August 2018
From Mary's Desk

When anniversaries roll around, I think about legacy. This year, MCF is celebrating 30 years of serving Montana through philanthropy. But another important milestone will soon be celebrated as well, 20 years of making lasting, positive change for Montana's women and girls through the Women's Foundation of Montana (WFM). More than $750,000 has been invested through strategic grantmaking by WFM, supporting systemic change, economic empowerment, women's leadership and more. Thousands and thousands of Montana's women and girls are better off as a result of the WFM's efforts and in turn, our communities are better off.
What an incredible legacy this is, a legacy that was created through the generosity of a philanthropist and fostered by many other philanthropists. WFM was established in 1999 with a $500,000 challenge grant from the Chambers Family Fund (now the Merle Chambers Fund) to the Montana Community Foundation. Merle Chambers sought to build a permanent resource for women and girls in Montana, where the family's oil business previously operated.
WFM's recent Trailblazer party celebrating the organization and people who made it possible. 
The challenge was met in January 2005 when the $500,000 from the Chambers Family Fund was matched dollar-for-dollar to establish the initial $1 million permanent endowment for WFM. There were many others who helped nurture WFM early on so it could become what it is today: Dorothy Eck, Alyce Kuehn, Ellen Alweis, Sheila Rice, Anne Cole, Sidney Armstrong, Ralph Yeager, Diane Sands, and many more. Merle and others knew there was a need. They knew there was something they were passionate about and they found a way to create it. And what they created has grown to become something vital to the well-being of Montana.
Legacies can come in all shapes and sizes. But regardless, legacies are what we're about here at MCF and what we should all be about as Montanans. It doesn't matter what your particular passion is; what matters is that you find a way to nurture and support it forever. What matters is your legacy for this place we love to call home.

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Update Coming to Donor Portal

The MCF Donor Portal will not only be getting a fresh new look soon, but also updates to improve functionality and your user experience. Stay tuned for more details to come in the near future!
9th Annual Local Community Foundation Convening: Connecting the Dots - Building Resilient Communities

Whether it be learning about transitioning economies or how to utilize Brownfield grants, this convening is designed to provide tools for community leaders to build resilient communities. 

This year features sessions centered around community and economic development, breakout sessions focused on organizational capacity, and a new platform for exchanging knowledge and ideas. 

September 17th & 18th
Roosevelt Jr. High School
Red Lodge, Montana

Webinar - Gifts through Community Foundations: The Where, Why and How of Donor Stewardship and Cultivation

If you're a nonprofit that receives an annual distribution, this one is for you!

Have you ever asked these questions?  
  • Are we supposed to thank the donors after we get the money?
  • How do we appropriately steward and cultivate our donors who give through MCF or other community foundations?
  • Where does this money come from?
  • Why are there different kinds of funds at MCF and how does that affect the money my organization receives?
  • How do community foundations work with both donors and nonprofits and how can my organization benefit? 
If the answer is yes, then this webinar is for you! We demystify the relationship between the gifts you receive through community foundations and how to help ensure you receive more gifts in the future. 
In this webinar, we review the following:
  • What is a community foundation and how is it different from other nonprofits or foundations?
  • Types of funds at MCF (and other community foundations) and how your nonprofit may or may not be benefitting from those funds (and why).
  • How MCF can help you cultivate donors who support your organization by giving through MCF, including those with donor advised funds.
  • Best-practices to ensure ongoing support for your organization from community foundation donors.
Gifts through Community Foundations: The Where, Why and How of Donor Stewardship and Cultivation
Gifts through Community Foundations: The Where, Why and How of Donor Stewardship and Cultivation

Montana Nonprofit Association Annual Conference Registration Open

The Montana Nonprofit Association's 2018 Annual Conference registration is now open. Explore how tenacious leadership, valuing and investing  in people, and building a resilient organizational culture are the  fuel we need to be effective in challenging times.
As the nonprofit sector evolves and positions itself for the future, it is more important than ever to understand and capitalize on the power of individual contributions to our common goals. The annual MNA Conference is a dynamic, high caliber networking and professional development event for nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers.
This year's attendees will emerge ignited and equipped to not only make a difference individually, but also engage a broader audience in our collective effort to advance the common good.
Nonprofit Spotlight: Great Falls Symphony
by Hillary Rose Shepherd, Executive Director, Great Falls Symphony Association

The Great Falls Symphony Association is an established cultural organization incorporated in 1959, now celebrating our 60th season. We strive to help make Great Falls a better place to live by providing outstanding and transformative music events and education programs for the community. Our vision is to be an essential cultural asset in North Central Montana that raises the quality of life for its citizens through outstanding performing arts programs.

