December 2020
Letter From Laura, MCF Board Chair
Dear Friends,

2020 – a year like no other! Many things have changed in our daily lives, not the least of which is the uncertainty hovering over our usual norms, traditions, and sense of security. The Montana Community Foundation (MCF) has held steady through these trying times, exhibiting the resilience and dedication of Mary Rutherford and the staff, who continue to provide the highest level of service while working safely and, in large part, remotely.

Although this has been a year of enormous change, what has not changed is the generous heart of our country. Philanthropy is uniquely American and has been part of our national identity since the founding of our country. If you look around the world, you will not find another country built with such an embedded spirit of inclusiveness and generosity. We see expressions of this all year long, year after year, at MCF.

As the outgoing Chair of the Board, I’d like to tip my hat to the Board of Directors - local leaders from every corner of Montana who represent diverse interests, backgrounds, and points of view. There are many legal, ethical, and practical reasons for having a governing Board of Directors but having a highly effective Board requires the commitment of its members to a culture of independent thought, passion for excellence, and service. It also requires a close and supportive partnership with the President and CEO since the Board provides guidance on myriad things including strategic planning and financial stewardship, evaluation and endorsement of programs, and initiatives and approving the grants made each year. Those who serve as Directors embrace this culture and are committed to encouraging philanthropy at all levels from people from all walks of life. 

So today I’d like to recognize the enormous contributions of all the MCF Board members – those who serve today and those who have been directors in the past. It’s been a huge privilege for me to be part of this great organization and I am confident we will continue to make Montana a better place for all as we move beyond this crazy year into the future.

Laura Brehm
Board Chair
2020 MCF Board of Directors
Laura Brehm, Chair (Missoula)
Kelly Bruggeman, Vice Chair (Billings)
Mary Ann Phipps, Secretary (Glendive)
Karen Latka, Treasurer (Helena)
Ed Eck (Missoula)
Jo Ann Eder (Red Lodge)
Greg Hanson (Philipsburg)
Duane Kurokawa (Wolf Point)
Tom McGree (Helena)
Scott Pankratz (Missoula)
Bryson Pelc (Kalispell)
Tawnya Rupe (Wilsall)
Jon Rutt (Laurel)
Cami Skinner (Sidney)
Leonard Smith (Billings)

Thank you MCF Board of Directors for all you do!
2020 Annual Meeting Held Virtually
Last week, the MCF Board of Directors gathered virtually for the 2020 Annual Meeting. Over two days, the board adopted a new strategic plan, elected new board members and officers, and said a fond farewell to retiring members Leonard Smith, Bryson Pelc, and Scott Pankratz, all while sprinkling in a little fun. MCF is pleased to welcome retired Helena attorney Dan McLean to the board in January and recognizes four newly-elected officers for 2021:

Chair- Kelly Bruggeman
Vice Chair- Cami Skinner
Secretary- Ed Eck
Treasurer- Tom McGree
Happy Holidays From MCF!
New Stimulus Bill Includes Extension of Certain CARES Act Tax Incentives
The new coronavirus relief stimulus bill, passed by Congress this week, includes an extension of the temporary charitable deduction available to people who don’t itemize their taxes and the temporary increase in the AGI limitation to 100 percent for cash gifts in tax year 2021. Learn more.
Do You Know a Rock Star? Send Them our way!
Are you a rock star who is committed to advancing economic self-sufficiency for women and creating a brighter future for girls in Montana? The Women’s Foundation of Montana is looking to hire a Program Officer who has a passion for women’s opportunities, the energy to dig in and do the work across Montana, excitement about possibilities, and a proven track record of success. Find the full job description on our website.
Check Out Our New Websites!
Visit the Montana Community Foundation website to learn about giving, get the latest news and webinars from the Foundation, check out our interactive Local Community Foundation map, peruse our list of funds, and more.
Check out the Women’s Foundation of Montana website to learn about our work, access research and reports about women in Montana, watch previous webinars, and learn about the benefits of giving to the Women’s Foundation of Montana.
Make the connection on our PowerHouse Montana site through our new platform to connect women across our state with one of their greatest resources, each other!
Scholarship Applications Open January 1
Scholarship season is almost upon us. Students can apply online for scholarships beginning January 1, 2021. Scholarship awards generally range between $500 and $5,000 or $20,000 paid out over 4 years, some of which are renewable for up to four years. 

Qualifications vary widely resulting in scholarship eligibility for a diverse range of students. See a list of available scholarships for high school and college students, listed by county.

For questions, visit our website or contact Jenny Stark at (406) 441-4946 or

What began in 1988 with Montana Community Foundation’s (MCF) first scholarship has grown to nearly $500,000 in scholarships to Montana’s students. In 2020, that meant 168 deserving students throughout Montana received support for their educational endeavors. This is made possible by the generosity of our donors and their commitment to Montana’s future generation. 
Montana Community Foundation and AT&T announced the recipients for AT&T Public Safety Hero funding for 2020. The awards totaled more than $12,000.

The AT&T Public Safety Hero Scholarship provides scholarship support to individuals training for careers and long-term volunteer work as first responders. Organizations across Montana in public safety applied to receive funding. Organizations receiving funding include:

  • Lincoln Rural Fire District
  • Libby Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc
  • Jefferson City Volunteer Fire Department
  • Hebgen Basin Fire District
  • Golden Valley County Ambulance
  • Blaine 1, Inc.
One recipient, Hebgen Basin Fire District, plans to use their funding to send their team to the Ice Rescue training at the White Water Rescue Institute. In a community know for ice fishing and snowmobiling, ice rescue training will really benefit their community in the event of an emergency since winter is their longest season.

“Keeping first responders highly trained and skilled comes with challenges in our state,” said Mary Rutherford, President and CEO of the Montana Community Foundation. “A large percentage of our first responders and firefighters are volunteers, so ensuring that they have access to advanced training and education is critical given the job they are expected to do. Contributions from companies like AT&T ensure we’re able to continue providing this valuable resource to these organizations.” Learn more.
Register Now! Portal Training in February.
Thank you to everyone who has already registered for the portal!
The MCF Fundholder Portal allows fundholders to view fund information, run quarterly statements, see contribution history, make grants, and more.

Want to learn more about the portal? We will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 10:00 AM. Whether you are already actively using the portal or still need to register, this webinar will provide helpful tools and information for getting the most out of the portal.

For any questions before then, please contact Cathy Cooney, Director of Donor Services, at or (406) 441-4954 for assistance. You can also refer to the QuickStart Portal Guide for detailed portal instructions.
Generosity at Work
Since March 2020, MCF has processed 799+ grants to support local communities, an increase of 41% from last year during the same period. Over $247,000 supported COVID-19 relief efforts across our state.

You make it possible.