Community foundation honors Fun Beverage

Whitefish Community Foundation presented Fun Beverage with the 2022 Corporate Citizenship Award for the company’s leadership in philanthropy during the Great Fish Community Challenge.

Fun Beverage has generously supported the Challenge for many years and encouraged company employees to donate by matching their contributions dollar-to-dollar.

In addition to supporting the Great Fish Community Challenge, Fun Beverage is a member of Whitefish Community Foundation’s Circle of Giving program. Circle members make annual gifts of $5,000 or more, sustaining the foundation’s various grant programs and the Great Fish Match Fund.

Fun Beverage has a long history of supporting local nonprofit organizations and sponsoring fundraising events. The company estimates that it has contributed nearly $900,000 to Flathead Valley charities since 2007.

Fun Beverage selected Flathead Food Bank to receive the $2,500 grant that accompanied the award.

Whitefish Community Foundation also recognized Gayle MacLaren with the Connie Heckathorn “Cheers for Volunteers” Award for her decades of tireless service to local nonprofits, including Project Whitefish Kids, Round up for Safety, Whitefish School District Education Foundation and others. MacLaren selected Project Whitefish Kids to receive the $2,500 grant that accompanied the award.

The award was created in honor of Whitefish Community Foundation co-founder Connie Heckathorn, who passed away in 2021 and left a rich legacy of community projects and volunteer service.

Hanson named retail branch manager at First Interstate Bigfork and Lakeside branches

Jessica Hanson has been promoted to retail branch manager of First Interstate’s Bigfork and Lakeside branches.

In this role, Hanson will oversee the teams in the Bigfork and Lakeside offices, focusing on community and business development in those communities.

With expertise in retail banking, lending, and customer service, Hanson brings over 22 years of financial services experience to the role. Hanson was named 2021 MoFi Lender of the year, 2020-2021 “40 Under 40” in the Flathead Valley, and is currently enrolled in the Montana Banker Association’s Executive Development Program. She earned a degree in Business Management from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana.

Hanson is actively engaged in her community, serving as Vice Chair for the Flathead Valley Community College Foundation, Past Chair for the Kalispell Education Foundation, Bigfork Rotary member, and volunteer softball coach with Kalispell Youth Softball Association.

Schmidt named bank president of First Interstate in Whitefish.

Eric Schmidt has been promoted to Bank President of First Interstate’s Whitefish.

In this role, Schmidt will continue to develop banking relationships and expand the bank’s commercial and consumer portfolios while leading bank employees, managing bank resources, and promoting First Interstate Bank’s mission, vision, and values within the Flathead Valley community.

With expertise in mortgage lending and real estate sales management, Schmidt brings more than eight years financial services experience to the role. He earned a degree in finance and a minor in accounting from Montana State University in Bozeman.

Schmidt is actively engaged in the Whitefish community through the Logan Health Foundation Board of Directors, North Valley Music School Board of Directors, Whitefish Winter Carnival Board of Directors, Special Olympics of Montana Penguin Plunge team lead, and Whitefish Legacy Partners Hootenanny Committee.