When Griz Kidz started in 2004, Mike Rankin's idea was in the infancy stages, and he felt that tickets could be secured and provided to children, if he simply used tickets from season ticket holders who did not want to, or could not, use their tickets for a specific game.
In order to make Griz Kidz a self-sustainable program and a viable operation, the members quickly ascertained that Griz Kidz would need funding. After much contemplation, the original founders decided to apply for, and received status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. Most importantly, that meant donations made to the Program were, at that time, tax deductible. In conjunction with securing that status, Griz Kidz formed a formal Board of Directors, which included current Board members, Mike Rankin, Bryan Tripp, Tim Polich and Thad Huse.
Griz Kidz proceeded to raise funds to assist with general and administrative expenses, and to allow the program to purchase a block of season tickets for distribution to its chosen beneficiaries. Essentially, Griz Kidz started with approximately 20 tickets to distribute by purchasing the tickets as they were needed. The University of Montana, and specifically its employees in the ticket office, were instrumental and provided invaluable assistance to the Program in this respect. As a matter of fact, a major amount of Griz Kidz's success is owed to the University of Montana, particularly the individuals who work in the ticket office. The demand for tickets grew quickly as the Program became more recognized for its efforts and the benefits it provided to so many children. Soon, Griz Kidz realized the need, and set its annual budget to allow the Program to purchase a block of 50 season tickets for distribution at each game.