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, happiness, 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 … community-driven strategic philanthropy saves lives. We are committed to catalyzing and nurturing both grassroots and systemic change that together build an equitable future for all Montanans. We listen to organizations and individuals that are closest to the challenges, inspired to help and deeply invested in solutions that foster economic mobility and personal well-being, especially for those most marginalized. We strive to bridge divides and find common ground by honoring diverse voices, staying open to shifting perspectives and new ideas, and bringing our neighbors together with a sense of shared purpose. We are stewards of hope for a thriving Montana.

The mission of the AMB West Community Fund is to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Montana, particularly in Park and Gallatin Counties. Established in 2001, the Fund has awarded more than $8 million in grants. After assessing the landscape of existing programs and areas of need through data and conversations with community stakeholders, the Fund has identified three priority areas for 2022: community well-being, nurturing childhood and thriving youth. Application requirements, preferences and priorities are outlined in the following sections and links.

The AMB West Community Fund is led by our associates. Known by guests for their caring and attentive service, the AMB West team strives for that same reputation in the local community. Throughout the year, our associates give back to the communities in which they live and work – through their physical involvement, personal philanthropy and grants made to nonprofit organizations by the AMB West Community Fund. AMB West associates review grant proposals, attend site visits and provide recommendations for investments made by the AMB West Community Fund. Associates incorporate The Blank Family of Businesses Core Values in all aspects of their community giving.

Investment Strategy

Our 2022 priorities include:

  • Community Well-being: AMB West Philanthropies recognizes that to build a healthier and happier community, we must foster a thriving ecosystem of nonprofits. The Fund will support systemic initiatives that create a culture of well-being within non-profit organizations. The Fund strives to build upon community development that provides both proven and innovative pathways to create cultures of well-being within those vital organizations finding solutions, doing the work and saving lives.In addition to improving the internal health and well-being of nonprofit organizations, The Fund is especially interested in proposals that increase positive impacts within systems (may relate to systems change). The Fund requests systemic approaches to improve the health, well-being and culture for those engaged in the imperative work within our complex systems. Examples of approaches of interest to the Fund include but are not limited to systems such as education, food services, child welfare, family support, incarceration, law enforcement, healthcare, childcare, etc.
  • Nurturing Childhood: Early childhood is the foundation of our community’s future. To support preventative and upstream approaches, The Fund seeks organizations expanding access to quality childcare and early childhood experience that provide children — birth to five — with opportunities that will prepare them for successful lifelong development. The Fund is especially interested in projects that promote healthy parent-child relationships and connection to community resources as well as social and emotional skills among parents and children.
  • Thriving Youth: Thriving youth are energized about their future and have a sense of purpose. The Fund seeks creative nonprofit efforts to help youth discover and develop their talents, attributes and passions; connect to pathways and support networks to achieve their aspirations; and build life skills to reach independence and goals. To provide effective opportunities for youth, it is imperative that youth voice is incorporated in all aspects including planning, execution and evaluation. Proposals that engage and enable youth and their peers to be advocates for their own well-being and mental health as well foster a desire for informed civic engagement will receive preference.

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 proposals from organizations that build on community assets and 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.

All applications should describe 1) the problem being addressed and/or community opportunity, 2) proposed efforts and 3) expected outcomes (for children, families or communities). Applicants should articulate the logical connection between the problem identified and/or opportunity, the proposed solution and the anticipated outcomes. Additionally, proposals should describe how they will track and measure outcomes. For example, newer projects should track service goals and sustainability, whereas established programs should track progress toward outcomes.

The AMB West Community Fund will consider funding multi-year projects that are of exceptionally high quality, address a significant need and implement sustainable solutions that connect resources across sectors.

Capital projects are supported on a limited basis. Please contact us prior to submitting a capital proposal.

The Fund considers secular programs and focuses on programs that function during out-of-school time. A limited number of in-school programs are considered, provided they involve teacher and administration training and family engagement. Organizations must be classified as 501(c)(3) by the IRS.

For full application requirements, preferences, priorities and application instructions, please review the AMB West Community Fund Grant Guidelines.

In addition to the grant application, all applicants must submit a brief 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 2022 grant application, click here. The invitation code is 438BMCANH6.

Applications and videos must be submitted by 5:00pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022.

You will receive notification regarding the status of your application by March 1, 2022.

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 2019 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.

Through the AMB West Conservation Fund, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will invest in innovative projects and local capacity that safeguard the natural resources of Paradise Valley for generations to come. In its community-based grant making, the Foundation adheres to the same values that the Blank Family follows in managing its AMB West ranch properties.

Our community philanthropy is led by Foundation directors that honor these values by listening to and learning from residents; recognizing that navigating tradeoffs require thoughtful, inclusive approaches; and considering grants for program delivery, nonprofit capacity building and advocacy. The Foundation also encourages collaboration among its partners, who all work toward a greater collective impact in the Upper Yellowstone Watershed. Collaboration is our central mantra.

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.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation directors are currently focusing on the Yellowstone River, including the conservation and responsible management of the Upper Yellowstone Watershed.

For 2021, the Foundation is especially interested in breakthrough solutions and partnerships that advance the following priorities for the Upper Yellowstone River and the landscape that surrounds it:

  • Engage and mobilize residents through outreach efforts to address rapidly changing land use patterns that threaten the wildlife, waterways, and open space nature of the watershed.
  • Conserve and protect working farms and ranches from fragmentation through partnership with landowners and land trusts.
  • Foster a local dialogue that addresses concerns and threats that wildlife face as they migrate across the watershed.
  • Preserve and improve the health of the watershed, with a special interest in developing a drought response strategy that is informed by locally collected data.

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: Peter Brown, Senior Program Officer, AMB West Philanthropies at Peter.Brown@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, May through October.

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

  • Name
  • Contact information (email and phone number)
  • Dates requested
  • Facilities requested
  • Number of students and chaperones or adults
  • Why would you like to use Basecamp? Our staff will be happy to orient you to the resources Basecamp can provide.

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