June 2017
From Mary's Desk

It is with a heavy heart I write this month. I had planned to talk about the MontanaPBS endowment and the incredible importance of supporting it to ensure that organization's future funding forever. But you can't write about the MontanaPBS endowment without talking about the amazing people behind its creation - Arne and Steffi Siegel. 

Our dear friend and giant of the Montana philanthropic world Arne Siegel passed away on June 23rd. If you've read our newsletter or annual report, it's likely you know something of Arne already. His contributions to the transportation safety industry were far-reaching and groundbreaking. From pioneering the world's first experimental full-scale automotive crash program and design and construction of the early versions of anthropometric dummies, to rear-facing infant car seats used by families around the world, Arne's work directly or indirectly led to a host of advances in transportation safety design that keep us safe when traveling each and every day.

While Arne and Steffi's contributions to philanthropy extended to a national and even international scale, his work as a philanthropist in Montana is particularly important. Arne and Steffi both served as board members of the Montana Community Foundation. They also were the founders of the West Yellowstone Foundation which became Montana's first local community foundation and MCF's first affiliated local community foundation in 1992. The West Yellowstone Foundation has grown from an initial gift from Arne and Steffi of $5,000 to more than $1.3 million today.

Their other contributions to philanthropy in Montana are numerous. Through their efforts and others, a number of historic railroad buildings including the Union Pacific Depot in West Yellowstone were preserved. This building now houses the Yellowstone Historic Center which explores the heritage of travel to Yellowstone National Park. They also helped with the establishment of the West Yellowstone Veterans Memorial and a local children's park.

One of their greatest legacies will likely be in the field of technical workforce development, which they began in the early 90s. Known today as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, the Rocky Mountain AWIM (A World in Motion) Initiative they helped create is now in nearly half the schools in Montana and has expanded to Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Idaho.

The latest philanthropic effort we had the pleasure and fortune to work with Arne and Steffi on over the past weeks and months was creating the endowment benefiting MontanaPBS. Arne has left many incredible legacies for Montana and the MontanaPBS endowment will surely be another. 

Whether you knew Arne personally, knew of him because of the work he did, or were one of the many thousands who benefited from his generosity and philanthropy, I hope you'll take a moment to remember his message of "Doing good, better" and also remember the man behind those words who did so much for Montana. 

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Big News for Big Hearts

The Big Hearts under the Big Sky program - the "giving back" extension of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association ("MOGA") - presented MCF with a $10,000 gift for the Big Hearts Endowment fund. The contribution, which is the result of money raised during the Greater Helena Gives Campaign, is the first installment to the Big Hearts Endowment.
Big Hearts under the Big Sky is a charitable partnership program that gives military service men and women who have provided extraordinary service to our nation, children who face the challenge of a life-threatening illness, and women who are battling breast cancer the opportunity to enjoy a Montana outdoor adventure at no cost. Big Hearts' primary objective is to coordinate fully-outfitted and guided trips to meet the dreams and needs of carefully screened, qualified participants for the purpose of recognizing and honoring their service and assisting others to cope with the stresses of a loved one facing a life-threatening illness.
"It is with great honor and humility that on behalf of the Big Hearts under the Big Sky program we present this $10,000 endowment gift to the Montana Community Foundation," said Mac Minard, MOGA's Executive Director. "We are proud to be working with the Montana Community Foundation to ensure that through the generosity of so many others that Big Hearts under the Big Sky's mission will continue to make a difference one family at a time."
MCF Board Gathers for June Meeting and Social Event

The MCF Board of Directors gathered on June 15-16 for a board meeting and social event in Helena. Constituents were able to see our new building and meet board and staff. Thank you to the board for their commitment to our organization and hard work. Thank you also to everyone who joined us for our event!
Generosity at Work

June saw 13 grants representing more than $110,000! Thank you to the amazing nonprofit organizations for their hard work and the incredible donors for their generosity!

If you want to put your generosity to work, visit the Giving section of our website. 
The MontanaPBS Endowment

The mission of MontanaPBS is: 

Quality television has the power to elevate our understanding of the world, encourage respect for one another, and influence our lives in a positive way. MontanaPBS shares diverse stories; connects our citizens; discovers common ground; and celebrates the independent spirit and beauty of Montana.

MontanaPBS has been providing our state with top-notch programming for decades. Now more than ever, the importance of providing a permanent source of funding for this organization is apparent. When you give to the MontanaPBS Endowment, you're giving to them FOREVER. Thanks to the generosity of Arne and Steffi Siegel who established the fund, for every $2 donated they will match $1 up to $100,000. Make your gift today and it will go further.

Options and Flexibility: Why endowment giving through MCF offers donors more

One question we sometimes get from donors interested in planned giving is: Why should I make a planned gift and establish a fund here with you rather than at one of the other organizations around Montana that offer permanent charitable funds and planned giving? 

While there are many reasons, perhaps the most important and often overlooked one is options and flexibility. Let's say you want to make a planned gift that will create a fund to benefit Montana State University. You could certainly establish a fund there. But what if you also wanted to benefit your local animal shelter, your church, and your local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter? That's something the university can't do, but MCF can. 

MCF gives donors the flexibility to make a planned gift and establish a fund that can benefit multiple organizations. Many of our donors have multiple philanthropic interests; giving through MCF allows them to support ALL these interests with a single fund. 

Learn more about how to support all your favorite charities with your own endowed fund today.
10 Questions for the Board - Cami Skinner

Just who are these wonderful folks that give so much back to Montana through their work with MCF and beyond? Let's find out!

1. Where are you from originally?
I grew up on a farm and ranch in Northeastern Montana. After graduating from high school from Medicine Lake, I attended the University of Montana for my undergraduate and graduate education.

2. What's your "real" job outside the foundation?
I am the Operations Manager for Seitz Insurance Agency of Sidney.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I enjoy spending time golfing, biking, and fishing among Montana's beautiful outdoors with my husband. I also enjoy taking culinary classes in my ongoing effort to be a better cook.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I truly enjoy my work; however,I have always been interested in the law practice of estate planning. Working with clients to ensure their legacy is preserved as intended would be meaningful. 

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
My high school mascot is the Honker.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
My family, friends, and a daily cup of coffee.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
Growing up in a rural community, I learned the value of service and giving back at a young age. While my work with nonprofits has evolved, the simple lesson of "making the best better" has remained steadfast to my involvement. 

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
MCF is a dynamic organization committed to strengthening Montana communities through philanthropy. I am honored to work alongside our talented MCF staff and fellow directors to further its mission.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
My family's farm and ranch, which is my favorite place to relax and enjoy a "technology detox."

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
I most appreciate Montanans can-do spirit, unwavering generosity, and sense of neighborliness. 
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