The Mission of the West Yellowstone Foundation is to strengthen the sense of community and to enhance the economic vitality in West Yellowstone and Hebgen Lake Basin, Montana.
The vision of the West Yellowstone Foundation is to Build Community Together. This is a constant work in progress as the target is always moving but through building relationships, collaboration and communication, the West Yellowstone Foundation and the West Yellowstone Community can work together to solve our unique, rural problems. We focus on 7 target areas as we carry out our mission and vision: basic human needs, education, conservation, historic preservation, natural resources, economic development, and arts and culture.
West Yellowstone Community Foundation Established in 1992 by Steffi & Arne Siegel
West Yellowstone Foundation is a result of a visionary dream, hard work and the dedication of its Founders. There is no greater call than that to be of service of others. Join us as we serve our community!
The Foundation was formed as the first affiliate of the Montana Community Foundation. We are now joined by a collective of community affiliates, dedicated board members whose goal is being advocates for our children, elders, cultural heritage, natural environment, our economic vitality and for the great many visitors we welcome from around the world each year. The charitable contributions made to the West Yellowstone Foundation have grown into endowments, scholarships, gifts, bequests and grants that serve our non-profits, our students, historic preservation efforts, artists, families, and endowments that serve us all.
Our community is unique because of its gateway to the world’s first National Park. Yellowstone National Park is a global destination known for its spectacular nature, fly fishing and geothermal features, including the largest super-volcano on the continent. Yellowstone National Park draws visitors from all over the world to our doorstep while our high elevation, deep snow and remote Montana niche keep necessary resources at arm’s length.
Join us in forming partnerships and allocation resources to set the stage for a better tomorrow. Unite with us in preserving and enhancing what we all love about our West Yellowstone region for generations to come.
WHAT WE DO
Since 1994, we have provided public transit for our rural community members to healthcare appointments and other resources that are not available in our small town. We provide public transit to Bozeman (a four-hour round-trip ride) twice weekly so that folks can get to doctor’s appointments, shopping, DMV, Social Security Office, airport and other services or goods that are not available in our small community. Currently this service is providing the independence needed for several community members to stay comfortably in their own homes in West Yellowstone while they are receiving lifesaving cancer treatments and wound care in Bozeman one to two times a week.
The West Yellowstone has provided over one million dollars in noncompetitive scholarships to graduates of West Yellowstone High School so that our rural youth have access to education and training. In 2004, we started our scholarship program by awarding $1000 per student; our program has grown to award $20,000 over 4 years to every graduate that qualifies. With class sizes recently experiencing record growth, it is getting more and more challenging to be able to meet our goals. In 2022 we are awarding $160,000 to West Yellowstone graduates, this is made possible through several funding sources; WYF Scholarship Endowment, Siegel Family, Cross Charitable Foundation, Povah-Davis Family, Manship-Dumke Family, Serniak-Morrison Family, Yellowstone Club Community Foundation and many individual donors (the most individual donations we have ever had!).
Over the last 30 years, we have awarded over $318,000 in quarterly community grants to over 155 projects in the town of West Yellowstone and Hebgen Lake Basin area. Our goal is to exhaust our budgeted grant funds every year to fund projects that address the changing needs of the community in the focus areas of: Arts and Culture, Basic Human Needs, Education, Economic Vitality, Natural Resources, Conservation, Historic Preservation.
We have been the fiscal sponsor for several organizations while they were in the process of obtaining their own 501(c)3 designation or implementing large projects. Along with managing their finances we offer mentoring services and resources to help these organizations navigate their way to their own nonprofit status or achieve their project goals. We provide comprehensive partnership to ensure success.
We are currently the fiscal sponsors of two projects; Green Up and the Bob Jacklin Casting Pond.
In addition to our own endowments, we encourage and provide assistance to other local organizations to host their own endowments under the West Yellowstone umbrella. In 2021 we had 18 endowments, including 13 of which provide funding opportunities for other local organizations addressing community needs such as the food bank, youth recreation, youth mental health and historic preservation. We believe that endowments are the key to a long-term, sustainable program and have been working hard over the last few years to build our endowments up to 4.8 million dollars so that one day soon, we will be able to fully fund all our main initiatives ourselves. Three years ago we made a lofty goal of raising one million dollars towards our general operating endowment in honor of our co-founder, Arne Siegel. We are proud to say that we are only $53,000 away from this goal! Building this endowment allows us to have stable funding for many years to come in order to continue our community service work and expand our services.
Addressing other pressing community needs as they arise: In addition to several past projects such as helping to implement STEM early education by establishing Little Rangers Early Learning Center, we currently have two major projects on the horizon:
Youth Leadership Development, High School Career Fair
Basic Human Needs