December 2018
Almost From Mary's Desk

We have a roller coaster turn of events to share. The medical team at Mayo Clinic has decided this is not the time for Mary's surgery. They reached this conclusion after detailed review of her past surgery notes, pathology reports and MRIs over the years. Mary is taking a bit of time off and will return to Montana and MCF by the end of January. She asked us to express her sincere gratitude to all of you for your calls, well wishes and care. And she also wanted to tell you all how happy she is to have revised her will...have you either prepared or updated yours?


The MCF Team
Scholarship season is just around the corner!

MCF will begin accepting scholarship applications on January 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 academic year. Last year, MCF awarded more than $430,000 in scholarships to 138 worthy Montana students. These scholarships are made possible by the generous donors who have established scholarship funds at MCF.

Scholarship awards generally range between $500 and $5,000, some of which are renewable for multiple years. Qualifications vary widely, resulting in scholarship eligibility for a diverse range of students. Both traditional and nontraditional Montana students are encouraged to apply. Students can apply online with a submission deadline for most applications of March 15, 2019.

Beginning January 1, to apply or for detailed information on eligibility, deadlines and awards for specific scholarships, visit or contact Scholarship Manager Jenny Stark at (406) 441-4946 or
New Members and a Fond Farewell to Cindy Woods  

We're happy to announce the addition of two new members to the MCF board of directors. 

Leonard Smith is a tribal member of the 
Assinaboine Sioux from the Fort Peck Reservation. He has over 30 years' experience in business and economic development with various tribes and Native American organizations, and is the founder of the Native American Development Corporation (NADC). Leonard was successful in organizing the Tribal Leadership Council (representing seven tribes in Montana and Wyoming), Native American Manufacturers Network (representing the tribal businesses in Montana and Wyoming), and Memorandum of Agreements with economic development agencies/organizations to combat depressed economies of reservations throughout Montana. As CEO of a tribal owned manufacturing enterprise for the Fort Peck Tribes, he organized business strategies and developed strategic business partnerships for profitability using the 8(a) program with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Leonard is currently Executive Director of the NADC providing technical assistance and training to Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota Native-owned businesses. His previous experience includes Program Manager for Native American Development Corporation Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Deputy District Director of the U. S. Small Business Administration Montana Office, and Assistant Vice President of the Indian Credit Corporation.  He has received many awards from the Small Business Administration, Economic Development Administration, and other federal, state and private organizations for his work in economic development.

Tom McGree is the Chief Operation Officer of 
First Security Bank of Helena. Tom is a Helena native whose banking career began in 2012. His previous experience was in risk management working across Montana and the Pacific Northwest.

Tom received his property and casualty insurance advisor license in 2001 and earned his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which is one of the commercial insurance industry's preeminent certifications. Tom earned his master's degree (MBA) from Gonzaga University and his degree in accounting with a minor in Business Administration from Carroll College. Tom has served in numerous fiduciary and leadership roles as a part of several state-wide organizations. Tom loves to be with his family and enjoys being an involved and contributing member of his community.

We also say a fond and sad farewell to long-time 
board member and friend Cindy Woods. Cindy has been on our board since 2010 and her contributions to our organization over the years are significant and many. Thank you for your service to MCF and to Montana Cindy - you will be missed! 

Newly elected board officers will be announced next month!
Nonprofit Spotlight - Montana Professional Teaching Foundation
by Eric Feaver

Looking for ways to downsize state government, the 1995 legislature cut $1 million dollars out of the Office of Public Instruction. Consequently OPI looked for expendable programs under its authority. One of those programs was the Montana Teacher of the Year (MTOY), a teacher recognition program sponsored by the national Chief State School Officers of which OPI is a member. The Montana Education Association (MEA) and the Montana Federation of Teachers (MFT), then separate unions of teachers and public employees, joined hands and asked OPI if they could take charge of the MTOY program. OPI agreed. Doing so, MEA and MFT created the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation (MPTF) to sponsor MTOY . . . and an endowment with the Montana Community Foundation (MCF). 
For the next 22 years MPTF grew the MTOY from almost nothing to the most prestigious award a Montana teacher can achieve . . . and we have grown our MCF endowment to over $1 million dollars. In addition, MPTF has adopted new programs that promote and enhance Montana teachers and public schools. We directly administer, sponsor, or facilitate the National Board Certification, Karen Cox Memorial Grants, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, NEA Award for Teaching Excellence, and Jim McGarvey Scholarships.

We no longer sponsor MTOY as OPI has recently taken that program back as it was entitled to do. But we partner with the Montana State Teachers of the Year (MT STOY) to expand professional development opportunities for Montana teachers including the annual Montana Federation of Public Employees (MFPE) Educator Conference, the largest and oldest teacher designed and delivered professional development event in the Pacific Northwest.  

In 2000 MEA and MFT merged into MEA-MFT and September 1, 2018, MEA-MFT merged with the Montana Public Employees Association and created MFPE, Montana's largest union of 25,000 educators and other public employees living and working everywhere across Montana. Meanwhile our foundation - MPTF - keeps rolling right along, adding value to the education of our children.

Contribute now to the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation Endowment Fund.
Portal Update Delayed

The launch of our donor portal update will be delayed until January. While we had hoped to have this updated done in November, delays pushed it until December and with the giving season upon us and so many users making grants this month, we decided to delay the launch until the new year. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Generosity at Work

If the stack of checks heading out the door is any indication, let's just say the grantmaking business is picking up at the end of the year!  November saw 65 grants totaling more than $100,000! We hope you too will consider putting your generosity to work in Montana by supporting the charities and causes YOU care about!
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