The Great Falls Symphony includes a 75 member semi-professional Orchestra, a 100 member Symphonic Choir and two professional resident ensembles (the Cascade Quartet and Chinook Winds) made up of nine "Core" orchestral musicians, and a Youth Orchestra program (established in 1996) that supports two Youth Orchestras and over 100 talented young musicians grades 6-12 from Great Falls and surrounding areas. These components offer a rich and diverse mix of activities that include orchestra, choral, chamber and educational concerts which reach up to 40,000 people annually.

The Great Falls Symphony presents a 7-concert classic series every year, and plays host to a variety of guest artists and resident composers. The Cascade Quartet and Chinook Winds present a total of 14 Chamber Music concerts in Great Falls. They also tour Montana and the United States, traveling an average of 4,500 miles each year performing their concert series, and hosting workshops and educational programs each year.

To fulfill a state and regional mission, the Great Falls Symphony places the highest priority upon programs that provide state-wide education and outreach. Two Youth Matinees are presented each season by the Orchestra and have served well over 115,000 students from the public, private and home schools in a 100 mile region of Central Montana. The Great Falls Symphony partners with a large number of organizations in order to provide high quality artistic and educational programs to all.

In add ition to the Great Falls Symphony Association's primary mission, we also partner with two companies based out of Indiana and Illinois to present the Broadway in Great Falls series. Broadway in Great Falls brings national tours of Broadway shows through Great Falls each year. These diverse musical and theatrical offerings provide a significant boost to Great Falls' economy during the winter season. According to the statistics provided through Visit Great Falls, Montana, the Great Falls Symphony Association helps bring over $1.3 million to the community each year through tourism. 

As we celebrate our 60th Anniversary, we enthusiastically honor our past while looking forward to the future. Our success would not have been possible without the strong support of our patrons and donors. The Symphony's endowment continues to be an imperative element of stability and assurance over the years, as the organization has grown from a $15,000 annual budget to the $800,000 annual budget that it is today. 

You can support the Great Falls Symphony forever by contributing to their endowment.
Grant Cycle to Benefit Blaine County Closing Soon

The grant cycle to benefit Blaine County from the Blaine County Community Foundation Fund will close September 7th, so please get your applications in before the deadline. The Blaine County Community Foundation Fund was established at MCF by Warren Ross in 1997. Financial support for this grant program also comes from the Ross 87 Ranch Endowment Fund, established by Warren Ross as well.
Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Grants will range in size from $500 to $2,000. While grants must be used for projects benefiting communities or residents in Blaine County, the grantee organization does not need to be based in Blaine County. Only one application per organization is allowed.
Eligible projects must provide a direct benefit to local residents, be sustainable, and address important, unmet needs. Ineligible projects include conferences, workshops, planning, research, untested projects, and partisan or sectarian activities.
Grant requests are reviewed by the MCF Grants & Scholarships Committee. The grant process is competitive; incomplete applications will not be considered. 
To apply for a grant, access the online application at Only online applications will be accepted. For questions, please contact MCF Director of Operations & Grants Jessica Stewart-Kuntz at (406) 441-4950 or
Third and Final Round of Grant Funding from Montana Healthcare Foundation Opened

The Montana Healthcare Foundation has opened its third and final round of grant funding and is currently accepting applications. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 for projects 1-2 years in length. This is an incredible opportunity, so don't miss out if you're eligible and please share if you're not! 
Generosity at Work

More than $43,000 was distributed in July through grants to worthy organizations across the state. Thank you donors for your incredible generosity and thank you to the hardworking nonprofit beneficiaries for your continued efforts to make Montana communities the place we love to call home!

If you want to put your generosity to work, visit the Giving section of our website to learn more.
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