The Bigfork Valley Community Foundation capital campaign project(s) underway that are intended to enrich our communities.

If you are interested in giving to any of our special projects please click Donate and use the drop down menu on our PayPal Donate page to select which project you would like to contribute to.

Villa River's Edge Garden Project

The Bigfork Valley Villa offers independent and assisted living for elderly community members. Over the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, these individuals have endured countless hours of isolation by themselves and as a group. Currently if the seniors want to sit outside, the only adequate places are on the limited benches by the parking lot or on the side of the building on a deck. Despite the beautiful location on the Big Fork River, elders are unable to access the exterior of the back of the building (north or river side), the patio and the dock. The uneven cobblestone makes it difficult to navigate a wheelchair, walker or cane. Additionally, the seating there is in the form of a picnic table which is equally difficult to navigate if you have physical limitations. There is currently no formal garden.

Gardens are known to be healing for all ages. Volunteers have generously decided to design and build healing gardens for the Bigfork Valley Villa elders. Healing will not only be for each and every elderly resident but also for their families and Villa staff. The proposed garden design on the north side of the facility will replace the cobblestone with concrete, and add appropriate seating/ tables, garden art, and of course healing gardens. These gardens will include four raised vegetable gardens complete with hinged screens to prevent the deer’s curiosity/appetite as well as a sensory garden. It will also have a concrete oval path for our elderly to walk without fear of falling nor getting lost. The sensory garden will be safe to smell and touch. The project includes community involvement with the Bigfork High School shop class building the raised gardens and hopes are to include school children with planting, watering and harvesting. The Villa may start a monthly ‘garden club’ for the elders hosted by Dr. Zimmerman as well as other Bigfork community members. The Villa will incorporate the ‘harvest’ in some shared cooking / nutrition events later in the fall to continue to engage community members with Villa residents during the late fall/winter. Additionally, the current dock will need to be assessed for safety and additional seating and perhaps provide a location for ‘ Take a Grandma/pa’ fishing activity.

Cost: The estimated cost of this project is $75,000.00 and the community fundraising goal for this capital campaign is $60,000.00.

The Bigfork School and Community Enhancement Project

Several community organizations in Bigfork and the Edge of the Wilderness Area are excited to present a much needed community enrichment project that involves an addition to the Bigfork School Campus and Edge Center for the Arts. The project entails adding locker room space, a community weight & wellness room, public restrooms accessible from the Bigfork RiverWalkTrail and storage space for the Edge Center for the Arts.

Current Limitations:

  • Teams practicing must end practice at 4:45 pm on nights when other athletic teams have a home game in order to allow the visiting team access to locker rooms. (Ex: If volleyball is hosting a game, the football team needs to be out of the locker room by 5:00 pm to allow the visiting team to dress.)
  • Bigfork School is not able to host boys or girls basketball doubleheaders without having 2 teams dress in other spaces: classrooms, weight room, band room, etc. Bigfork cannot include JV teams when hosting these doubleheaders due to locker room space, yet every school we play with this format (Floodwood, South Ridge, etc.) have adequate space to accommodate four teams.
  • Locker rooms are not immediately accessible to the gym space. Basketball and volleyball teams need to travel through the school commons to access the gyms.
  • The outdated condition of the current locker room space does not allow adequate ventilation to “dry” or “air out” football equipment. There is also limited restroom, storage, and shower space.
  • Last year the current weight room was relocated away from the gym spaces to near the industrial tech/shop area due to a need for additional classroom space. The location is not favorable to physical education students nor to student-athletes.
  • The current configuration of the weight room greatly limits the potential for community use.
  • The Edge Center rents storage space 10 miles away from the theater, and during productions is limited by the lack of props/materials storage and cast dressing areas.
  • Portable toilets are used for athletic seasons/events on the football field and are not easily accessible to event fans or Bigfork RiverWalk Trail users.

How the proposed design meets the community’s needs:

  • Visiting teams would use the existing locker rooms. Bigfork teams would not need to vacate locker rooms on game nights until a later time.
  • Four locker room spaces would be available to include JV teams for boys' and girls' doubleheaders.
  • Varsity locker rooms would be immediately adjacent to the gym, and would include adequate ventilation and lockers which will allow for proper equipment drying capabilities. Locker room restrooms, as well as public restrooms would be improved and available immediately near the gym and athletic fields.
  • The weight room design addresses issues of location and capacity and will be to open to the public. The new weight room will provide an additional health and wellness opportunity to the community and will complement existing fitness centers.
  • The Edge Center would have storage/dressing space immediately available to their site.
  • The addition of public restrooms would allow access to the public during certain events or for users of the Bigfork RiverWalk Trail, while still providing restricted access to the rest of the school building.


  • The estimated cost of this project is $2.9 million and the community fundraising goal for this capital campaign is $1,000,000.00.
  • The Committee working on this project is writing grants and conducting other fundraising efforts but we need your help to make this much needed project a reality for the community of Bigfork and the Edge of the Wilderness Area.

Project Partners:

  • Bigfork Valley Community Foundation
  • Independent School District 318
  • Bigfork School
  • Edge Center for the Arts
  • City of Bigfork
  • Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board
  • Minnesota Highway 38 Leadership Board

Bigfork Valley
Community Foundation

PO Box 44
Bigfork, MN 56628


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