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Bozeman Health has received a $1 million donation to fight the new coronavirus.

The money comes from the Big Sky Relief Fund, a group that provides money to those impacted by the global pandemic. Bozeman Health will use the money to increase the number of people Big Sky Medical Center and Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital can treat.

The medical center in Big Sky is using the money to build four hospital rooms. The rooms, which will be finished in early May, will double the hospital’s in-patient capacity to eight beds.

Bozeman Health, which runs the Big Sky Medical Center and Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, will also use the donation to purchase 11 new ventilators. Three will go to Big Sky and eight to Bozeman. The additional ventilators will bring Big Sky’s total to four and Bozeman’s to 26.

Bozeman Health is setting aside $250,000 from the $1-million donation to pay for additional staff the center will need if it sees an influx of patients and to help patients with financial challenges they may face as a result of hospitalization.

“This is good news in the face of a lot of bad news,” said Jason Smith, chief advancement officer for Bozeman Health.

The Big Sky Relief Fund has $2 million, with half going to Bozeman Health.

Half of that comes from the Big Sky Resort Tax Board, which is allocating money from the tax revenue it has collected since July and from organizations that pledged to give the relief effort about $410,000 in resort tax dollars they had previously received.

“When this started becoming very real in our community three weeks ago, we decided we need to do something,” said Kevin Germain, resort tax board chair. “But last year, we had 28 organizations request money from the resort tax, so we have to be really thoughtful about how to respond to COVID-19, while also making sure we can restart our economy once this pandemic has passed.”

The additional $1 million in the Big Sky Relief Fund comes from the Yellowstone Club, Spanish Peaks and Moonlight community foundations.

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation is also working to obtain protective gear, including masks, for health care workers.

“We see Bozeman Health as the front line,” said Loren Bough, vice chair of the organization’s board.

The $1 million that isn’t going to Bozeman Health is available to local groups that can apply for funding through the Big Sky Relief Fund website.

Funds similar to the Big Sky Relief Fund are forming across Montana. The Greater Gallatin United Way and Bozeman Area Community Foundation are coordinating donations in Park, Gallatin, Meager and Madison counties. Park County Community Foundation also recently set up a fund to support the area’s pandemic response.

Bozeman Health is also collecting money through its COVID-19 Compassion Fund and will use it to pay for additional equipment, staffing increases and patient care associated with the pandemic.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.