October 2018
From Mary's Desk

Being counted matters a lot! Just a few weeks ago, MCF participated in the first Montana 2020 Complete Census Count Committee meeting where people from across Montana gathered to discuss how best to get the word out about the importance of getting an accurate count. April 1, 2020 may seem like it's a long way off, yet it will be here before we know it. The Census is so incredibly important to Montana that spreading the word early and often is vital to our success. Success? Yes, the Census will ultimately be a success or failure for all of us here in Montana and it's up to all of us to ensure that success.

Why is the Census so important? How about $20,000 in lost funding per person who goes uncounted? That's right - over the course of a decade, we lose $2,000 in Federal funding per person, per year if they aren't included in the count. Imagine what that means to Montana and especially to some of our small, rural communities. If just 10 people aren't counted in a town, $20,000 per year is lost and $200,000 lost over the 10-year period between Census counts.

The funding Montana receives based on the Census is critical for many different things. It funds programs for children and seniors, like the National School Lunch Program, Special Education, Medicaid and Medicare Part B. It provides funding for highway planning and construction, as well as Federal Pell Grants for college students.

An undercount for Montana means our state will lose funding which will go to another state. It's not a matter of the funds not being spent. An undercount means that lost funding goes somewhere else. Perhaps it ends up in California. Maybe it will be Idaho or Oklahoma. We know Montanans are fiercely proud of our state and the 2020 Census is the perfect opportunity to let your competitive spirit and love for our state shine. And when Montana loses funding, the needs do not go away. It means businesses, nonprofits and government agencies will not only have greater difficulty planning for the future, but will also be called upon to fill those shortfalls. It means civil rights and voting rights laws may not be accurately enforced.

Representation is perhaps one of the most important issues at stake for Montana. The Census count may gain another seat for Montana in the United States House of Representatives. That means another vote for Montana representing Montanans on issues important to our state.
Tell your friends, family and neighbors. Tell your customers, donors, volunteers, board, staff and any other constituency you have access to, then tell them again. The 2020 Census is an essential part of ensuring Montana's future. Be counted. And don't worry, we'll be reminding you again!

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Don't delay that annual gift or grant!

While a grant to a nonprofit or gift to a fund is appreciated at any time of the year, remember making that grant or donation in October or November may be better than making it in December. Many nonprofits have special funding needs leading up to December to cover costs for upcoming special events, annual appeals, etc. 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. Need help with your grantmaking or a gift? Don't hesitate to contact us!
Bigfork's ACES Afterschool Receives $30,000 Grant from Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation Fund  

ACES (Arts, Community, Education, Sports) Afterschool, a 501c(3) charitable organization in Bigfork, received a $30,000 grant from the Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation, a fund recently established at MCF. The grant will be used to support ACES' programs designed to encourage each child to pursue and achieve their highest personal potential through academic and cultural enrichment, and community and family engagement. 

"The board of directors and myself would like to thank Laura Barrett and her family for the generous donation to ACES. I have known Laura for the past 35-plus years and have loved her and her giving, artistic spirit. We have decided to honor Laura's memory by naming our art room at ACES the 'Laura Barrett Art Room,'" said Cathy Hay, ACES director. 

The Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation Fund is dedicated to supporting ideas and projects that create opportunities for arts, culture, entertainment, education, and the general enrichment of life, foremost in the immediate Bigfork area, but also to nearby regions. 

"Laura was passionately committed to building community. To do that, one starts at the beginning - with the education of children. Bigfork ACES is a stellar program providing quality after-school care for children who otherwise might be going home to an empty house," said Kevin Barrett, spokesman for the Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation. 

Born in Froid, Montana, in 1930, Laura was raised on a wheat farm, which she left at the age of 16 to attend the University of Montana. She worked as a schoolteacher in San Francisco, after which the bright and beautiful Laura became a stewardess for Pan American Airways. There she met Jim Barrett, and the couple married and moved to Los Angeles and had five children. 

The care of her family did not temper Laura's passion for the arts. She taught art classes and worked to develop community art programs. She wrote and directed her play "Garden of Pleasure," which was performed at UCLA. In 1969, the suburban Laura created a cross-culture art cooperative with her inner-city friend Pauline.

Laura's farming roots served the family well when her husband expressed interest in an agricultural project. Laura was 100 percent for getting the family back to the land. Laura and Jim founded Chateau Montelena in Calistoga, California. Quickly, their 1973 Chardonnay won the landmark Paris tasting of 1976, catapulting the winery to fame. 

Jim and Laura went their separate ways in 1977. However, Laura never gave up on the dream of a family winery, maintaining her ownership and making significant contributions to the continued success of Chateau Montelena. Laura's memoir of the early Montelena journey is titled "What is More Real Than a Dream?" 

In 1980, the unattended Laura caught the attention of another Mr. Barrett: Jack Barrett, the plumber. Laura and Jack were married in 1984. By 1986, they moved to Bigfork, Montana, where Laura's creative, idea-generating engine coupled with Jack's practical knowledge to create Bridge Street Gallery and Wine Café and Restaurant. 

