WE BELIEVE… that Montana’s unique ability to connect people to each other and to nature has the power to build stronger, healthier, happier communities, and that we have a role in preserving Montana’s beauty for future generations.

AMB West Philanthropies comprises the nonprofit interests of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in the Western United States, which includes West Creek Ranch, AMB West Community Fund, AMB West Conservation, AMB West Base Camp, and AMB West Challenge Course. Through grant making, convening, advocacy and in-kind services, AMB West Philanthropies promotes positive change in peoples’ lives and builds and enhances the communities in which they live.

AMB West Philanthropies programs include:

  • Through the associate-led AMB West Community Fund, staff at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and West Creek Ranch give back to the communities in which they live and work through grant-making focused on early childhood development, youth empowerment and development, community wellness and youth suicide prevention.
  • Since purchasing West Creek Ranch in 2017, Arthur Blank has transformed the property into an inspired space being offered by invitation-only to select nonprofit partners, business partners and associates of The Blank Family of Businesses. The ranch provides the perfect setting for meetings, leadership development and creative problem solving.
  • We are committed to conservation in Montana, managing our property and associated businesses in a responsible and sustained manner and being a valued neighbor and community member.
  • AMB West Basecamp and AMB West Challenge Course provide opportunities for guests and nonprofit partners to use the outdoors and nature to educate, build trust and create connections.

WE BELIEVE … in giving back to the communities in which we live and work—through physical involvement, personal philanthropy, and grants made to nonprofit organizations through the AMB West Community Fund (“The Fund”). The mission of The Fund is to enhance the quality of life for residents of Montana, particularly in Park and Gallatin Counties.

The Fund was established in 2001 and more than $4.6 million in grants has been distributed. After assessing the landscape of existing programs and areas of need through conversations with community stakeholders, The Fund has identified four areas of focus for 2019: early childhood development, youth empowerment and development, community wellness and youth suicide prevention.

Known by guests for their caring and attentive service, the associates of AMB West work to earn that same reputation in their local community. AMB West Associates review grant proposals, attend site visits and provide recommendations for investments made by The Fund. Associates strive to incorporate The Blank Family of Businesses Core Values in all aspects of their community giving.

Investment Strategy

Our 2019 priorities include:

  • Early Childhood Development: The Fund will award grants to organizations providing children, birth to five, with quality opportunities that will prepare them for successful lifelong development. The Fund is especially interested in projects that promote healthy parent-child relationships, as well as social and emotional skills among parents and children.
  • Youth Empowerment and Development: The Fund seeks creative nonprofit efforts to improve youth development and nurture young leaders, especially programs that empower youth and cultivate young stewards of land and wildlife through education, physical activity, wilderness experiences and outdoor adventure.
  • Happiness & Health Through Wellness: Recognizing that lifestyle changes can yield dramatic positive results for the mind and body, The Fund will consider proposals integrating wellness programs in a variety of settings, including but not limited to mental health services, juvenile justice services, schools and family counseling. Some approaches may include practices such as yoga, meditation, outdoor recreation and nutritional education.
  • Youth Suicide Prevention: Montana has the highest suicide rate of any state in the U.S., and Park County has the fourth highest rate among Montana counties. For that reason, The Fund seeks proposals for programmatic or policy innovations that will contribute to a sustained, long-term reduction in youth suicide in Park County.

Application Requirements

The AMB West Community Fund supports creative approaches and innovative programs that improve outcomes for children and families in Park and Gallatin Counties. The Fund will only consider supporting organizations that can demonstrate the ability to foster community cooperation and collaboration. Nonprofit organizations focused on advocacy or policy changes are eligible to apply and must demonstrate how their activities hold promise for large-scale systemic change

For full application requirements, preferences, priorities and application instructions, click here to access the AMB West Community Fund Grant Guidelines

In addition to the grant application, all applicants must submit a video; a link to submit a video will be provided within the grant application and details are included in the Grant Guidelines.

To submit a 2019 grant application for $20,000 or less, click here. The invitation code is AMBWCFSUM.

To submit a 2019 grant application for more than $20,000,click here. The invitation code is AMBWESTCF.

WE BELIEVE … that a place can serve as a destination for people who want to come together and collectively try to make a difference, strengthen their own communities, and find a purpose far greater than themselves.

Since purchasing West Creek Ranch in 2017, Arthur Blank has transformed the property into an inspired space being offered by invitation-only to select nonprofit partners, business partners and associates of the Blank Family of Businesses. The ranch provides the perfect setting for meetings, leadership development, social gatherings, recreation and inspiration. Working with select nonprofit partners, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation brings together leaders across sectors to address today’s most challenging societal problems. West Creek offers 5-star service and recreation amenities, providing a setting that inspires innovation and creative problem-solving.

While all the Blank Family of Businesses six core values touch West Creek Ranch, ‘Giving Back to Others’ manifests throughout, which is seen through its mission of serving others and taking care of the land on which it resides. Invited organizations will experience a one-of-a-kind setting to further their charitable and conservation efforts while strengthening connections and inspiring ideas through team building.

To review a final report from the 2018 West Creek season, please visit here.

More information about activities and accommodations at West Creek Ranch is available at WestCreekRanch.org.

To view a list of participants from the State of Well Being in America: An Innovation Lab hosted at West Creek Ranch in June 2019, visit here.

WE BELIEVE …the long-term health of the land is intertwined with the health of the communities that rely on its natural resources. With this recognition, the AMB West Conservation Fund supports programs, policies, and leadership that enable human and ecological communities in the Paradise Valley to thrive.

The AMB West Conservation Fund strives to incorporate The Blank Family of Businesses Core Values in all aspects of its conservation giving. In addition, the Fund adheres to the same values that the Blank Family follows in managing its AMB West ranch properties.

In its conservation philanthropy, the family and Foundation directors honor these values by listening to and learning from residents; recognizing that navigating tradeoffs requires thoughtful, inclusive approaches; encouraging collaboration among partners working for collective impact; and investing in long-term solutions that ensure the ecologically unique natural resources of Paradise Valley will thrive for generations to come.

INVESTMENT STRATEGY

The AMB West Conservation Fund supports high-impact projects in the Paradise Valley that enhance the ability of human and ecological communities in the valley to thrive over the long term. The Fund seeks collaborative solutions that consider the Paradise Valley as a system, irrespective of property or jurisdictional boundaries.

To accomplish the Foundation’s goals, the board makes disciplined and intentional funding decisions based on these guidelines. The Foundation continually monitors and adjusts strategies to adapt to evolving conditions and opportunities. The Foundation will consider funding for programs and delivery of services, convening, policy and advocacy, research, general operating support, or training and technical assistance.

At present, the Foundation seeks to support programs that focus on:

The Upper Yellowstone River Watershed –                             

Improve the long-term health of the river system, including water quality, water availability, habitat improvement, and drought preparedness and response.

Wildlife –                                                                                                 

Enhance habitat for wildlife or enhance the ability of wildlife to move and migrate across the landscape to adapt to changing conditions.

Working landowner sustainability –     

Enhance the ability of agricultural and working landowners to remain on the land, preserving and enhancing the cultural, ecological, and economic heritage of the Paradise Valley.

How to Apply for a Grant

The AMB West Conservation Fund welcomes grant inquiries. The grant process begins with nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation submitting a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to the Foundation. In two to three pages, the LOI should summarize the project, the timeline and the budget needs. The LOI should also include notes about any critical partnerships already in place and the status of funding from other sources.

Blank Foundation staff will review and follow-up with organizations submitting LOIs to determine whether to invite a full grant application. Full proposals are by invitation only and will be evaluated based on the proposal’s impact, leverage, influence, and scale, as well as proposed methodology, expected outcomes, and evaluation methodology. The Blank Foundation Board of Directors makes all grant decisions.

The AMB West Conservation Fund does not fund:

Organizations that are not classified as 501(c)(3) public charities by the Internal Revenue Service.

Support for candidates for political office or to lobby in support of or against legislation.

Please direct inquiries to: Elizabeth Domenech, Fund Advisor, AMB West Conservation Fund at Elizabeth.Domenech@ambwest.com.

WE BELIEVE … that coming together and exploring issues in the beauty of the outdoors can create innovation and educational exchange.

AMB West Basecamp provides a rustic campus for nonprofit partners to develop and operate their youth-based, outdoor leadership, and natural resource conservation programs. Basecamp is a resource in Montana and the greater Northern Rocky Mountain region provided by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in collaboration with Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

For details on accommodations, click here.

Please note the AMB West Basecamp is available seasonally.

To inquire about booking the AMB West Challenge Course, email Whitney Lane and include the following:

  • Name
  • Contact information (email and phone number)
  • Dates requested
  • Approximate arrival and departure time
  • Number of students and chaperones or adults
  • Why would you like to use the course? If you need help customizing an experience for your group, let us know, our staff is happy to help

Investment Strategy

The Foundation invites nonprofit organizations to utilize AMB West Basecamp for youth-based, outdoor leadership, and natural resource conservation programs. Basecamp is available to regional nonprofits free of charge as part of our ongoing commitment to promoting innovation, community and stewardship.

For booking inquiries please contact Whitney Lane, Challenge Course and Basecamp Manager.

WE BELIEVE …. Shared experiences in the outdoors provides ways to learn and build teamwork, understanding and trust with one another.

AMB West Challenge Course was built in 2015 to serve the needs of our community. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and Project Adventure, this course has all the tools necessary to create shared experiences and high adventure for diverse groups. Using intentional facilitation, our well-versed staff can customize programming for Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and nonprofit organizations using our nine high ropes elements.

The AMB West Challenge Course includes high and low elements built on telephone poles. We utilize a variety of Dynamic and Static Belay techniques to align with the forces placed on the elements with the added advantage of keeping our participants as safe as possible. One of those systems is a continuous belay system called the Smart Snap. This is designed so that the participant is empowered to self monitor their belay transfers, while being incapable of un-attaching from the belay. The high elements are placed in three different clusters with two additional peak activities located in separate but nearby locations. The low elements are spread around the program area and used as inclusive team support and experiential learning tools (usually) prior to going to height.

Full course details are available here.

Please note the AMB West Challenge Course is available seasonally.

To inquire about booking the AMB West Challenge Course, email Whitney Lane and include the following:

  • Name
  • Contact information (email and phone number)
  • Dates requested
  • Approximate arrival and departure time
  • Number of students and chaperones or adults
  • Why would you like to use the course? If you need help customizing an experience for your group, let us know, our staff is happy to help