January 2017
From Mary's Desk

Last month I was having lunch with a friend when she remarked, "You [Montana Community Foundation] should be funding our nonprofit capacity building program." Her statement took me aback, so much so that I was speechless - yes, that IS hard to imagine, now isn't it? Then I realized there was a disconnect between her understanding of the role of a community foundation, and more specifically, the focus of Montana Community Foundation (MCF).
"Community foundations are nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, nonsectarian philanthropic institutions with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds established by many separate donors for the broad-based charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area." ~Community Foundation Overview, Council on Foundations.
At MCF, we believe everyone can and should be a philanthropist. We are so committed to preserving the intergenerational transfer of wealth that is currently occurring in our great state that we created an entire department dedicated to helping families and organizations preserve what they care about in Montana. The Montana Office of Gift Planning (MOGP) assists individuals and organizations with gifts of all types and complexity. The MOGP staff have helped with gifts of property, highly appreciated publicly traded securities, life insurance and more to create planned and outright gifts that fund endowments benefiting Montana - forever.
The phrase publicly supported differentiates us from our friends in the private foundation world. Every year, when filing our Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service, we must prove that we meet the public support test. The public support test ensures the majority of revenue comes from sources other than a few donors and investment income. At MCF, and all community foundations, many contributors make our work possible.
At MCF, we believe endowments are a sound way to ensure a bright future for Montana. Endowments are established to last forever. With endowments, the original gift is never spent. We pool endowment gifts for investment purposes, account for each one separately, and pay out an annual percentage of the endowment's value that is deemed prudent. The payout policy is annually reviewed and approved by the MCF board. Currently, the MCF endowment payout is 4.5%, based on a fund's 36-month rolling average. The payout method smooths market fluctuations while preserving the purchasing power of endowments for years into the future.
MCF has approximately 800 component funds, each of which has a charitable purpose for the benefit of Montana. Donor Designated Endowments are established to support specifically named charitable organizations. Agency Endowments are established by nonprofit boards dedicated to preserving the long term viability of that organization. Donor Advised Funds function similarly to private foundations, engaging families in charitable giving for the benefit of Montana. There are many other fund types, but you get the picture.
From a programmatic perspective, we've spent well over 10 years supporting the development of local community foundations. We believe local communities can best address local challenges, so we've dedicated significant effort to strengthening and assisting local community foundations whenever and wherever they are ready to be leaders in their communities. We want the local community foundation to be front and center in identifying and addressing their community's challenges.
Everything we do is focused on Montana. It's focused on the future. And it's focused on purposes established by each component fund entrusted to us. Our goal is to inspire permanent philanthropy for the future of Montana. 

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
The check might be in the mail...

It's once again time for annual distributions, the single largest disbursement of grant funds we make each year. The annual distribution encompasses those grantees who receive a single, designated payment once each year. These payments are distributed by March 1.

We love granting out funds to worthy nonprofits in support of philanthropy in Montana. If we don't have the proper bank account information on file, however, payments will be delayed while we try and track down updated information. Please be sure to always keep us updated with your latest account information. You can email or call us at 406.443.8313 to provide any updates.

And while account information is particularly important at this time of year, this is also a great time to update us with your latest address, phone number, email, and also any changes to fund representatives, executive directors, etc. For these types of updates, please email or call 406.443.8313. Please help us help you!
The New Year's Resolution You Need to Make

If there's one New Year's resolution you need to make and keep this year, it's getting your estate plan in order and creating a will. Celebrating the new year and other events like a milestone birthday, the arrival of a grandchild or retirement are a time to celebrate and reflect on where your family has been and what the future might hold. It's also a chance to think about the values you hope to pass on to future generations.

One way you can ensure that your values endure is through estate planning. Estate planning is the highly personal process of deciding how your assets will be distributed after your lifetime.

Start at the Beginning

Create a will. Through this important document, you can direct the division of your property the way you choose. If a charity or charities have been important in your life, you can also include a gift to support their future.

Already have a will? Don't set it and forget it! Review it every couple of years to ensure that it has kept pace with your life. A new marriage, divorce, birth or death of a family member are events that should trigger a review to make sure that your will still protects the people and causes you love.

