Supporting rural communities in Montana, Idaho and Appalachian Kentucky.

The Steele-Reese Foundation is a charitable trust committed to supporting rural communities and the tax-exempt entities that serve them in Idaho, Montana, in the Native nations that share the geography, and in Appalachian Kentucky. Since its inception, the Foundation has maintained a focus on the unique challenges of rural living and on helping people build healthy, successful, and sustainable communities.

Eleanor Steele Reese, daughter of Charles Steele – a banker, lawyer, and business associate of J.P. Morgan – created The Steele-Reese Foundation in 1955. The Foundation's name honors Eleanor's family as well as the family of her husband, Emmet Reese, who grew up in the Appalachian foothills community of East Bernstadt, KY. The couple found strength and fulfillment in their work as cattle ranchers in Idaho and they created the Foundation as a lasting commitment to their rural values.

In Idaho, Montana, and in the Native nations within these states, the Foundation supports federally tax-exempt entities working in rural education; health; human and social services; the arts and humanities; and land, water, and wildlife conservation and historic preservation. 

In Appalachian Kentucky, the Foundation dedicates its support to federally tax-exempt entities working in rural education. 

Applications from organizations operating outside of the Foundation's regional or program areas are not eligible for funding. At times, the program areas and priorities of the Appalachian Kentucky Grant Program may vary from those of the Idaho and Montana Grant Program. Please check back periodically for the latest updates (at right) about the Foundation's priorities and application policies.


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Latest Update

2020 Grant Programs

Idaho and Montana Grant Program

The Idaho and Montana Grant Program begins the grant application process with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) for projects in rural communities. For the 2020 grant cycle, we will accept 150 LOIs beginning on December 2, 2019. The process will close once we have received 150 LOIs, or by Wednesday, January 8, 2020, before 11:59 pm Mountain Time, whichever occurs first. Log on to your account to track the number of LOIs submitted to date. The 2020 LOI Worksheet is available to download at any time. See the Idaho and Montana Grant Program page for details. Contact Linda Tracy, Western Director, with any questions related to proposed requests for work in rural Idaho, Montana, or in Native nations that share the geography. 


Appalachian Kentucky Grant Program

Grant application forms for the 2020 Appalachian Kentucky program are now available online here. For the 2020 Appalachian Kentucky grant season, The Steele-Reese Foundation will be considering education proposals benefiting pre-kindergarten and K-12 school-aged children. Please contact Judy Owens, Appalachian Director, for additional information. The grant application deadline is March 30, 2020.