November 2016

From Mary's Desk
Two weeks have passed since the election. Whew! Most of us can agree we are happy to have election season behind us. Most of us can also agree our identity as Montanans goes far beyond our political identity. It's something I love about Montanans. We stop to pull each other out of snowbanks regardless of whether or not we agree with each other's bumper stickers. We shake hands and then together shake our heads at the weather, no matter who we chose on our ballot. We're Montanans - first and foremost.

In this edition of Infinity you'll see some wonderful stories about people being recognized for their efforts in philanthropy. They have made a remarkable and positive impact through philanthropy for our state. Philanthropy ensuring the future of the Last Best Place is something else we as Montanans can all agree on. This place we love, where we live, work and play, where we are so thankful to call home, is a place we all want the brightest future for. I'm thankful that here at MCF, that's what we get to work toward each and every day.

As someone who has partnered with MCF, you too are making a remarkable and positive impact. As you join family and friends this year and give thanks, we know you'll be joining us in giving thanks for this wonderful place we call Montana. 

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Amy Sullivan Honored as 
Outstanding Professional Fundraiser of the Year
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents nearly 30,000 members in more than 200 chapters throughout the world. Founded in 1986, the Montana Chapter fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. Collaboration, education, professionalism, integrity, ethical fundraising, mentoring and networking guide all aspects of the AFP Montana Chapter. 
National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) is a special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy -- and those people active in our philanthropic community -- have made to our lives, our communities and our world. When NPD was first celebrated in 1986, when President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing Nov. 15, 1986 as National Philanthropy Day®. Since then, the day has been recognized by numerous state, provincial and local governments across North America. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Montana Chapter is honored to celebrate and recognize individuals and organizations whose achievements have had a significant impact on our society.
This year, our very own Amy Sullivan, Director of the Montana Office of Gift Planning, was selected as the Outstanding Fundraising Professional. 
Amy's dedication to her home state can be seen across Montana and throughout the many organizations that have benefited from her dedication to the profession. Her professional accomplishments in fundraising, the impact of her work, along with her encouragement and motivation of others all make her an excellent choice for this award.

Amy walks the walk. She personally makes charitable gifts for the benefit of those organizations that are near and dear to her.

For nearly 13 years, Amy has dedicated herself to working with philanthropists to meet their philanthropic objectives in service to The Last Best Place. Amy served as the executive director of the Montana History Foundation for ten years where she personally raised more than $13 million to ensure Montana's history continued to be shared with current and future generations. In 2014, Amy joined Montana Community Foundation to launch the newly created Montana Office of Gift Planning.

In her first six months, she worked with families to preserve $16 million for the benefit of Montana communities and organizations. Since then she has adeptly brought to closure a broad range of gifts including outright gifts, planned gifts, bequests and trust creations, all in support of MCF's fundraising and strategic goals.

Amy is the consummate connector. As a fifth-generation Montanan, she gains credibility with others when she shares her life's stories of growing up on a ranch near Simms. Amy inspires us all to think big when she shares her mother's wisdom, "In Montana, you can dream as big as the sky, and the sky is pretty big here."
Columbus Community Foundation
Honored as Outstanding Foundation of the Year
Amy wasn't the only honoree at the AFP Montana's annual National Philanthropy Day Awards that we're particularly excited about though. Columbus Community Foundation (CCF) was honored as the Outstanding Foundation of the Year.

