October 2016

From Mary's Desk
As you may have noticed over the past two years, Montana Community Foundation (MCF) has been making significant changes to improve the work we do in service to philanthropy benefitting Montana. We have added professional staff, expanded and strengthened our services, and made every effort to ensure we're offering the best possible service to our donors, nonprofit partners, local community foundations, professional advisors and many others.

I am happy to share some exciting and good news that validates our efforts. MCF has earned accreditation by the National Standards Board for U.S. Community Foundations. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations is the nation's highest standard for philanthropic excellence, establishing legal, ethical and effective practices for community foundations. They were created to demonstrate effectiveness and accountability to policymakers, regulators and the public.

Meeting the National Standards benchmark is a rigorous, comprehensive process. It encompasses, examines and qualifies every aspect of a community foundation's work, including financials, legal compliance, fundraising, grantmaking, governance, donor education and services, marketing, community leadership and so much more. The National Standards accreditation assures our donors, nonprofit partners, professional advisors and the public that we are not only following legal guidelines, but also that we have made a commitment to operational excellence, accountability and sound policies and procedures.

Accreditation was one of the goals set forth by the MCF Board of Directors in 2014. MCF is the first and only community foundation in Montana to have earned this distinction. And with MCF earning this accreditation, now every state in the US has an accredited community foundation. We're proud to lead the way in Montana. I'm also happy to tell you that this accreditation is also conveyed to those affiliate local community foundations operating under our 501(c)3 status.

Thank you for your continued partnership with MCF and for pushing us to achieve our goals on behalf of the state we all love to call home.


Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Social Justice Montana Fund and Blaine County Community Foundation Fund Grant Recipients Announced
We're very happy to announce the recipients of grants from our Social Justice Montana Fund and Blaine County Community Foundation Fund. We had tons of great applicants and while we wish we could have funded each and every one of them, we think these organizations and the projects they're working on will have a powerful and positive impact on Montana:

Social Justice Montana Fund

Three-day racial justice and equity training for youth 
Indigenous Scholars Program 
Georgetown University's School Justice Partnership Certificate Program
Youth Radio Internship Program
LGBTQ Youth Leadership Development 
Statewide policy change to eliminate discriminatory language in state policies 
Blaine County Community Foundation Fund
Automatic doors for the entrance to the senior center
Training for new volunteer EMTS 
Cookbook and new freezer
Literacy program for children 0-5 years old

Congratulations to all the grantees and thank you to everyone who applied!
Don't Leave Your Grantmaking for December!
A misconception we often run across is that nonprofits need more money in December. While it's true that many nonprofits spend more money in December on special holiday fundraising programs, they actually need that money in the months leading up to December to plan those projects and cover costs that are often incurred in advance. 

While a grant to a nonprofit is appreciated at any time of the year, if you're a fund representative or simply someone interested in supporting a nonprofit's holiday programs, remember making that grant or donation in October or November may be better than making it in December. It's also important to remember that nonprofits need our support throughout the year and if everyone waits until year end to make their grants and gifts, it can mean lean times for nonprofits at other times.  

We're always here to help you in your grantmaking and support of Montana's nonprofits, so please don't hesitate to contact us if there's anything we can do!  
Empowering Montana
A Youth Forward participant sharing their personal
experiences at High School Leadership Camp.
MCF recently completed a competitive grant cycle for the Social Justice Montana Fund, which was e stablished at MCF in 1997 with a challenge grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation that was matched by donations from Montanans across the state. Grants from this fund are given to  projects promoting social justice in Montana with preference given to projects serving Montana's youth.
One grantee we'd love to highlight is EmpowerMT. Formally NCBI Missoula, EmpowerMT creates a more just and inclusive society by developing youth and adult leaders who work to end mistreatment, correct systemic inequalities and strengthen communities across Montana.

Over the past 18 years, EmpowerMT has grown from a staff of two to six, with several interns and practicum students, and has reached over 52,000 students, educators, business and community leaders across the state of Montana. Over the past year they traveled more than 5,100 miles and worked with over 6,000 individuals including 4,000 youth and 600 educators. Additionally, due to its successful leadership pipeline, EmpowerMT has empowered more than 100 volunteer trainers with opportunities to co-lead its prejudice reduction, conflict transformation and violence prevention curriculum.

Our thanks to EmpowerMT for the great work they're doing to strengthen Montana communities and also to the generous donors who helped create and continue to support the Social Justice Montana Fund.
Generosity at Work
September saw 12 grants totaling more than $16,000. From childcare and education to healthcare and law enforcement, organizations across Montana are putting the generosity of donors to work in their communities.

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 - Jenifer Gursky
Jenifer Gursky
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's Future? Let's find out!

1. Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Polson, MT.

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I am the Program Officer for Local Community Foundations. I am the point person for all things local community foundations. I provide technical assistance, training in areas like fundraising and administrative capacity, and am the answer finder for many local community foundations.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
Travel. Whether it's up the road to a new hot spring or experiencing the culinary fares of a new culture - when I get free time, I travel.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I think I'd be an architect or a civil engineer. Designing, building, and seeing a finished product - and being ok with the mess that is the process - is something I relish. I think I'd find great joy in traveling down the road and being able to say, "I built that."Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I was a vocal performance major in my first round of college, yet I can't sing pop songs to save my life. I'm classically trained and it has ruined my ability to belt out Beyonce.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
I used to say coffee to this question, but I'm caffeine free now! A good pillow to sleep on, great tunes to jive to, and close friends with which to share it all.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
My first stint as a fundraiser was as an overseas missionary. I didn't know that raising my own program budget and salary was a whole professional field! I then moved to politics and direct service work. I love the nonprofit sector and have found my professional home. There is nothing better than to be working for the betterment of my community and state.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
MCF truly is creating strategies, with local communities, to be ready for tomorrow's needs. Today's resources can be leveraged for the unknowns of tomorrow when we ask our neighbors to join us in creating sustainable funding.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Double Falls, right outside of Augusta on the way to Benchmark.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
Home. It was an incredibly easy decision to return to the place where 'community' means something. Montana is where hospitality is met with rugged individualism, where you know people 500 miles away because it's a little city with long roads. There's no other place like it.

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