May 2018
From Mary's Desk

With Mother's Day just behind us and Father's Day approaching, I've been thinking a lot about my parents. My mom passed away nine years ago at the age of 68. My dad is alive and well. It's taken me a really long time to process my mom passing away so young. In processing the realities of her passing, I contemplate what she left behind. The legacy she left me with was one of enjoying life's simple joys. I remember her love of music, cooking, singing, home making, sewing and simple adventures. She taught us many things including what it means to be a cheerful giver. Now that I'm a grandmother, I think about what legacy I'm leaving for my daughter, Laramie, and grandson, Soloman. The legacy I'm leaving is embodied in both of them. Yet, I'm keenly mindful of the legacy I hope to leave as one of serving the greater good.

Montana has been the beneficiary of some incredible legacies established through MCF. On May 31st, we'll be holding the Trailblazer Celebration to honor some of the amazing women like Merle Chambers, Letty Bass, Sheila Rice and Alyce Kuehn who were instrumental in creating and supporting the Women's Foundation of Montana. With a sharp vision and a $500,000 challenge grant, these women and others made the Women's Foundation of Montana a reality with a $1,000,000 permanent endowment which led to our efforts focused on the women and girls of Montana since 1999.

Scholarship season is just wrapping up as well and there's no shortage of legacies there. Louise Dean, T. Eugene Young, George and Emily Vucanovich, and many more have established permanent scholarship funds to benefit deserving students across Montana, helping them achieve their academic dreams. This year, we'll award over $400,000 in scholarships to well deserving Montana students. The legacies of these philanthropists lives on through the young people they have helped succeed.

For the last 30 years, thousands of philanthropists have been establishing and supporting permanent charitable endowments at MCF to benefit Montana forever. Their legacies are many and varied. Some support the causes they care about most or the nonprofit organizations they cherish. Some are passed down to their children as a family donor advised fund, who will in turn pass it on to their children, teaching them the importance and power of giving. The legacies of these donors are helping ensure the place we all love to call home today, will be the place people love to call home for generations to come. For that, we and many others are eternally grateful. What will your Montana legacy be?  

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
10 Questions for the Board - Bryson Pelc

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?
Helena, MT.

2. What's your "real" job outside the foundation?
I am a CPA, providing income tax preparation, planning and solutions to complex tax issues.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
Mountain biking and spending time with my family.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why? 
Mailman. I like to be outside and I like people. Everyone always seems happy to see the mailman. People aren't always happy to hear from their tax accountant.

5. What's something not very many people know about you? 
I have an alias known as Beeson Pecl, which a local retailer prefers to use rather than my actual name no matter how many times I correct them.

6. What are three things you can't live without? 
My family, my bike and local microbrew.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector? 
I have always given back to those resources and communities for which I have lived and benefited. Most of my early nonprofit experience has been related to trails and land conservation. The benefits of this work reaches out to so many users and future generations.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be? 
Many people think MCF only provides solutions for upper income families and individuals with a high amount of charitable donations. MCF actually provides solutions for all families and individuals who strive to give back to their communities. MCF is a resource of information as well as a vehicle to meet charitable goals for everyone. 

9. What's your favorite place in Montana? 
Glacier Park.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans? 
My favorite thing about Montana is the pristine landscape and open spaces. My favorite thing about Montanans is the sense of pride and commitment to local communities and the state of Montana.
Register Today: Investment Webinar

Join us for our General Update and Investment Performance webinar on Friday, June 8th at 10 a.m. MDT. This webinar will begin with a brief general update followed by an in-depth look at recent investment performance, investment strategy and endowment management for the permanent funds held by the Montana Community Foundation. Presenters include Mary Rutherford, President & CEO, Montana Community Foundation, and Omar Sanchez, Chief Investment Officer, Cambridge Associates.  
Time will be provided for questions and the webinar will be recorded for those unable to attend. The recording will be available on our website within a few days following the webinar.

