The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Program (BSTF) Planning funds are awarded to eligible applicants to assist with economic development planning efforts that promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana. Applications which support a critical activity to move an economic development project forward and directly assist a basic sector company are the highest priority for the Department.

Please reference the application information and guidelines for further information on the eligible activities and requirements for funding. It is highly recommended that potential applicants contact the Department for guidance and funding availability before submitting a formal application.

Contact Annmarie Robinson, Section Manager at 406.841.2250.

Eligible Applicants

Funds are available the following entities, applying on behalf of an eligible business:

  • Certified Regional Development Corporations (CRDC), for projects located within a CRDC region;
  • Local or Tribal governments;
  • Other economic development organizations, which are located in a county that is not part of a CRDC region and have been approved by the Department as meeting program eligibility requirements.

Eligible Activities

Planning funding is awarded for economic development planning activities in Montana for the following activities:

  • support for business improvement districts;
  • central business district redevelopment;
  • industrial development;
  • feasibility studies;
  • creation and maintenance of baseline community profiles;
  • matching funds for federal funds;
  • preproduction costs for film or media; and
  • administrative expenses.


Typically no more than $27,000 per application.


Local participation, commitment or local buy-in is one of the ranking criteria. Typically projects have been providing a $1 for $1 match to show the local commitment. In-kind contributions are not considered match.

Applications to the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Program are accepted through the funding portal To view the application, click Application Form


Planning Project Application Guidelines are available, and includes more information about the program specifics, including eligibility, penalties, procedures and other requirements.

Application Submittal and Deadlines

The funding deadlines for Planning Projects is pending at this time. 

If you should have any questions about managing your The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Program (BSTF) award, please contact your BSTF Liaison. Staff is here to assist the Awardee with effective start-up and implementation of the project.


Progress Reports are required to be submitted with each draw request and quarterly until the BSTF Contract has been closed out by the Department.


The following forms are used for managing Planning Projects: