Kalispell Chamber Foundation

The Kalispell Chamber Foundation is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the Kalispell Chamber. By leveraging charitable giving, the Foundation connects the best minds in business with the most innovative thinkers to help solve important community challenges in the areas of community and economic development, economic research, and community leadership.

We believe everyone in Montana should have the right skills to fill the jobs of today and have the ability to adapt for the jobs of tomorrow. Please consider supporting the Kalispell Chamber Foundation as we set out to develop a solution for our area’s most pressing education and workforce needs.

Donate to the Kalispell Chamber Foundation


Education & Workforce Development

The Kalispell Chamber Foundation has been implementing a transformational program to address the Flathead Valley’s education and workforce needs since 2020. Access to trained and skilled employees has been the top pain point for most area businesses for the last several years and an inhibitor to growth for many of our key industries. The Kalispell Chamber Foundation will deploy a talent pipeline management program that will

  1. Identify required skills and abilities needed by current businesses in three priority industries
  2. Closely align business needs with school curriculum
  3. Expand potential learning opportunities for teachers and counselors to better understand available options for students
  4. Develop a clear pathway for students to understand and succeed in many of the rewarding careers available here in Northwest Montana


The initial phases of the Kalispell Chamber Foundation’s Talent Pipeline program will focus on three priority industries, which have been identified by their contribution to the Flathead County economy through recently increased wages, employment, and growth statistics. To review our review our research, take a look at our Flathead Valley Workforce: Economic Trends and Demographics report.

Manufacturing & Occupational Trades: Manufacturing payroll increased 147% and employment increased 102% between 2007 and 2017 in Flathead County
Biotechnology & Bioscience: Flathead County is in the top 5% of healthcare growth in the nation
Tourism & Hospitality: Nonresident tourism spending accounts for $503M annually in Flathead County

“By working with the Kalispell Chamber I have had access to employers and employer sites I otherwise might not have, which has helped me provide students with the opportunity to investigate potential careers to see if that’s they way they actually want to go,
– Mike Kelly, Flathead High School Career Counselor

“I attended one of the Kalispell Chamber programs promoting manufacturing, which led me to being interested in the industry and applying for a job at Nomad Global Communication Solutions. I’ve not been here for two years and am passionate about he products that are made here in Northwest Montana,”
– Anna Easley, Nomad GCS Solutions Sales Manager

Recent Foundation Successes

The Foundation serves as an organizing force and advocate for the development of a robust economy in Northwest Montana and Kalispell.

2021/2022 Manufacturing & Occupational Trades 2.0 $25,000 (Goal)
Recovering from the pause the Covid-19 pandemic placed on all of us, 2022 will mark a heightened and laser-focused lift to re-energize and re-invigorate our seasoned work in this arena. We will convene the Flathead’s Manufacturing Alliance and set a program of work, which will include, but not be limited to, the formalization of the Talent Pipeline Management initiative, the 2nd Opportunity Fair, and Manufacturing Month in October 2022 student/parent and community tours, as well as new offerings.

2021/2022 Workforce Development  $25,000 (Goal)
Talent Pipeline Management principals will continue to drive our work in aligning business needs with school curriculum at the high school and college level. Learning opportunities for our students and teachers/counselors are vital to ensure a workforce prepped for the jobs of tomorrow. We will work closely with our partners, the Kalispell School District and Flathead Valley Community College, to expand our reach and connect students and employers to drive essential skills and appropriate learning opportunities.

2021 Business Case for Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Childcare Initiative $26,000
In September, with our consultant Kate McMahon of Applied Communications Consulting, we launched our newest initiative. In 4 months, we will survey the business community, hold 10 focus groups around the Flathead, and conclude with a written tactical and strategic plan to address the childcare shortage crisis in the Flathead and Kalispell. Convening stakeholders and engaging early childhood education and day care providers, with business and community leaders, will result in both short-term and long-term plans of action to increase the supply of quality childcare in our Valley. Execution of outcomes will begin in January 2022.

Ongoing: Manufacturing Trades Scholarships $3,000 annual commitment
In an effort to take on the workforce shortages being faced by the one of our largest industries, the Kalispell Chamber Foundation works with other area community organizations and businesses to provide $3,000 in scholarships to Flathead Valley Community College students enrolled in the Manufacturing Trades and Brewing Sciences programs.

2016: Economic Impact of Healthcare in Flathead County $25,000 commitment
The Foundation commissioned the Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research to assess the economic impact of the health care industry in Flathead County. Health care employs the most number of people and is the fastest growing industry in Flathead County with $1 billion of personal income attributed directly or indirectly to this sector. The report demonstrates the scope and caliber of the valley’s health care services and how they will impact our area in years to come.

2015: Kidsport Youth Athletic Complex
$100,000 commitment
Kidsports consists of 30 developed ball fields for soccer, baseball, football, softball, and other field sports. It has a $7.6 million annual economic impact for the Flathed Valley from the tournaments it holds and is a tremendous asset for area youth.

2014: Glacier Airline Enhancement and Retention Outreach (AERO) $25,000 commitment
The Foundation has provided funding for the expansion of commercial airline service to the Flathead Valley.  Together with the funding from the Kalispell Chamber, the Tourism Business Improvement District, and other cooperating partners, a fund of $250,000 has been formed for Minimum Revenue Guarantees resulting in new seasonal direct service to Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

2010: Workforce 2020 $25,000 commitment
Workforce 2020 was designed to build a competitive, promotable, and sustainable workforce by addressing the issues of recruiting, training, and retaining skilled workers in the Kalispell region. Outcomes included comprehensive research on the Flathead County workforce, and two day-long Workforce Learning Academies for 200 businesses.

Lorraine Clarno, President/CEO

Kalispell Chamber Foundation
Lorraine Clarno
2 South Main Street
Suite 205
Kalispell, Montana 59901
(406) 758-2804
[email protected]

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