Go a Step Further

If supporting charity is a part of your future plans, share your intentions with loved ones. Does your family know why philanthropy is important to you? Tell them! These conversations help ensure your family understands your intentions. You could also inspire them to make their own connection to charitable giving.

Contact us today to make philanthropy a part of your estate planning!
Welcome Caleb and Kay!

Caleb Stumberg joins us as our Database Systems Manager. He is a Montana native and joined MCF in November 2016. He is responsible for optimizing and maintaining MCF's database, Raiser's Edge. Prior to MCF, Caleb worked on a political campaign here in Montana. He holds two bachelor's degrees in history and political science with a focus on international relations from Seattle Pacific University.  

Kay Gray joins MCF as our Senior Accountant. She is a Montana native and joined us in November as well. Kay retired as a Bureau Chief with the State of Montana, Department of Administration. Prior to that, she worked for several local accounting firms in Helena. She has a bachelor's degree from St. Mary College in Leavenworth, KS and is a CPA.

Join us in welcoming Caleb and Kay to the team!
An Amazing Funding Opportunity

The grant cycle for one of Montana's largest funding opportunities has begun, offering money for one of the state's biggest challenges and needs: healthcare. The Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF) has announced its 2017 Call for Proposals (CFP). The first of three rounds is open and proposals for this round are due February 14. They will consider proposals in three areas:

One organization may submit up to two distinct applications under this CFP.

If you have any questions, please visit the FAQs page. If you do not find an answer, please email MHCF's office at: A downloadable version of the 2017 Call for Proposals is available here.

Grants awarded under this CFP will fund projects that must be completed during a period of 12-to 24-months. They are offering two types of grants:


1. Rapid Response Grants: The Rapid Response program will offer grants between $10,000 and $75,000 for projects implemented within a 12- to 24-month period. These grants will be awarded through a one-step application process offered twice in 2017, with a possibility of a third opportunity this fall. The Rapid Response program is intended to support proposals focused on planning, training, and smaller-scale pilot projects. The minimum request is $10,000. The maximum request is $50,000 for a one-year project and $75,000 for a two-year project.

2. Large Grants: The Large Grant program will offer grants above $75,000 and up to $150,000 for projects implemented within a 12- to 24-month period. These grants will be awarded through a two-step application process offered once in 2017. The minimum request is $50,000. The maximum request is $75,000 for a one-year project and $150,000 for a two-year project. MHCF expects to award few grants at the maximum $150,000 level, and encourages applicants to request only what they need for a successful project. Applicants will be asked to present a basic business plan and pro forma budget as part of the full invited proposal.

If you are an organization working to address the many healthcare needs we have in Montana, don't let this opportunity pass you by. If you know an organization who may benefit from this funding, please share this opportunity with them!
Don't delay - apply today!

Just a friendly reminder there is a TON of money available for worthy Montana students in the form of scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. 

Even if you're not a student seeking funding or the parent of a student, please share this opportunity with those who may be interested. Last year we awarded more than $400,000 to help students achieve their academic dreams - make sure you don't miss out!

Apply for a scholarship today. Most applications close on March 17.
Generosity at Work

December was a huge month of giving. More than 60 grants were made totaling over $136,000. From education and children's causes, to animals, the arts, local community foundations and more, donors made an incredible impact this past month. 

Thank you to the many donors for their generosity and to the hardworking nonprofit organizations across Montana for all they do.

Are you interested in putting your generosity to work? Learn more about giving through the Montana Community Foundation.
10 Questions for the Staff - Caleb Stumberg

Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!

1. Where are you from originally?
Helena, MT

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I am the Database Systems Manager and am responsible for optimizing and maintaining MCF's database systems.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
Hike with my dogs, work on woodworking projects, take photos, read, and rock climbing.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
National Geographic photographer because it would be awesome and full of overseas adventures.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I have visited 20 countries outside the United States.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
The outdoors, coffee, and a camera.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
One of my friends from college started a nonprofit selling t-shirts to create business micro-loans for women in Honduras and Ethiopia. During the early stages, I helped out with this organization by planning local events and managing t-shirt inventory.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
MCF helps people put their money into charitable organizations they choose and helps them optimize their tax savings. Philanthropy through MCF is good for both the donor and the organization receiving the grant.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Glacier National Park and the surrounding small towns.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
Montanans usually know what it takes to get things done. If they don't, they figure it out.
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