Educational Assistance Grants to Encourage and Support Media Reporting on Jobs, Business and the Economy

September 23rd, 2016

The Greater Montana Foundation is now offering new education assistance grants to individual Montana news media professionals and journalism students to strengthen their ability to report more effectively on issues of jobs and the economy. The $500 per person grants are for any course related to these issues, whether on-line or in-person, at any of the state’s post-secondary institutions.

A recent media survey undertaken by GMF indicated that jobs and the economy are the top concern for Montanans, said Chair Dr. Bill Whitsitt. “It is our goal to respond to this concern by providing financial assistance to working journalists and journalism students to improve their knowledge and skills.”

The new grant program was announced at a GMF-sponsored seminar on Jobs, Business and the Economy held at the University of Montana. It was taught by School of Business Administration and School of Journalism faculty, as well as practitioners from media and business.

The grants are being publicized at this time so that working journalists, journalist students and others in related fields can plan to apply in advance of the Spring 2017 semester. Information and application packets are available at the Greater Montana Foundation’s website,

Dr. Whitsitt said that GMF partners with all types of media organizations, with emphasis on commercial and non-commercial broadcasters, as well as independent producers and organizations, in a competitive grants process.
The grant awards include documentaries, political debates, topical news and public affairs programming, videos and webinars. GMF also funds training for future broadcasters and internships at radio and TV stations awarded through the state’s university system.

Founded by pioneer broadcaster Ed Craney in 1958, the Greater Montana Foundation’s mission is to encourage communication, with an emphasis on electronic media, on issues, trends and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans.

Please review the program summary, below, prior to completing the grant application.


The Vision/Mission statement of the Greater Montana Foundation 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 accordance with its vision and mission, the Greater Montana Foundation (GMF) has determined by quantitative and qualitative research that Montanans rank issues involving jobs and the economy as the highest priority set of issues facing our state. The Trustees of the Greater Montana Foundation believe that improvements in media reporting on such issues should be encouraged and supported.
The resulting educational assistance program described below has been approved by the IRS to provide grants to qualified applicants without the applicants incurring a tax liability.

Program Summary

In addition to news and public affairs program grants and educational and internship grants that the GMF makes to and through other non-profit organizations such as the University of Montana, the Trustees have approved a program to encourage and assist Journalism students, working journalists and those in direct supporting positions such as editors, news directors and program producers, who wish to improve their knowledge, skills and ability to report on economics, business, jobs and related subjects and who will provide feedback on their progress in so doing. Grants are made to individuals to provide educational incentives and to help defer tuition costs of college- and/or university-level courses in economics, business and related subjects.

Grant Amounts

Grants are $500 per college- or university-level course, transmitted to successful applicants in advance of courses in anticipation of successful completion. Applicants must agree to return grants in the event courses are not successfully completed.

Eligible Grant Applicants

Montana Journalism students, working journalists and those in direct supporting positions such as editors, news directors and program producers are eligible for grants made to individuals selected by the Greater Montana Foundation. Not eligible are GMF employees, trustees, donors, or their relatives.
Grant Consideration Process

The Greater Montana Foundation Grants Committee, with final Board of Trustees approval, determines eligibility of applicants and awarding of grants as necessary during the year, based on the Committee’s evaluation of how well the applicants meet the criteria listed below. Grants are made on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis.

Grant Requirements

Grant applicants must plan to attend a Montana institution of higher learning (college or University) and, in the case of working journalist or support field employee, be employed by a Montana news organization.
All prospective grant-receiving students must meet entry, and/or course prerequisite, requirements of the institution providing the course(s) being sought.
Working journalists must obtain a recommendation or endorsement by his/her employer as well as adequate schedule flexibility permission to take a course with GMF assistance.

Students and working journalists must explain why they are applying for the grants, how they anticipate benefitting by the courses, and how they anticipate applying what they will have learned.

Applicants must agree to provide GMF with feedback on the program upon course completion, including educational institution evidence of successful course completion.

Applicants must agree to return all grant funds if a course is not completed.
Applicants must agree to provide, within one year following successful completion of courses, a brief report one year following course completion on:

  • whether or how their new knowledge and skills were put to practical use to improve media reporting on business, economics and related topics; and,
  • whether or how they expect they will be able to continue to use knowledge and skills obtained through the program into the future.

Roles of Colleges and Universities

Accredited Montana higher education institutions provide eligible courses from their standard curricula course offerings, and provide to GMF any advice or recommendations they believe to be appropriate regarding the program.

The Greater Montana Foundation compiles and tracks information on the program and its results from participant and educational institution reports and other feedback. Both the GMF Grants Committee and the full Board of Trustees review the program annually to recommend and approve program improvements.

Further information and an application form are available here.

Questions may be addressed to Ms. Sidney Armstrong, Executive Director of the Greater Montana Foundation.

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