February 2015

From Mary's Desk

February is the month when students across Montana focus on college and financial aid applications. At MCF, scholarships for college are a big deal. They provide access to education that might otherwise be difficult for prospective students. 


This year, we'll be awarding nearly $300,000 in college scholarships to students studying in Montana and elsewhere. The deadline for applying for most MCF scholarships is March 15, though some have unique application deadlines. Visit www.mtcf.org/applications.html to learn about the many scholarships available. Individuals and organizations continue to entrust MCF as their scholarship partner, because of our commitment to, and demonstration of superior scholarship administration for the benefit of Montana's future. Read more about how two of our scholarships got a significant boost from a generous donor below!





Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE

President & Chief Executive Officer

$1,000,000 for Montana Students
It's not every day we receive a check for a million dollars in the mail, but that's exactly what happened a few weeks ago. The donation came from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation (Siebel Foundation) to provide merit-based college scholarships through the Dearborn Scholarship Fund for the children of active officers of the Montana Highway Patrol and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. For many years, the Siebel Foundation has partnered with MCF to provide scholarships for Montana students, but the million dollar commitment is by far the largest gift the community foundation has received from them.


"We are grateful for this amazingly generous gift," said Mary Rutherford, MCF President & CEO. "The scholarships these funds support are some of our most sought after awards and we are thrilled to know they will continue to be supported for many years to come. The MCF board and staff work relentlessly to ensure our foundation is a place where donors not only feel confident entrusting significant sums of money, but also feel confident in our ability to create a positive impact on Montana's communities. One core component of this is to be a leading provider of scholarship administration. A donation like this is an incredible vote of confidence in our efforts thus far."


The Dearborn Scholarships are made possible through the Siebel Foundation, a nonprofit, public benefit corporation, established as a private foundation in 1996. Its mission is to foster programs and organizations that improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members. The Siebel Foundation funds projects to support the homeless and underprivileged, education and research, public health and alternative energy solutions. Since 2000, the Siebel Foundation has granted $250,890,399 to various charitable causes.


Last year, MCF awarded nearly $300,000 in scholarships to deserving Montana students. A similar amount will be awarded this year through more than 50 scholarships ranging in size from $500 to $5,000. Some of them, like the Dearborn Scholarships, are renewable for multiple years. Students interested in the Dearborn Scholarships or other scholarships available through MCF can visit this link or contact MCF Program Director Cathy Cooney at (406) 443-8313 or ccooney@mtcf.org.  

Generosity at Work

We recently received a wonderful thank you for a grant received through the Jack Fahey Endowment Fund here at MCF. Here's just one snapshot of the good work this generosity is being used for courtesy of Humane Society of Western Montana Director of Development Emily Adamson:


Green Bean is one of three puppies the Humane Society of Western Montana has cared for since October. The trio known to us as the "Three Very Determined Puppies" suffer from some neurological problems; they have trouble walking and standing on their own. Thanks to tremendous support from area volunteers, dedicated staff and funds from donors in our community, we are able to work with the puppies to not only help with their mobility, but also find them homes. Green Bean was just adopted last week!


His custom cart (created by volunteers) makes it easier for him to get around his new home. His brother Tom Turkey received his own cart just a few days ago. We're excited for Tom to gain more strength and are looking forward to finding him a forever home. Sister, Pumpkin Pie is the most mobile of the three and doesn't need a cart to get around. She is currently living with a foster family. Without the love and care from the community and generous donations from supporters like Jack Fahey, we would not be able to do the great work we pride ourselves on, and give animals like the "Three Very Determined Puppies" a second chance. 


Are you a donor, grantee or affiliate organization that has a great story to share about philanthropy in Montana? Let us know and we'll include it in a future edition of Infinity! 

One of three puppies the Humane Society of Western Montana has cared for since October, Green Bean suffers from neurological problems and has difficulty standing and walking. Here he is with a custom cart created by volunteers and great news -- he was adopted last week! Photo courtesy of volunteer photographer Kim Wishcamper.
By the Numbers

The final numbers for 2014 annual distributions are in and it was a record-breaking one in support of Montana philanthropy. More than $1.25 million went to 311 charities across the state and more than $1.1 million made available in distributable funds for 124 donor advised funds and scholarships. At more than $2.3 million, it is the largest annual distribution Montana Community Foundation has ever made!


We're already busy making this new year another outstanding one for Montana. In January, grants totaled more than $78,000 supporting things like education, public libraries, food banks, firefighters, art museums and the Boy Scouts.


Find out how you can support philanthropy in Montana here.  

