The Board of Directors of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation announced today a special holiday donation of $203,500 spread across 75 food banks, food pantries, rescue missions, and homeless shelters across Montana.
The number of hungry people in Montana continues to be a serious concern and has not reduced significantly in the last several years. An estimated 142,000 or 14 percent of Montanans live in poverty. Additionally, Montana ranks 42nd in the nation for number of low-income working families; 47th for low-income minority working families; 41st for children in low-income working families; and 42nd for jobs in occupations paying below the poverty line. However, numbers alone do not reflect the number of people who are struggling to find enough food.
“The holidays are a time when reaching out to our neighbors in need becomes a focus,” Gayle Gifford, CEO of the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) said. “Thanks to the support of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Montana Food Bank Network and its partner agencies throughout the state can provide extra support to children, families and seniors struggling to make ends meet and giving them a chance to embrace the spirit of the season without the stress of providing food for their households.”
With these struggling families and high risk groups in mind, the Foundation’s holiday food bank giving program tops a successful year of prioritized giving by the Foundation to social and human services organizations across the state.
“The Foundation is focused on giving youth and their families the tools they need to be successful and that starts with the security of knowing where your next meal is coming from,” Foundation Executive Director Mike Halligan said. “Montana is currently 22nd in the nation for child poverty. That means nearly 1 in 5 children live in poverty in Montana and struggle to get enough food. The food banks, rescue missions and pantries go above and beyond to assure the needs of our fellow Montanans are met – especially for the children and their families.”
About the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies and the Washington family. The Foundation strives to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the quality of their lives and to benefit society as a whole. Funding for the Foundation comes from personal contributions from the Washington Family and annual contributions from The Washington Companies. Since its inception in 1988, Foundation giving and the Washington Family’s personal contributions and pledges to charitable causes total more than $244 million.
About The Washington Companies
The Washington Companies are a group of individual companies assembled and controlled over a 50-year span by Mr. Dennis R. Washington. Each company displays a unique entrepreneurial spirit that is individually cultured and managed by a professional management team, and guided by a separate Board of Directors. The Washington Companies focus on core industries in seven primary sectors: rail transportation, marine transportation, mining, heavy equipment sales, aviation technology and environmental remediation. The Montana-based Companies include: Washington Corporations, Modern Machinery, Envirocon, Montana Resources, and Montana Rail Link. The Washington Companies also include: Aviation Partners, Inc. and Aviation Partners Boeing, Inc. as well as Seaspan ULC and Southern Railway of British Columbia.