August 2020
Letter From Mary
Dear Friends,

As we head into fall, I want to take a moment to talk about action. At the Montana Community Foundation, we often talk about creating strong and vibrant communities through a philanthropy lens. We know the importance of giving back financially to our communities and helping to ensure a strong future for our state through the power of endowments.

However, we also know that ensuring a strong future for Montana goes beyond just having the financial resources we need to see our communities succeed in the years ahead. We can also use one of the most powerful tools we have available to us- our voices. Right now, there are two distinct ways we can all have a say in the future of our state.

  • Get counted. The deadline for completing the 2020 Census is fast approaching. If you have not already, you can complete the Census at or by calling 844-330-2020. A complete count ensures our state receives its fair share of funding and representation over the next 10 years. And it only takes 10 mins to complete!
  • Register to vote. Make sure you are ready to vote in this year’s election. See if you are registered here

Last week, we celebrated Women’s Equality Day and 100 years since the 19th Amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote. I don't know about you, but for me, this serves as a reminder that being able to have a say in what happens in our communities, our state, and our nation is a privilege and a right that I am grateful to exercise in our great state.

Stay healthy.

Mary K. Rutherford
President & CEO
Census 2020: August Update

  • This month, the Census Bureau announced it will cut its 2020 Census count operations short by a month, from October 31 to September 30. Now statewide partners are increasing outreach efforts to ensure a complete count for Montana. Read more.

  • To help with the final Census push, beginning August 31, LOR is offering 50 $1,000 Instagrants to 501(c)(3) organizations working to ensure a complete count in rural parts of the Mountain West, including Montana. This funding can be used for a myriad of things such as tablets or Wi-Fi hotspots to take to a location to collect census responses, stipends for volunteer time, marketing materials, and more. The application is simple and takes less than two minutes to complete. LOR is accepting applications from August 31 and will continue making awards through September 15. Apply Now.

  • Census takers have started knocking on doors to collect responses from households that have not yet responded. Please cooperate. You can also respond online today and avoid being “Scared Cens(l)us.”
Grants Available to Benefit Blaine County

A grant cycle to benefit communities and residents of Blaine County is now open. Grants will be made from the Blaine County Community Foundation Fund, established at MCF by Warren Ross in 1997. Financial support for this grant program also comes from the Ross 87 Ranch Endowment Fund, established by Warren Ross as well.

Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Grants will range in size from $500 to $2,000. While grants must support projects benefiting communities or residents in Blaine County, the grantee organization does not need to be in Blaine County. Only one application is allowed per organization.

Eligible projects must provide a direct benefit to local residents, be sustainable, and address unmet needs. Ineligible projects include conferences, workshops, planning, research, untested projects, and partisan or sectarian activities.

Grant applications will be accepted from August 31–October 2
and can be completed online at Only online applications will be accepted. For questions, please contact MCF Director of Operations & Grants, Jessica Stewart-Kuntz, at (406) 441-4950 or

FAQ: MCF Fundholder Portal
Thank you to everyone who has already registered for the portal!

Whether you are already actively using the portal or still need to register, below you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked portal questions.

What is the Portal?
The portal provides fundholders with 24/7 access to their fund account at MCF. Fundholders can:

• Check fund balance and distributable balance (Donor Advised Funds).

• View fund’s financial records, including fund statements, and history of contributions and distributions.

• Recommend grants and check grant history (Donor Advised Funds).

Who Can Register for the Portal?
Fund representatives with funds at MCF and additional employees and board members at organizations with funds at MCF, are encouraged to register.

How Do I Get Registered? 
  1. Visit and click on the MyFund button on the homepage. 
  2. That will direct you to the portal sign-in page. Under the blue Sign In button, click on Register.
  3. Enter your account information (be sure to use the email we have on record and check for typos) and submit. You should immediately receive an email confirmation that we received your registration (be sure to check you spam/junk folder). 
  4. You will receive an email confirmation after we have completed the set-up of your new account. Please allow 1-2 business days for us to complete the registration process. 

Please note: You will need to register for a new user account even if you had an account on our previous portal. 

Why Does My Fund Statement Look Different?
Portal users are now able to create financial reports/statements and specify the date range for the report. The report can then be downloaded in a variety of formats. Start by clicking on Fund Summary> Report-Fund Statement, entering select dates, and downloading the report. The new fund statement does include more detailed financial information. If you have specific questions about your statement, please contact MCF Controller, Kacie Tollefson at or (406) 603-4199.

Who Do I Contact if I Need Help with the Portal? 
For all other questions, please contact Cathy Cooney, Director of Donor Services, at or (406) 441-4954 for assistance. You can also refer to the QuickStart Portal Guide for detailed portal instructions.
Military Strong: Take the Challenge!
This month, MCF staff participated in the Military Strong Challenge to better understand and support veterans, service members, and their families in Lewis and Clark County.

A campaign of the Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition, the challenge aims to build the community’s awareness about the unique needs of service members, veterans, and their families while empowering everyone to be more supportive of those services. Military Strong also aims to prevent suicide among this population. 

To complete the challenge, businesses and organizations must have 50 percent of their staff members participate in a free 90-minute online program, involving 15-20 minute courses.

10 Questions for Staff: Sarah Morris
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!

When did you join MCF?
March 2020

Where are you from?
Lincoln, Montana

What is your role at MCF and what do you do?
Executive Assistant for our President & CEO, Mary Rutherford. I work closely with Mary and our Board of Directors, providing administrative support such as scheduling, communications, and meeting prep.

What did you do previously?
Most recently, I worked as a Health Unit Coordinator in the ICU of St. Peter's Health Regional Medical Center. Before that, I worked as a Coordinator for the Student Assistance Foundation of MT for over 11 years.

If there's one thing you want people to know about MCF, what is it?
We often talk about our mission "we create a culture of giving so Montana communities can flourish." But what I have come to realize in my short time here is this is not an idea we leave at the door at the end of the workday. Many of us are actively involved in volunteer work, and the generosity we cultivate in our work lives carries into our personal lives.

How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
My first involvement in the nonprofit world began as a recipient of someone's generosity. I was able to earn a college degree with manageable student loan debt thanks to the scholarships I received. I knew even then that I was going to pay-it-forward. Sometimes it's in the form of a donation, but often it is through volunteering my time to fundraisers, which seed those very scholarships I was gifted. My favorite "paycheck" is watching a graduating high school senior walk up to accept money that I helped raise for them to pursue their educational dreams.

What degrees or certificates do you have?
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, NREMT-Basic Certification

Favorite place in Montana?
Anywhere in the Blackfoot Valley!

If you had to choose another profession, what would you choose?
Health Coach. I love helping people work towards a positive goal!

Something most people don’t know about you?
I once drove a sled-dog team out to feed cattle on a local ranch. The majority of the dog team were adopted mutts from the Lewis & Clark Humane Society, but they were well-trained and knew their job better than I did.
Generosity at Work
In August, MCF awarded over $83,000 in grants to benefit Montana communities, thanks to the generosity of our state.