Montana Wildfire Relief Fund

The 2017 Montana wildfires have claimed two lives and more than a million acres.

The Montana Wildfire Relief Fund (MWRF) is a fund established at the Montana Community Foundation (MCF) to efficiently and effectively respond to the current wildfire disaster in Montana and future disasters affecting our state.


Grantmaking decisions are made by an MCF staff-led committee in consultation with an organization local to the disaster whenever possible, in an effort to provide the most effective support utilizing local knowledge.

Eight principles will be followed in responding to the this disaster and the grantmaking decision process:

  1. Do no harm (Ensure relief is appropriate, useful and does not create additional problems).
  2. Stop, look and listen before taking action (Information is key and every disaster has unique characteristics that must be examined before deciding how best to take action).
  3. Don’t act in isolation (Coordination between disaster grantmakers, victims, organizations “on the ground” and other stakeholders is key. Information must be exchanged and needs must be prioritized appropriately).
  4. Think beyond the immediate crisis (Long-term planning and preparation are also key areas that may need support. Also, the long-term effects of current relief must be examined).
  5. Bear in mind the expertise of local organizations (Community-based organizations with a local presence are the first on the scene and often know best what assistance is needed. They may also have the best insight into the political, social and cultural context of the disaster).
  6. Find out how prospective grantees operate (Understand the approach of the organizations/efforts we fund as they may vary widely).
  7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help (We must be accountable not only to our donors and board, but also to the other stakeholders in a disaster such as the victims and organizations we decide to fund).
  8. Communicate your work and use it as an educational tool (We will share best practices and lessons learned to help others in their own disaster relief efforts). 

Montana Community Foundation

33 S. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 2A
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-8313 (406) 443-8313
Email MCF

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