Supporting rural communities in
Montana, Idaho and Applachian 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.
2024 Grant Programs
Idaho and Montana Grant Program
The Idaho and Montana Grant Program for work in rural communities begins with an online Letter of Inquiry (LOI). The 2023 LOI process opens on January 16, 2023 and closes once we have received 100 LOIs or on January 31, 2023, whichever occurs first. See the Idaho and Montana Grant Program page for details and download the 2023 Letter of Inquiry Information Packet. This packet also includes details of open question and answer sessions via Zoom. Contact Linda Tracy, Western Director, with any questions related to proposed requests for work in rural Idaho, Montana, or in Native nations with whom we share this geography.
Appalachian Kentucky Grant Program
Grant application forms for the 2024 Appalachian Kentucky program will be available in mid-November 2023. For the 2024 Appalachian Kentucky grant season, Steele-Reese will continue to support counties profoundly affected by extreme flooding in July 2022. Counties declared as disaster areas by Gov. Andy Beshear include: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley. Steele-Reese Foundation will support education proposals benefiting pre-kindergarten and K-12 school-aged children for all Appalachian Kentucky counties. Please contact Judy Owens, Appalachian Director, for additional information. The grant application deadline is March 1, 2024.