Rural Education

The Foundation focuses on early childhood to Grade 12 education programming. Examples include funding for supplemental programs in early childhood education settings; elementary, middle, and high school programs that improve outcomes for students; support of literacy programs and out-of-school-time services; and charter schools and other model school programs that provide quality educational options for students and families. We also provide assistance to small public libraries. The Foundation does not accept applications to directly fund higher education, though we will consider early childhood to Grade 12 programs run by colleges or universities or state or local education districts. The Foundation also supports a small college scholarship program for graduates of high schools in Lemhi and Custer Counties, Idaho (please see the Idaho Scholarships page on this web site).

The Foundation is primarily interested in education projects that demonstrate a comprehensive level of engagement with participants that result in clear and measurable outcomes. We are not typically able to fund those projects with single or limited interactions with students or those whose primary outcome is to raise awareness or introduce a concept.

Rural Human/Social Services

Examples include programs for low-income and under-represented populations, including elders, homeless individuals, people living with disabilities, young children, disadvantaged or disconnected older youth, young people or adults involved in the criminal justice system, and survivors of abuse or domestic violence. Examples also include local fire-protection services, parks and other civic improvements, and local food banks.

Rural Conservation and Preservation

Examples include land, wildlife, and historic preservation and restoration projects; ecosystem protection programs; and water projects. All conservation or environmental programs must be locally focused.

National organizations are eligible for support only if all Steele-Reese funds will be employed directly in projects located in the geographical areas served by the Foundation and if the coordinating entity can demonstrate substantial connections to the people and organizations in these areas.

Rural Health

Examples include services in preventive health programs; medical clinics; small hospitals; EMS and ambulance units; family-planning programs, and hospices. While the Foundation has, in a limited manner, supported equipment purchases for rural medical facilities, it is not currently considering unsolicited requests for such purposes in Idaho and Montana (Kentucky organizations may still approach the Foundation with requests for medical equipment).

Rural Arts and Humanities

Examples include local visual arts programs, music and performance arts, and the broader support of creative arts activities and efforts to maintain the rich histories of the Foundation’s funding geographies. 

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