This community foundation has much to be proud of as their all-volunteer board and organization serve the Columbus community, a community with a population of just under 2,000. CCF was birthed out of the community visioning Horizons program, a program supported by Northwest Area Foundation, MSU Extension, and Montana Community Foundation.
In 2008, CCF was formed and has not looked back. In its first year, CCF raised $20,000 towards an endowment to benefit the Columbus community. First year grants funded six nonprofits, nearly half of all nonprofits in Columbus. The board was, and is, extremely active in garnering support for both their programs and endowment growth. They know first-hand the importance of permanency when it comes to funding a sustainable future for their small community.
Just one year after CCF was formed, the board invited financial professionals to a luncheon to discuss how to offer charitable options to their clients. A community foundation only a year old had the vision to teach others in their small community about legacy and philanthropy.
Over the course of the past eight years, CCF has granted more than $42,000 in the Columbus community. Organizations like a Kid's Club, a nonprofit childcare center and Museum of the Beartooths receive funding from CCF. Project Hope, Columbus's food bank is an annual recipient of granting dollars. Groups like the county library, senior citizen programming, a youth center, and a grief support organization all receive support from CCF. The scope of their place-based funding is wide, but funds collected for the benefit of Columbus stay in Columbus.
Support of community nonprofits does not stop at simply writing a grant check, though. In 2011 Melissa Kramer, President of CCF, applied for and was granted a leadership grant from Montana Community Foundation to build nonprofit capacity in Columbus. The leadership CCF has shown in Columbus meant a panel of six guest speakers talking about the "nuts and bolts" of working in nonprofits was hosted in 2012 where more than 20 attendees from 12 community nonprofits participated. Building nonprofit capacity has been a driving force for CCF.
In 2016 CCF leapt into Give Local, a 24-hour online giving program that supported ten Columbus nonprofits. The nonprofit and philanthropic world knows all too well what happened during this year's Give Local program - the national online platform crashed. In other communities this meant a significant roadblock to nonprofits trying to raise money. Not in Columbus. The board, made up of all volunteers, rallied the community encouraging them to go downtown and donate. This board was able to activate a whole community and raise over $25,000 to go to local nonprofits. $25,000 for a community of less than 2,000 people! This community foundation knows their community, is the heart of their community, and is able to leverage philanthropic dollars toward deserving charities.
Charities in Columbus know they can count on CCF whether it be to bring valuable learning opportunities or provide funding. The community foundation has actively recruited outside tools to engage their community's nonprofits and has worked with individual and corporate philanthropists to build a fund for Columbus's future. Not only is CCF building an engaged community today, but they have tomorrow's needs always in view. In their short eight years of existence, CCF has shown incredible community leadership. Congrats to them on a very well-deserved award!
Saying Goodbye and New Board Officers
Brian Patrick
Dan Clark
At MCF's annual meeting, we were sad to see two longtime board members rotating off our board after years of dedicated service to our organization. Dan Clark of Bozeman served nine years and Brian Patrick of Great Falls served six years. We thank them for their incredible leadership and contributions to ensuring Montana's future.
The board also elected new officers. Dale Woolhiser will serve as Chair, Laura Brehm will serve as Vice Chair, Kelly Bruggeman will serve as Secretary, and Cindy Woods will continue to serve as Treasurer.

Dale Woolhiser

Laura Brehm

Kelly Bruggeman

Cindy Woods

Getting Our Hands Dirty
As part of our board meetings, we'll now be taking some time to volunteer in the community where we're meeting. At the most recent meeting in Helena this month, we partnered with Helena Area Habitat for Humanity.

Together we were able to conquer two large projects. We finished painting the interior of the Moody home (where we'd previously helped raising roof trusses and more) and we helped kick off Habitat's first home preservation project.

Home preservation projects focus on critical home renovation such as roofing and plumbing repairs. This new program is extremely economically and socially responsible, as it will allow people to stay in their current homes at a fraction of the cost of new construction.
Generosity at Work
In October, MCF distributed 60 grants totaling more than $120,000! These included our Social Justice Montana and Blaine County Community Foundation Fund grants, as well as grants to benefit things like seniors, the Boy Scouts, pets, education and churches. Thank you to our donors for their generosity and to the many worthy nonprofit organizations helping us put that generosity to work!

You too can help us put generosity to work. If you're interested in finding out more about establishing a fund or supporting an existing fund, visit the Giving section of our website.
10 Questions for the Staff - Jen Euell
Jen Euell
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's Future? Let's find out!

1. Where are you from originally?
I'm a fifth generation Montanan, born in Billings and raised on a farm in the Huntley Project area.

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I'm the Program Director of the Women's Foundation of Montana, working to advance economic independence for Montana women and create a brighter future for our girls. I work with an Advisory Board of amazing women from across the state to make powerful grants, provide statewide research and policy recommendations, and create initiatives such as PowerHouse Montana, to connect women to opportunities.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I love hiking and biking, especially with my family, husband John and daughter Amelia, along with our dogs Lucy and Gertie. I also love reading and gardening, and pretty much any creative project. And I love to throw a good party.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
In my next life I hope to be an entrepreneur, running a social benefit company because I love the idea of making social change while making money.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I have four college degrees, two bachelors and two masters (so far). If I could I would spend my whole life learning.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
I can't live on only three. Coffee, chocolate, books and mountains.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
I wanted to work toward gender equality and this was the best way I could find to accomplish that.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
We truly are a resource for all and anyone can be a philanthropist.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Dalton Lake in the Great Burn.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
Montanans still take care of their neighbors and believe in kindness and civility.  We don't always agree, but we never fail to pull each other out of snowbanks when needed.

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