the hotel/ticket package for the Seattle/Seahawks/Denver Broncos game ($1,650), and a gourmet dinner for eight held at a lakeside home on Indian Bay ($1,000). Bids on six other items brought the total for the auction to $6,970.00.

Greater Polson Community Foundation hosted a grant application workshop on Wednesday, May 21 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Polson.

Nineteen representatives from 17 local non profit organizations were treated to a tasteful spread of summer salad and sandwiches as they learned about the grant application process.

0521_GPCF-84-PressRepresentatives were there from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Flathead Reservation, Polson Youth Soccer Association, Polson Fairgrounds and the Mission Valley Animal Shelter, among others. Many of these organizations have already benefitted from the foundation’s generosity. For example, last year, with the help of a GPCF grant, the North Lake County Library District was able to set up numerous “book nooks” for community members to utilize while out and about. The Boys and Girls Club was able to pay for club members to take swimming lessons at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center after school and throughout last summer.

To open the meeting, GPCF Treasurer John Cowan shared with attendees a brief history of the foundation, which started in December 2007 with a meeting at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. The goal was always to raise money for a permanent endowment for the Polson community, and to help other non profits in new endeavors that they couldn’t afford to fund otherwise.

“In six years, we have dispersed into the community over $125,000,” Cowan said. “The foundation is basically the fiduciary of our contributors’ money. They’ve trusted us to take care of it, and ensure that people use the money in the way it was intended. That’s why we go through the application process. Plus, it gives our smaller organizations a feel for what it’s like to apply for any other grant.”

Jolene Barce, administrator of the grant program followed with a detailed look at the grant application cover sheet and application packet. Application packets are available to download online at Completed packets must be postmarked by June 30. Incomplete packets will not be passed onto the grants committee for review.

0521_GPCF-83-Press“Just look at us,” she said. “This is what we are here to create — this cohesive bringing together of non profits from all over the area. Our hearts are open to our community. That’s a beautiful thing.”

George Barce, grants committee member, reviewed the criteria for the evaluation of applications. The grants committee normally takes a couple of weeks to review applications. Grant recipients will be announced at the foundation’s annual fundraiser on Aug. 16. The foundation plans to award roughly $20,000 this year, usually in increments of $500-2,500.

“One of the things we are looking for is how well it matches the mission of the Greater Polson Community Foundation,” he said. “We’d like to know if this is a collaborative venture that strengthens the community, and we look for new and innovative approaches. Does it address a critical need for the community? Does the organization have a proven track record where you have successfully completed other projects? Are the objectives clear, realistic and attainable?”

A complete list of evaluation criteria is available online.

“It warms my heart to see how this has grown and it really is nice to see so many of our non profits represented here,” President Penny Jarecki said in closing.

Local non profit organizations do not need to have been present at the meeting to apply for a grant. Please visit for more information.