October 5th, 2021


Montana Broadcasters Association. $21,635 for the annual EB awards. The "EB Awards" are named in honor of Montana broadcast pioneer Edmund B. Craney and recognize excellence in local news, production, promotion, and public service. The awards are presented annually during the Montana Broadcasters Association convention. For two years, the awards ceremony had to be broadcast, but there are hopes for a live dinner and ceremony in 2022. That will be the 60th anniversary of the EBs.

An MBA committee developed new requirements for judging and new categories. GMF Trustee emeritus Bill Whitsitt played an important role in this effort. The EBs were live, produced in MTPBS studio, and some awardees were able to participate via Zoom. Radio staff were elsewhere. This can be accessed on YouTube.

Montana Free Press. $20,000 for continued support of this nationally recognized, award-winning, nonprofit online newspaper. GMF support is specifically for reporter Eric Dietrich’s economic stories, Long Streets. This series contains some of MTFP’s most impactful reporting, by all measures. Stories have also focused on the impact Covid 19 is having on the state’s economy

The Montana Free Press model is a new way to present the news. It is entirely funded by grants and contributions, aiming for high excellence and independence in reporting. Content is available to newspapers, on-line and radio, and free individual subscriptions. In the efforts to find better ways to get news out to readers, MTFP now includes podcasts, as well as print.

Montana Television Network. $40,000 of continued support for the story-telling series, Under the Big Sky, which recognizes and emphasizes community, pride, and Montanans’ entrepreneurial spirit. The program has won awards from the Montana Broadcasters Association and has received 3 Northwest Emmys. Stories are available on YouTube and MTN’s website.

Montana History Foundation, $8000, as fiscal sponsor for Reframing Rural, an original podcast series, whose mission is to share untold stories of people and places in rural Montana. This is an effort to celebrate culture, preserve history and cultivate curiosity and conversation across geographic, class and cultural divide. The founder, Megan Torgerson’s, rural homeplace is Dagmar, Montana, and stories on her first podcast captured stories from this small, agricultural community on ancestral Assiniboine land in the state’s extreme northeast corner. The podcast funded by GMF will focus on an interview-based approach with rural-raised, rural-based and rural-centered artists, academics, and activists from the Rocky Mountain West, Heartland and Pacific Northwest.

Montana has long prided itself on values rooted in rural culture, such as neighborliness, resilience, and a strong work ethic. Reframing Rural celebrates these values and frames a narrative through gratitude.

Montana PBS. $50,000 in continued support for the Friends of Montana PBS Program Fund. Support includes that for various regular MTPBS Montana programs, such as 11th and Grant and Backroads of Montana, along with several new broadcasts and documentaries. MTPBS also includes the broadcast of other GMF funded films, such as MAPS Media youth films.

Next year there will be new documentaries in addition to those Montana-based programs GMF already funds, including the Rise of the Freemen, one of the longest standoffs in Montana history, almost 25 years ago, and a documentary about George Bird Grinnell to illuminate the man and his life, placing him in the forefront of conservation, preservation, and indigenous cultural efforts. 2022 will also include important election coverage.

MTPR. $25,000 in continued funding for Montana Public Radio. There are several different programs which align with GMF’s mission. GMF funding will support three important programs: Economic business reporting, Can Do: Lessons from Montana Entrepreneurs, and the Write Question.

MTPR continues its long history of covering many important economic and business-related stories and will continue to address the issues of economic recovery from the Covid 19 Pandemic. Also included will be information from Montana entrepreneurs, and how they have adapted to the Pandemic, as well as “The Write Question,” a literary program, featuring authors from the western United States.


Montana State University. $10,000 for a film based on a special report of the work at Montana State University, Climate Change and Human Health in Montana. This special report by medical providers, climate scientists and an array of state, tribal, academic, and rural community sources, will be made into a film which addresses the issues and outlines what Montanans can do about them. There are many adverse effects and Montanans can learn about them in a sound, scientific, but not too technical, way through the film.

