2016 Awards Announcement

Greater Montana Foundation awards over $300,000 in communications and media education grants

At the annual summer board meeting, the Greater Montana Foundation awarded over $300,000 in 2016 grants, elected two new trustees and launched two education initiatives designed to encourage Montana news reporters to address the top issue identified by Montanans in a 2015 survey:  jobs and the economy.  The Foundation is also funding a follow-up survey to better understand how Montanans use the Internet to access news.

Helena attorney, Leo Berry, Browning, Kalecyzk, Berry and Hoven law firm, and former Commissioner of State Lands, and Mary Willmarth, Great Falls, co-owner and partner in Vision West, and active in communications and marketing, were named to the board.

“Our grant awards are intended to strengthen quality communications on “issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans with an emphasis on electronic media,” as reflected in our mission statement, “said William Whitsitt, Board Chair.  “Using professional surveys to determine what those values are will provide a better focus for our granting. Offering educational opportunities to members of the media to improve their reporting of the top issue, will mean a better informed public.”

Grants provide funding for a wide range of recipients, including Montana PBS and Montana Public Radio, as well as commercial broadcasters and online publications.  They also support students in TV and radio at the state’s universities.  A variety of documentaries, interview and webinar news programs, and an award-winning after school media training program also received grants.

Ed Craney, pioneer broadcaster, entrepreneur and philanthropist, established the Greater Montana Foundation in 1958, long before public radio and TV or the internet were available.  GMF offers awards for excellence and continuing professional development for Montana broadcasters, through the Montana Broadcasters Association EB awards, reflecting Mr. Craney’s emphasis on commercial broadcasting.  At the MBA annual convention, GMF funded a debate between Governor Steve Bullock and candidate Greg Gianforte.  Also reflecting Mr. Craney’s interest are grants to commercial TV stations, with the most recent to KRTV-MTN, funding a reporter to accompany the Montana National Guard on a training mission to Romania.

Read the Grants by Town here.