July 2018
From Mary's Desk

Every year, I eagerly await the release of Giving USA's Annual Report on Philanthropy. I first encountered this work when I was a student in graduate school, at the very school that produces this incredible amount of information. Giving USA is considered one of the BEST sources for summarizing giving in America. Charitable giving in America continues to be one of the very things that demonstrates our commitment as Americans to serving one another. The results reported inspire and motivate me to personally do more and to be better.
 
For the first time, charitable giving exceeded the $400 billion mark, with increases in all four sources of giving: individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations. Total giving was just over $410 billion with a growth rate of just over 5% from 2016. Of the 10 subsectors tracked, giving to foundations increased 15.5%, which was the largest gain in any subsector accounting for $45.89 billion.
 
Where did those generous gifts go? Religious organizations received 31%, education 14%, human services 12%, foundations 11%, health 9%, public-society benefit 7%, arts/culture/humanities 5%, international affairs 6%, environment/animal causes 3%, and individuals 2%. Eight out of nine major charitable sub-sectors saw increased contributions in 2017, compared with 2016.
 
As a community foundation, we get lumped into the "foundation" subsector, despite significant differences between us and what most people think of as a traditional foundation. For most traditional foundations, the majority of the funds they hold, and in turn the grantmaking they do, is discretionary. While their support may be limited to a specific field of interest, they still make the decisions as to where and how grant dollars will go. For us here at MCF, the opposite is true. As I mentioned last month, we are the agent of the philanthropist in service to Montana. We help find, explore, channel, and maximize the charitable giving of generous individuals. Most importantly, we help preserve and ensure that charitable giving forever by endowing it in permanent funds.
 
MCF isn't a foundation as most people conceive of one, with millions of dollars to grant as we see fit. Instead, we are much more like Montana's endowment, comprised of many specific funds, all for the benefit of this amazing place we are fortunate enough to call home. Together, we are creating a permanent place where Montana philanthropy lives and grows. Thank you for entrusting us with your generosity.

Sincerely,
Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Losing one of Montana's greatest champions

Montana has lost one of its greatest champions. Steve Browning died May 15, 2018, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. The legacy he created for Montana, however, will never die. 

We hope you'll take a moment to read Steve's obituary and also our Board Chair Dale Woolhiser's editorial honoring Steve.  


Anonymous donor gives $150,000 to home for adults with autism

It's the kind of story we've been fortunate to be a part of a few times here at MCF over the last few years - an anonymous donor(s) making an incredible gift to those in need. 

A front page article  in a recent issue of the Missoulian profiled Rich and Julie Janssen of Ronan, whose 23-year-old son, Jake, has severe autism and other medical issues. After the state denied their request for financial aid to move Jake into a group home, they decided to start their own: the  Proactive Living Facility .

The cost for the new facility would be significant, well into the six-digits, and funding was not coming in. That was until an anonymous donor(s) read the story in the Missoulian and made a $150,000 grant through MCF to help bring Rich and Julie's dream to life.

Rich Janssen, speaking with the Missoulian shortly after the donation, summed up his reaction in three words: "Shock, joy, happiness."

"It really reaffirmed my faith in humanity that there are people who care out there," he said. "$150,000 three days after the article broke was pretty amazing."

You can read more about this amazing story in the Missoulian here.

THANK YOU to the generous donor(s) who made this wonderful gift. The good work you are making possible makes Montana a better place for all.
$431K for Students

We recently concluded our 2018-2019 academic year scholarship selections and this year, we'll be awarding an incredible $431,550 in scholarships to 138 Montana students.

Each year, we award scholarships ranging from $500 to $20,000 to deserving students across Montana. Some scholarships are renewable, meaning students can apply to receive funding for multiple years.
 
"Montana's young people are the future of this state," said MCF President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Rutherford. "Helping them continue their education and achieve their dreams is important to all of us. The fact that we can assist with that through these financial gifts, which are only possible through the generosity of many, many individuals, makes me so proud."
 
Scholarships are made possible each year by generous scholarship funds established by individual donors and organizations committed to giving back to their community.
 
Students can begin applying online for MCF scholarships on January 1. With a variety of scholarships to offer, MCF urges all students to dream big and take part in its scholarship application process.

If you are interested in leaving your own Montana legacy to benefit deserving students, visit our Scholarship Funds page to learn more.
Helena Area Community Foundation Seeks New Executive Director

The Helena Area Community Foundation  is on the hunt for a new executive director. This is an awesome organization that has a long history of serving the Helena community. If you think you're the right fit, please apply ! Even if you're not, we hope you'll let others know about the opportunity! 
Nonprofit Spotlight: Leadership Montana
by Chantel Schieffer, President/CEO Leadership Montana

Leadership Montana exists to develop leaders committed to building a better Montana through knowledge, collaboration, and civility. At the heart of our work is our flagship program, an eight-month educational experience offering participants a unique opportunity to develop strong leadership skills along with personal and professional growth.

Through our educational programming, we gather some of the most accomplished minds to deeply discuss current issues facing Montana. Every month from September to April, our class of about 40 participants meets in a new Montana community to gain a deeper awareness of opportunities affecting each area, build powerful connections with their classmates, and connect with a network of committed alumni who live and work throughout Montana. At the same time, participants enhance their own leadership skills through our curriculum, Leading in Montana, designed specifically around our class members' interests and needs.

Once participants complete the program, they join our esteemed alumni network of nearly 600 of the state's most influential professionals. With an increased awareness and a commitment to service, our alumni shape Montana's future with enhanced leadership skills and a deepened knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing Montana. Alumni are also encouraged to continue their leadership journey through our Masters Class, a three-session deep dive into state issues and leadership theory.

Leadership Montana also provides training for the citizenry of our state through special programs and events like the Lessons in Leadership speakers series and our annual signature event, The Confluence. Join us for The Confluence in Kalispell on September 13-14 where we will discuss resilience - in community and in ourselves. ( https://www.leadershipmontana.org/happenings/#events)

As we celebrate our 15th Anniversary, we are enthusiastic about the future of our organization, especially with the creation of our endowment with the Montana Community Foundation. Leadership Montana exists because of generous individuals, corporations, and foundations who believe in our mission of developing leaders committed to building a better Montana.

We invite you to consider sustaining our enduring impact for another 15 years - and beyond - with a gift to the Leadership Montana Endowment. Our work forever impacts Montana. Your generosity forever impacts Leadership Montana.

You can support Leadership Montana forever by contributing to their endowment.
Grant Cycle Opens to Benefit Blaine County

We're happy to announce the opening of a grant cycle to benefit the communities and residents of Blaine County. Grants will be made from the Blaine County Community Foundation Fund, 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. Grant applications will be accepted Aug. 6 - Sept. 7, 2018.
 
To apply for a grant, access the online application at mtcf.org/grants beginning August 6th. Only online applications will be accepted. For questions, please contact MCF Director of Operations & Grants Jessica Stewart-Kuntz at (406) 441-4950 or jessica@mtcf.org.
Generosity at Work

With 30 grants totaling more than $260,000, June was another spectacular month of giving. Animals, healthcare, youth, education, food security and more are causes that received grants made possible by incredible donors. Thank you!

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