Montana Sessions. $20,000. An additional grant for this award-winning, unique music program, which features Montana musicians playing in spectacular outdoor Montana settings. Winning awards, shown online, at music festivals and on MTPBS, the successful series has garnered viewers from around the country and even from Germany.

One Montana. $5000 in funding to support brief videos, “The Montana Way,” to help bridge the urban-rural divide. These videos will showcase work connections and the valuable work done by landowners in conservation and many areas. The videos will help newcomers understand Montana better and build respect. There will be an emphasis on relationships between farmers and sportsmen and ways they can collaborate. The emphasis will be on a way to bring people together, with more understanding and respect.

Turtle Island Tales. Fiscal sponsor, Montana Kids Co-op. $14,500 for short, child-focused videos, emphasizing Native American foods and healthy eating. They feature Darnell Rides at the Door, actress and grandmother advisor, and her puppet grandson, Igmu, the bobcat. Videos will be available for schools and MTPBS. The team is working with MTPBS to create longer films on this critically important subject as well. The teams work with MSU medical research and Home Economics. Eating locally grown foods and traditional Native American meals is healthy and can help prevent diseases, such as diabetes.


MAPS Media Institute Programs, $24,000 for this free professional media arts, after-school program for high school students in a four-county area. The increasingly successful program offers film, graphic design, new technologies, podcast and photojournalism. The program continues to win state and national awards, while several student films are shown on MTPBS.

MAPS Mobile Lab, $24,000, the successful statewide outreach program of MAPS Media programs. This provides the means for integrating media arts with a service-learning curriculum to serve rural, underserved youth in rural and reservation communities. MAPS professional artist-educators travel to rural and reservation towns and facilitate intentional community arts projects with middle and high school students.

To continue programs during Covid 19, they were able to go online and make changes which work. MAPS has made significant progress with their work, regardless of the challenges. In Fort Peck, all four schools in the district are making the MAPS program part of their regular school day curriculum. More is planned for the fall, with MAPS native students’ films featured at the International Traditional Games Society.


Crow Language Consortium. $7000 to continue support for Crow language YouTube Videos. These are a series of companion YouTube videos for children’s picture books in both Crow and Northern Cheyenne languages. A fluent elder in each language will read the stories, which will be subtitled in the target language and in English. These are part of an effort for language preservation and revitalization program. Language and culture are inextricably intertwined, especially in the case of especially in the case of Indigenous languages and the language revitalization projects protect and celebrate an integral aspect of Montana history and culture.


UM Radio & TV. $19,500 in continued support for various programs, though some had to be postponed because of the Covid Pandemic: the student documentary film and Native News Honor project could not be completed. Business: Made in Montana also could not be made, as businesses did not allow students in. Others could continue, but the amount requested reflects a lower amount, due to Covid 19 and the inability to complete these programs. This meant there are funds remaining from last year’s grant, but there are hopes they can be used this year. From the Craney endowment for equipment, a new router and mics were purchased.

Big Sky Film Institute. $10,000 for the Youth and Native American Documentary Outreach program. While Covid has changed some of their methods, the Institute has been working successfully online and in person. There are three areas which GMF helps fund: Native Filmmaker Initiative Film Club, supported by tribes and OPI; Filmmakers in the Schools, Festival selected films and filmmakers visit schools; and Teen Doc Intensive, a brief, in-depth crash course in filmmaking. These are all non-fiction films

Montana Playwrights Network. President Pamela Mencher requests funding for a radio series, Montanans at Work. The programs, about 30 minutes long, will highlight and explore different areas of employment in Montana and they will be broadcast on a variety of community and public radio stations. They are also adding a streaming feature.


Granite County Historical Society. $20,000 for Montana Risk Takers, a proposed documentary on the history of mining in the Philipsburg area. The film is in the pre-production stage, interviewing those who lived through some of this area and researching documents. Many were involved in this dangerous and difficult occupation. MTPBS has indicated an interest in the final product.

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