In 2010, Laura was diagnosed with cancer. She bravely endured surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Laura handled these events as bumps in the road on the way to her destination. With her diminished health, Laura's resolve to accomplish became even more fervent. The dynamic duo of Laura and Jack started Collage Gallery of Fine Art in Bigfork in 2014. After Jack passed away in Mexico in March 2016, Laura adjusted and kept moving. She traveled to Cuba in March 2017. Laura continued to work on her memoirs, poetry, and artwork. Finally, Laura developed a charitable foundation to support the arts. Laura died on July 20, 2017. 
The portal update is coming!

The update to our donor portal is coming in November. While we don't have a hard date yet, we believe it will likely be around the 15th. What does this mean for you from a practical standpoint? On or around this date, watch your email for an invite to create a new log-in and password. The email will include a link for you to follow. Once you've done this and successfully logged in, you'll find a link in an orange box on the right side of the homepage called "User Manuals" where you can download information to help you navigate the new system. While it is very similar to the old system and quite intuitive, the user manuals can be helpful. And of course if you have any difficulties, please don't hesitate to contact us
Donor Advised Funds - Helping Our Neighbors is the Montana Way
by Mary K. Rutherford

Right now, somewhere in Montana, there are two families who may never meet - and yet will profoundly influence each other. Like many people these days, one needs a little extra help to get on their feet and may struggle to get by. The other has been fortunate enough to be able to provide for themselves and their future, and now they are eager to give back. 

As the president and CEO of MCF, I have the humbling job of interacting with both of these types of families firsthand. It reminds me that even though many of our neighbors face tough odds, we are also blessed with families who want to help. That's why I'm proud that our foundation works to create opportunities for charitable giving that enable more families to be a part of making our state a great place to live for all its residents - no matter which town they call home or how much they earn. 

Donor advised funds, also called DAFs, are a philanthropic tool used by many different entities, and in organizations like ours, they play a unique role in the community. For example, the Disadvantaged Children's Fund, established at MCF by Richard (Dick) and Cheri Cox of Billings, has been critical to supporting children's causes in the Billings area and across the state. Why did they choose a donor advised fund at a community foundation like MCF? The process is relatively simple, letting Dick and Cheri focus on philanthropy instead of administration. DAFs are prudently managed investments, meaning these funds grow over time so Dick and Cheri can continue giving, year after year and, eventually, they can pass the joy of giving through this fund on to their children. Perhaps more than anything, it's the assistance and expertise Dick and Cheri receive - not only in making the best decisions about what gifts make the most sense for them financially, but also the best way to make grants that have the greatest impact. Dick and Cheri have granted more than $350,000 from their DAF, helping the missions of organizations such as the Intermountain Children's Home, the Tumbleweed Runaway Program, Camp Mak-A-Dream, Boys & Girls Club of Yellowstone County, and others. This is just one way neighbors are helping neighbors in Montana. 

The donor advised funds at MCF allow local residents to set a local agenda for how, where, and what to focus on in advancing the common good. The fact is, during our 30 years of service to Montana, we have built deep expertise in the nonprofit landscape, as well as our communities' unique needs. DAFs allow potential donors to tap into this expertise so they can rest assured their gifts will achieve the greatest good. 

Montana's nonprofits - and the residents they serve - also benefit from the added flexibility and nimbleness that comes with DAFs. DAFs can be critical when crises hit or unexpected opportunities arise: whether it's replacing a roof on a church, or responding to a natural disaster. What's more, DAFs can be actively invested alongside our community endowments, which allows charitable funds to grow over time and respond to immediate and future needs.  

For Montana's many charity-minded residents, DAFs offer a way to establish a tradition of giving they can pass on from one generation to the next, without requiring the financial wherewithal, time, or knowledge necessary to set up a private foundation. In families of more modest means, gifts might start with a few thousand dollars, or a donation of stocks or hard-to-value assets that can nonetheless do a lot of good right in their own community.  

Administering funds such as these is a privilege that comes with big responsibilities. That's why community foundations dedicated to excellence, including MCF, meet the rigorous qualifications of National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, which sets strict measures for accountability and transparency in giving. These standards include a "fund activity" requirement specifically designed to ensure resources are distributed promptly and effectively. And once a donor makes their gift, they relinquish control over how the resources are spent - just as they would with any charitable donation. While donors and designated family members can offer advice, final management and oversight stays with the community foundation to ensure resources go where they can do the greatest good.  

At the end of the day, Montana's greatest strength is in its people - and the ways neighbors find to help one another every day. That's how families from different walks of life can influence each other, even if they never meet. One may benefit from a food pantry with plenty on the shelves this month; another from showing their children the meaning of giving back. Either way, MCF is honored to be here to connect them, now and for years to come. 

(This guest editorial originally appeared in the Montana Standard on October 22, 2018.)
Generosity at Work

Last month, 23 grants were made representing nearly $140,000. From the arts and education, to children and more, the generosity of YOU our donors made this possible. Thank you for your commitment to ensuring Montana's future and thank you to the many nonprofits making great 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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