Supporting rural communities in Montana, Idaho and Appalachian Kentucky.

The Steele-Reese Foundation is a charitable trust committed to supporting rural communities and the nonprofit organizations that serve them in Idaho, Montana, and 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. 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.

The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations working in the areas of rural education; health; human/social services; the arts and humanities; and land, water, and wildlife conservation and historic preservation. Applications from organizations operating outside of the Foundation's regional or programming 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


2018 Grant Programs

Grant application forms for the Appalachian Kentucky program are now available at: For the 2018 grant season, Steele-Reese will be considering education proposals only. Please contact Judy Owens, Appalachian Director, at for additional information. Grant deadline is March 1, 2018.

The Idaho and Montana Grant Program begins the grant application process with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) for projects in all program areas. We accept LOIs between December 1, 2017, and January 10, 2018, before 11:59 pm Mountain Time. If the Foundation is able to consider a request, we will send a response by March 1 inviting a full application, which will be due April 2, 2018.


We encourage you to contact the Foundation's Appalachian Director, Judy Owens, or Western Director, Linda Tracy, with any questions about these changes to our policies, or with questions about your organization's proposed request.