Idaho and Montana Grant Program

We support Rural Education, Rural Human/Social Services, Rural Conservation and Preservation, Rural Health, and Rural Arts and Humanities projects. Read our Overall Guidelines.

New in 2020: LOI Process Limited to 150 Applicants

In its Idaho and Montana Grant Program, The Steele-Reese Foundation makes grants only to federally tax-exempt entities for work in rural Idaho and Montana communities, and in Native nations that share the geography. We encourage potential applicants to review the What We Fund section, the Letter of Inquiry Worksheet, and to contact Linda Tracy, Western Director to discuss your proposal before submitting a Letter of Inquiry for the Foundation's consideration. 

The Foundation will only consider requests that benefit rural communities in Idaho, Montana, and in Native nations located within these states. We will not consider requests for work benefiting urban or suburban areas, or those more rural areas immediately adjacent, or in close proximity, to an urbanized area. In Idaho, urban areas include the Boise-Nampa Metropolitan Statistical Area, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Coeur d’Alene, Twin Falls, Lewiston, Post Falls, Rexburg, Moscow, and their suburbs. In Montana, urban areas include Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Kalispell, and their suburbs. 

We give priority to organizations based in rural communities working in rural areas. We will also consider inquiries from organizations based in urban areas for proposed work in a rural community with whom they can demonstrate an existing high level of engagement. 

For funding in Idaho and Montana communities, and Native nations located within these states, the application process begins with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) that must be submitted via the Foundation’s online grant portal. To establish an account, or to access an existing account, click here. You may create an account at any time.

The online 2020 LOI form is available via our grant portal beginning December 2, 2019. We will accept 150 LOIs this year.  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. We anticipate receiving 150 LOIs before this date. When you log on to your account on our grant portal, you will see periodic updates about the number of LOIs submitted or an announcement that we have reached capacity and the LOI process is now closed. 

You can download the 2020 Letter of Inquiry Worksheet at any time. It allows applicants to review questions prior to filling out the form online. It also includes full instructions and answers to frequently asked questions. You may use this worksheet as a tool to prepare your answers offline to paste into the online LOI form between December 2, 2018, and when we have received our limit of 150 LOIs. You must log on to your account, complete the online LOI form, and submit it for your inquiry to be counted among the first 150 we receive. We recommend that you save your work frequently while completing an LOI on our grant portal.

By March 2, 2020, we will respond to all organizations that submit an LOI to either invite them to complete a full application by April 1, 2020, or to inform them that we are unable to further consider their proposals this year. The amount of grant funds available limits the number of applications we are able to invite and the number of them we are able to fund. An LOI that does not result in an invitation for a full application, or an application that does not receive funding, is in no way a reflection of the value of an organization or its work. Those organizations that receive a grant will receive checks in late August or early September after signing grant agreements.

If you would like to explore the possible fit between your priorities and what we are able to consider supporting, please contact Linda Tracy, Western Director, between August and December. If you have any questions or difficulties, we encourage you to contact her well ahead of the LOI deadline.