January 10th, 2020


(GMF awards over $335,000 in grants)


$38,880 ($19,000 in late 2018) for the GMF’s third Communications Research: In-depth Follow-up Quantitative Survey on Internet Use for News and Information in Montana, including the news conference announcing the findings. This is the statewide News Media survey, administered by University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, weighted by gender, age, education, rural versus urban and political preference, as taken from the US Census Bureau and Gallup, Inc. Top issues for Montanans continued to be Jobs and the Economy; Healthcare, Education, with the added issue of Spending and State Taxes (the survey was conducted during the Montana legislative session), and Drugs. The survey and responses are available on the GMF website.


Friends of MTPBS: $40,000 for the Montana Friends of PBS Program Fund, for broadcast and online, with continuing support for numerous programs, including Backroads of Montana; 11th and Grant; and new programs: Landscapes of a Western Mind: The Story of Ivan Doig; Mavericks, the freestyle skiing legacy of Montanans competing in World Cup and Olympic competitions; Barns of Montana: A Documentary; The Rundown with Jackie Coffin, and several documentaries in the planning process.

Montana Broadcasters Association: $36,511 for the annual EB awards for broadcast excellence. Named in honor of broadcast pioneer E.B. Craney, GMF founder, and funded annually by GMF, the “EBs” recognize excellence in a variety of categories through a competitive process, encouraging and rewarding the best of Montana broadcasting.

Montana Free Press: $20,000 in continued support for the Long Streets series of on-line stories featuring in-depth reporting on important issues related to Montana’s economy. Web-based stories, which appear on the website of the Montana Free Press, are available for re-publication by commercial and non-commercial Montana news outlets, including broadcaster websites and daily and weekly newspapers.

Montana Historical Society: $7,000 to digitize selections of the KRTV audio visual collection for addition to the Archives. This collection was transferred from the Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana, and includes many important programs, including longtime former GMF trustee, Norma Ashby’s “Today in Montana.”

Montana Public Radio: $20,000 in continued program support, in areas such as general economic reporting; and for programs including Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Entrepreneurs; the Richest Hill, future history of American’s biggest Superfund site; and The Write question.

Montana Wilderness Association: $2000 for Trail of the Week: Supporting Montana’s Outdoor Recreation Economy, with 52 one minute spots, partnering with eleven radio stations, and featured on MWA website. The spots feature lesser known trails on public lands throughout Montana, with narratives featuring trail highlights. The website also emphasizes local businesses in each trail’s area.


Billings Library Foundation: $3000 for PSAs focused on promoting “1000 Books Before Kindergarten,” a national initiative to promote reading and libraries for young children, in order to improve their opportunity for success in school.

Friends of Yellowstone Public Radio: $10,000 in continued support for in-house produced, local shows, made by Montanans for Montanans. These include: Flavors Under the Big Sky, investigating many aspects of Montana food; Resounds: Arts and Culture on the High Plains; art and artists located in the High Plains of Montana and Wyoming; Field Days, produced with The Prairie Star newspaper which follows a single farmer or rancher through each season; and Billings Symphony Concerts, featuring encore concerts from the last ten years, and a new local show, Fifty-Six Counties, based on the book by the same name by author Russell Rowland, and broadcast by the author as he travels throughout our state; and a new podcast, the Weekly News Review.


Montana State University School of Film and Photography: $2,000 for the annual Hugh Galusha-Ed Craney award for two outstanding senior film projects.

Universal Vision: $10,000 in continued support for this Emmy-nominated series, The Montana Sessions, a broadcast and digital series, which takes Montana’s premier
musicians, recording them live in our state’s most scenic locations. The series captures the music that reflects Montana’s values, history and trends.


Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives: $5000 for an audio project as part of the “All Nations” program, which features in various ways the diversity of nations which built Butte and our state This audio project will feature stores of four groups, nationalities, who have been involved, but may not be as well known. With research and workshops, original material and oral histories, there will be four segments, each 30m minutes. They will be broadcast by Butte Broadcasting

MAPS Media Institute: $60,000 total: $20,000 in continued support for the award-winning MAPS Media Institute free after-school program serving four county schools. The public/private partnership integrates science, technology, engineering, the arts and math concepts within a media arts and service learning curriculum, including an entrepreneurial program. In 2017, MAPS was one of 12 programs in the nation to receive a National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs award, the highest honor for organizations dedicated to creative youth development; $40,000 for the MAPS Media Mobile Lab, the statewide outreach program. In response to urgent needs in other rural and tribal communities, MAPS is working with school districts, community partners and donors to provide week-long workshops free of charge to all students for the workshops.


Artemis Common Ground: $10,000 in continued program support for Homeground Radio, Changes and Choices in the American West, which strives to offer a vision of the rural west emphasizing that a healthy economy and conserving our environment are interdependent, and that by working together we can achieve both.

Montana Television Network: $40,000 for Under the Big Sky, a storytelling series produced and distributed by the Montana Television Network. Under the Big Sky focuses on first-person storytelling centered on businesses, individuals or organizations that drive commerce in the state of Montana. Under the Big Sky was previously awarded Program of the Year by the Montana Broadcasters Association and last year was nominated for six Northwest Emmy Awards, winning one. Additionally, each week a bonus portion is part of the stories that will appear in the thirty-minute broadcast. These bonus segments contain story material that would otherwise be discarded in the editorial process due to time constraints. The Under the Big Sky bonus segments were awarded the Feature News Series of the Year by the Montana Broadcasters Association in 2017.


Big Sky Film Institute: $8000 for BSF Youth Documentary Outreach. With a focus on nonfiction films, BSI outreach is especially for economically and socially disadvantaged youth to increase media literacy. The various programs include: Filmmakers in the Schools, BSI Documentary Youth Fellowship, Teen Documentary Intensive, and MFI Film Club.

Friends of Irish Studies: $5000 to support a new documentary film on the life of Thomas Francis Meagher: Irish patriot, Civil War General, and acting Governor of Montana Territory. The film will emphasize his commitment to the cause of Irish freedom and his defense of the democratic rights of all American citizens. This is the story of a people and relationship between the US and Ireland, specifically Montana, that goes back over 150 years. And it deals with issues of immigration, injustice and discrimination that continue to affect this generation.

Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium: $2000 a second grant for Bug Bites, a series of insect and arthropod educational podcast, created with Montana Public Radio. The goal is to further the organization’s mission of educating and inspiring Montanans and decreasing the degree insects and others are feared.

University of Montana Montana Media Lab: $5000 for the Media Literacy and Digital Story Telling Initiative. The initiative targets middle and high school students in rural areas and reservations, providing media training through workshops and going into the schools.

University of Montana School of Radio-TV: $30,000 in continued support for various programs including the summer internship program, graduate student broadcast project, and programs: Business: Made in Montana, and the Montana PBS news brief. The Native News Honor Project will create a series of radio programs to be distributed to commercial stations, with a later video component, as a joint documentary with the Montana Media Arts lab.

From the Heart Productions: $8000 for “When They Were Here,” a documentary film on missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women. Made by Blackfeet filmmakers, the documentary will include several actual stories, showing the devastating effects of violence against Native Women and highlighting information about recent Montana legislation addressing this critical issue.


Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes: $7500 for post-production of a documentary film, “In the Spirit of ?Atatice`: The Untold Story of the National Bison Range, co-produced by the Tribes. This will include screening events to feature panel discussions, expanding on the history of the National Bison Range, as well as the Tribes’ relationship to the Bison Range and to the buffalo generally. The Tribes’ history is inextricably intertwined with the specific lands of the Bison Range and its buffalo herd. The film chronicles a number of relevant events and issues.

General Grants

General grants are available for nonprofits and others: for film, TV programs, documentaries, videos, webinars, etc. with applications due annually on April 1 and awards made in June.

Commercial Grants

A major goal for GMF’s founder, Ed Craney was to improve commercial broadcasting in the state. There is no deadline for grant applications from commercial stations if you can demonstrate that this is an urgent and critical issue & production is time-limited