Supporting rural communities in Montana, Idaho and Appalachian Kentucky.


The Steele-Reese Foundation is a charitable trust committed to supporting rural communities and the nonprofit organizations that serve them in Idaho, Montana, and Appalachian Kentucky.  Since its inception, the Foundation has maintained a focus on the unique challenges of rural living and on helping people build healthy, successful, and sustainable communities.

Eleanor Steele Reese, daughter of Charles Steele – a banker, lawyer, and business associate of J.P. Morgan – created The Steele-Reese Foundation in 1955. The Foundation's name honors Eleanor's family as well as the family of her husband, Emmet Reese. The couple found strength and fulfillment in their work as cattle ranchers in Idaho and they created the Foundation as a lasting commitment to their rural values.

The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations working in the areas of rural education; health; human/social services; the arts and humanities; and land, water, and wildlife conservation and historic preservation.  Applications from organizations operating outside of the Foundation's regional or programming areas are not eligible for funding.  At times (as for our 2015 funding cycle) the program areas and priorities of the Appalachian Kentucky Grant Program may vary from those of the Idaho and Montana Grant Program.  Please check back periodically for the latest updates (at right) about the Foundation's priorities and application policies. 


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Latest Update


2015 Grant Programs

The Foundation has made several important changes to its programming and application policies for the 2015 funding cycle. 

In the Appalachian Kentucky Grant Program, we will only consider proposals for and award grants in the Education program area. All other program areas supporting the Kentucky region will be suspended for the 2015 funding year. 

An informational webinar for those applying for grants in Appalachian Kentucky can be accessed by clicking on this link.

In the Idaho and Montana Grant Program, we will now require a Letter of Inquiry for projects in all program areas to be submitted no later than February 2 prior to a possible invitation for a full proposal, which will be due on Ma rch 16.


We encourage you to contact the Foundation's Appalachian Director, Judy Owens, or Western Director, Linda Tracy, with any questions about these changes to our policies, or with questions about your organization's proposed request.