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Cinnabar Foundation Awards Grants

$363,000 Given to 68 Organizations


MISSOULA – The Cinnabar Foundation’s board of directors met in mid-June to review applications from 126 groups for its 2016 competitive grant-making cycle. All applicants are conservation-oriented nonprofit organizations or institutions serving Montana or the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

After two days of meetings, the Cinnabar Foundation’s board selected 68 groups as recipients of the Foundation’s 2016 Challenge Grants including Swan Valley Connections in Condon and the Blackfoot Challenge in Ovando. Grants totaled $363,000, and ranged from $1,000 to $15,000 each.

“The decision-making process is always difficult,” said Foundation President Robin Tawney Nichols, “with many worthwhile organizations and special projects competing for a limited amount of funds.”

According to Foundation Executive Director Gary Wolfe, “Cinnabar’s grantees represent a broad spectrum of Montana’s environmental and conservation community; and include land trusts, environmental education institutions, sportsman-conservation organizations and groups dedicated to sustainable agriculture, public lands and responsible environmental policies.”

“The Cinnabar Foundation has been a consistent supporter of Montana private land conservation,” said Glenn Marx, executive director of the Montana Association of Land Trusts. “With more than two million acres of private land conserved, Montana is a nationally recognized leader in both the quality and quantity of land conservation. Since 1986, Cinnabar’s grants have reliably helped Montana’s land trusts partner with landowners on projects that benefit Montana’s landscape, economy and way of life.”

“Last year was challenging for our organization as we made the decision to merge two long-lived Swan Valley conservation organizations into one,” said Maria Mantas, executive director of Swan Valley Connections. “Cinnabar was with us all along the way, supporting the process more than just financially. They encouraged us from the beginning and assured their support through what they knew would be a difficult transition. Cinnabar gave us confidence that this merger would be successful. We are truly grateful!”

Swan Valley Connections received a grant for $10,000 towards general operation. The Blackfoot Challenge received $5,000 towards a special project.

The Cinnabar Foundation was established in 1983 by philanthropists Len and Sandy Sargent to support the constitutional right of Montanans to a clean and healthful environment. Since its creation, the Foundation has awarded more than 1,700 grants exceeding $7 million dollars in total funding.

“Our state has no better example of Montanans helping other Montanans than the Cinnabar Foundation when it comes to keeping our water clean, our wild country wild and our wildlife abundant,” said Bruce Farling of Montana Trout Unlimited. “It’s special people supporting good work for a special place!”

For a complete list of the Cinnabar Foundation’s 2016 grantees, and to learn more about the Foundation’s grant program, go to


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