Nonprofit Spotlight: AERO

The mission of AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization) is to empower communities to nurture and promote a more sustainable Montana. We envision a future where all Montanans have access to clean energy, healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and a network that provides leadership, resources, and advocacy.
AERO was founded during the energy crisis of the 1970s to promote local alternatives to non-renewable energy sources. In the early 1980s, AERO began addressing the need to protect renewable resources, especially the natural and human resources on which agriculture and rural communities depend. AERO's members share a commitment to facing the challenges brought by change. By bringing people together, AERO offers a vehicle for collective action and a sense of common purpose for Montanans within their communities to shape a more sustainable future.
We believe, and our programs reflect, that the best way to effect change is by empowering people in their own communities to work towards sustainable solutions. AERO has been at the forefront of grassroots movements and policy change in the arenas of agriculture, energy, environment, community resilience, and climate change for almost 45 years. Please consider helping sustain our long-term impact for another 45 years with a gift to our Endowment or through another Legacy Giving option!

Plan to join AERO October 26-28, 2018, in Missoula for our Expo and Annual Meeting! This year, we'll host renowned agroecologist Dr. Miguel Altieri, a leading expert on sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and regenerative crop systems, as our keynote speaker. As always,  the Expo brings together members and friends to celebrate, learn, network, and get inspired around AERO's mission and work - and it offers resources, networks, and fun like no other event! More info and registration coming soon at
Giving at the Cash Register

In 2016 alone, Americans gave an estimated $390 billion to charities. Have you ever wondered how much of that giving happens at the cash register? The answer is more than $440 million in 2016, and that number is on the rise.

The point-of-sale charity powerhouses include ebay, Walmart, Petco, McDonald's and Costco. Their cash-register campaigns have raised more than $4 billion in the last three decades. Here are three things you need to know about making a contribution to charity when you're doing your grocery shopping or visiting your favorite retailer.

First, if you enjoy giving at the register, you are not alone. 72% of American consumers have done it at some point, and 65% felt positively about the retailer after they made the gift.

Second, if you don't give at the register, you might be one of the 44% of non-givers who take a pass simply because they don't know anything about the cause. That's a perfectly legitimate reason not to give. Focusing on the causes you love is the best way to do good for others and make sure you feel good, too.

Third, don't forget there's another way to shop and give. Look for brands where a portion of every purchase goes to support a particular cause. You can also take advantage of things like the AmazonSmile program, where a percentage of every eligible purchase you make is donated to the charity of your your favorite community foundation!

Each person has a unique social impact personality type. Giving plans look a little different for each of us. If you're interested in giving, but not sure what the most effective way is for you and the causes you care about, contact us!

*Statistics based on Engage for Good's "Charity Checkout Champions 2017" report.
Philanthropy Northwest Seeks Board Nominations

Philanthropy Northwest is seeking nominations for board of director candidates to be elected this fall. As part of Philanthropy Northwest's governing body your voice is critical in shaping the organization's leadership.   

Philanthropy Northwest strives to maintain diversity on its board to adequately represent the communities in our network. This includes, but is not limited to, race/ethnicity, gender, type of foundation, role within the organization, geographic location and urban/rural diversity. Currently their highest priorities are: 
  • Racial and ethnic diversity
  • Idaho and Wyoming-based organizations 
  • Community foundations
  • Trustees of philanthropic organizations

They seek strategic, philanthropic leaders who are committed to building strong, equitable and inclusive communities. Candidates must be a trustee/director or employee of a member organization.
Responsibilities include 
  • Uphold the basic legal responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors.
  • Be additive to the board culture by bringing a strategic perspective to our evolving organization. 
  • Be comfortable with ambiguity.
  • Promote and serve as an ambassador of Philanthropy Northwest and the broader community, including attending Philanthropy Northwest conferences and programs.
  • Maintain active membership in Philanthropy Northwest.
  • Attend at least 75% of board and committee meetings in person (preferable), or by phone.
  • Serve on at least one board committee.
  • Make a personal contribution at a level that is meaningful to you.
To nominate a qualified candidate or yourself please email Arigin Sakda with the candidate's name and a short explanation of what makes this person an ideal candidate. All nominations will be considered. If a candidate is not selected for this round we will keep them in the pipeline to be considered at another time. 

Generosity at Work

April was another great month of giving, with 29 grants totaling more than $157,000 for the benefit of Montana. Alzheimer's research, education, public radio, youth sports, children's theater and even a dental hygiene program were all recipients of this incredible generosity. Thank you to the many donors and to the amazing nonprofit organizations making good things happen across our state!

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