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Montana Wildfire Relief Fund distributes $600K - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana Wildfire Relief Fund distributes $600K

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The Montana Television Network (MTN) and the Montana Community Foundation (MCF) announce the distribution of more than $600,000 in grants from the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund.

The fund originated as a partnership between the two organizations and is dedicated to supporting wildfire relief efforts following Montana’s unprecedented 2017 wildfire season.

Launched in mid-September 2017, the fund has grown to more than $600,000 through the extraordinary generosity of individuals, businesses, private foundations and many others across the country.

MTN matched the first $50,000 in donations along with other significant contributions that included a $50,000 match from the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund, an affiliate fund to the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, a $50,000 match from Carl and Kay Carbon of Great Falls, an anonymous $50,000 donation, $25,000 from the Montana Shirt Company and $10,000 from American Bank. 

“We’re grateful to have played an important role in not only receiving these charitable gifts, but also in administering the grants,” said MCF President and CEO Mary Rutherford. “We’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact these funds will make on the recipient organizations and, in turn, the positive impact made on communities across Montana affected by the fires.”

Volunteer fire departments, fire districts, and communities or individuals impacted by the recent wildfire season were encouraged to apply for assistance.  Grants were administered by the Montana Community Foundation. Their amounts range from $600 to $15,000 and benefit 81 organizations across Montana, primarily rural volunteer fire departments.

The majority of grant requests being fulfilled will be used to buy much-needed personal protection equipment (PPE), radios, equipment such as hoses and nozzles, and other safety gear. 

“Maintaining good communications on the scene of a wildland fire is an essential component of firefighter safety,” said Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz. “Fulfillment of our grant request ensures our volunteers have dependable and adequate radio equipment in our apparatus and will greatly increase their ability to operate safely and effectively when fighting wildland fires in our jurisdiction and throughout the State of Montana.”

In addition to fire departments, other organizations that provided direct relief to victims of wildfires or that are located in a community that suffered losses, such as structural damage or economic hardship, will also receive funding.

MTN stations, in coordination with parent company Cordillera Communications based in St. Paul, Minn., and the Montana Community Foundation, launched the unprecedented fundraising campaign as a way to respond to the need for assistance across the state..  MTN includes KTVQ Billings, KBZK Bozeman, KXLF Butte, KRTV Great Falls, KBGF Great Falls, KTVH Helena, KXLH Helena, KAJ Kalispell and KPAX Missoula. MTN dedicated substantial news time, on-air promotion, and digital advertisements to the effort.

“The Montana Wildfire Relief fund gave MTN a chance to contribute to the communities we serve each day with our local news and programming,” said Cordillera Communications Vice President Jon Saunders.  “The response from people across the country was amazing and something MTN is especially proud to be a part of such a successful endeavor.”

1st Cycle - Grant Awardee Organization
Basin Volunteer Fire Department
Bearpaw Fire Volunteer Department
Belfry Volunteer Fire 
Blankenship Rural Fire District
Boulder Volunteer Fire Department
Boulevard Volunteer Fire Department
Broadview Volunteer Fire Department
Bull Lake Rural Fire District
Cascade City/Rural Fire Department
Chinook Volunteer Fire Department
Chippewa Cree Tribe
Choteau Volunteer Fire Department
Custer County Fire
Dupuyer Volunteer Fire Department
East Glacier Park Volunteer Fire Department
Fairfield Rural Volunteer Fire Department
Finely Point/Yellow Bay Fire Department
Frenchtown Rural Fire District
Gallatin County Rural Fire
Geraldine Volunteer Fire Depaprtment
Gildford Volunteer Fire Department
Golden Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Haley Bench Volunteer Fire Department
Harlem Volunteer Fire Department
Helmville Volunteer Fire Department
Hogeland Volunteer Fire Department
Home Atherton Volunteer Fire Department
Jefferson City Volunteer Fire Department
Joliet Volunteer Fire Department
Landusky Volunteer Fire Department
Lewis & Clark Volunteer Fire Department
Libby Volunteer Fire Department
Lincoln Rural Fire District
Lockwood Fire Department (District 8)
Madison County Emergency Management / Fire Wardens Office
Manchester Volunteer Fire Department
Marion Fire District
Marysville Rural Fire District
Missoula Fire Department
Montana City Volunteer Fire Department
North Toole County Fire Department
Park County Rural Fire District #1
Plains-Paradise Rural Fire District
Polson Fire Department
Poplar Volunteer Fire Department 
Red Lodge Fire Rescue
Roberts Fire District 6
Rosebud County Fire
Sand Coulee Vol Fire Department
Seeley Lake Rural Fire Department
Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department
Sun Prairie Rural Volunteer Fire
Superior Volunteer Fire Department
Tri-Lakes Fire Service Area
Turner Volunteer Fire Department 
Ulm Volunteer Fire Department/Ulm Fire Service Area
Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department
Victor Volunteer Rural Fire Department
West Kootenai Fire Protection Company
West Valley Volunteer Fire Depot (Anaconda)
Winifred Rural Fire Department
Wolf Creek / Craig Fire Service Area
York Fire Rescue
Zortman Fire Hall, Inc.

2nd Cycle - Grant Awardee Organization
406 Family Aid Foundation
Alpine Artisans, Inc.
American Lung Association in Montana
American Red Cross of Montana
Arlee Volunteer Fire Department
Big Sandy Volunteer Fire Department 
Climate Smart Missoula
Eureka Chamber of Commerce
Fuego Volunteer Fire Company
Grass Range Rural Fire District
Madison County Emergency Management / Fire Warden
Missoula City-County Health Department
Missoula Rural Fire District
Seeley Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
Seeley Lake Community Foundation
Three Mile Community-Senior Center
Trego, Fortine, Stryker Volunteer Fire Department 


Here is the Montana Wildfire Relief special that aired on MTN in September: 

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