From the Chairman, Dr. Bill Whitsitt
Thanks for your interest in the Greater Montana Foundation.
I hope you’ll explore our website, and that you’ll find it to be interesting and useful as you think about our vision and mission – and how we go about our work. Most important, I hope you’ll contact us if you have questions, comments or suggestions.
Founded in 1958 by pioneer Montana broadcaster, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ed Craney, we believe the GMF’s vision/mission statement reflects what Ed would want us to be about, even as communications technology continues to change dramatically and the important interests and concerns of Montanans evolve. That statement is:
The Greater Montana Foundation
benefits the people of Montana by encouraging communication,
with an emphasis on electronic media,
on issues, trends and values of importance
to present and future generations of Montanans.
In fulfilling our vision and mission, the Foundation makes numerous program, scholarship and other grants to a wide range of applicants, from commercial broadcasters that are our heritage and foundational interest, to public broadcasters, nonprofit groups, and institutions such as the Montana Historical Society. Because of our commitment to helping educate future broadcasters and electronic media-focused journalists, we make annual grants to the University of Montana School of Journalism for a variety of programs, including student internships and documentaries. And we also fund the annual E.B. Craney Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting in cooperation with the Montana Broadcasters Association.
We are particularly proud of such television and radio programs as statewide candidate debates, news programs and important documentaries and discussions that address key issues. Many achieve wide state and national viewership.
The commercial and non-commercial radio and TV programs we fund are available to any broadcast outlet wishing to air them, as well as to schools and to libraries for public use. Lists of these programs are available elsewhere on this site.
In the Spring of 2015 the GMF Board launched an important statewide Issues and Media Preferences communications research project with two purposes. The first was to gain insights into what Montanans believe to be the most important issues facing our state. The second was to learn more about how Montanans receive information on those issues. The results are important to not only the GMF, but to organizations of all kinds interested in communicating with Montanans. They are important to our citizens as well. And they are also available elsewhere on our website. I encourage you take a look, and perhaps dive deeply into the data provided in our summary slide set.
Principal among our findings were that Montanans are firmly in the Internet communications age, but that traditional sources of information – led by television, but also with strong contributions by radio and even community newspapers – are crucial to Montanans’ understanding of issues and their communities.
We know that all media sectors are facing stunning technology changes and seeking new business models that will continue or improve their success. Which brings me back to Ed Craney. Just as Ed embraced new radio technology in putting his first station in Butte 1929, and then television and translators to bring programs to rural Montana, I’m certain he would be a technology leader today.
We at the Greater Montana Foundation will continue to focus on ensuring that we are also embracing change and leading the way toward the communication on “…issues, trends and values of importance…” as Ed would have wanted.
William F. Whitsitt, Ph.D.