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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 www.greaterpolsoncommunityfoundation.org/grants. 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 greaterposloncommunityfounation.org/grants/ for more information.