10 Questions for the Board - Dale Woolhiser 

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?

Eastern Montana. I was born in Jordan. My father then taught in Sand Springs and Ekalaka, we did a stint in Livingston, and then moved to where I would now say "I'm from", Miles City.


2. What's your "real" job outside the foundation?

I am a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services in Missoula.


3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
When I'm alone I like to play the guitar and sing. Other people are more than happy to help me be alone when I pick up the guitar and sing. I have a couple of really good guitars that deserve better and sing poorly.

Dale Woolhiser is an MCF Board Member and also serves as Treasurer.
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?

MCF started a new enterprise called the Montana Office of Gift Planning. It is run by super smart Amy Sullivan. She helps donors with complex, tax efficient gift planning. She not only helps folks give to their causes and their passions, she helps them give more. I want to have her job when I grow up.


5. What's something not very many people know about you?

I "retired" before I turned 40. I didn't have enough money to truly retire, but I had guts and an accommodating wife (still do!). I created a series of books and music -- we were early into CD-ROM technology -- using non-violent conflict resolution to explain complex environmental issues. We signed on with a publisher but they went broke. It was a great five years.


6. What are three things you can't live without?

Earth - the stability of my family (wife and daughter and more extended) and friends who support me. Wind - the freedom to think and live freely. Fire - having the passion to get involved and to care.


7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?

I was asked to join the Board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Missoula and also did a stint as a "Big". I got way more back than I gave. I called it "cosmic cash". Maybe I'm greedy . . . but I can't seem to get enough of it!


8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?

We are "Donor Centric". A university, a hospital, a national organization . . . they all come asking for support for their cause. We conversely, center our efforts around helping donors first identify what they are passionate about and then work to help them direct their philanthropic assets and energy to their chosen causes/organizations . . . and everyone's passions are different! Your local museum? A children's organization? The symphony? Your local food bank? A land trust? It all starts with a call to the Montana Office of Gift Planning. They focus on helping people who wish to make lasting, meaningful and impactful gifts to the causes/organizations of their choice.


9. What's your favorite place in Montana?

Wherever I currently happen to be in this great state. I very seriously love it all.


10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?

I like to say, "Montana is a very small town with really long streets" and am proud that I come from a culture that was totally independent of their neighbors and at the same time understood their interdependence in a time of need -- being the last to ask for and the first to offer help.

Giving Wisely

If you're a donor or someone thinking about making a charitable donation, it's important to learn about your giving options and conduct some due diligence. Here are a host of resources that may be helpful:


Council on Foundations is the professional association of community, corporate, family and private foundations across North America. Not every foundation belongs to it, but many do.


Foundation Center maintains the most extensive database (other than the IRS) of foundations of all types in the United States. They offer a comprehensive search engine, but require payment for some of services.

is the ultimate data source about nonprofits. With free registration, you can access organizations' form 990, the special tax form nonprofits must file if they have revenue greater than $25,000. You can also purchase upgraded access and subscribe to an online newsletter.

National Center for Family Philanthropy
provides a range of publications to families who give.


Keeping Wealth in Montana is a study commissioned by MCF to explore the enormous transfer of wealth occurring in Montana.  


The Chronicle of Philanthropy is the newspaper of the nonprofit world. It covers virtually all the issues of the philanthropic sector on a biweekly basis. The website includes a searchable database.


GOOD Magazine, the mission of which is to "stimulate the culture of good by creating dialogue around things that matter."


National Center for Charitable Statistics is a repository of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. A component of the Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy, it has worked closely with the IRS and other government agencies, the private sector, and universities to report on the activities of charitable organizations.


National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy works to make philanthropy more responsive to people with the least wealth and opportunity, more relevant to critical public needs, and more open and accountable to all, in order to create a more just and democratic society.


Nonprofit Sector Resource Fund provides research and information on nonprofits, foundations, giving, volunteering, advocacy and public policy.


NonProfit Times Online features the web version of major news and information resources on the nonprofit sector.


Philanthropy.org maintains an impressive database of publications, digital texts and websites and is one of the best locations available for research on issues in multicultural philanthropy. It is produced by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Philanthropy, a publication of The Philanthropy Roundtable, is an online publication for The Philanthropy Roundtable, which happen across the country.


The Inheritance Project explores the emotional and social impact of inherited wealth, an unprecedented $10 trillion of which is expected to be passed between generations in the next 20 years.


American Institute of Philanthropy functions as a nonprofit watchdog and information service to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar given to charity. The site provides donors with an as-yet-limited directory to nationwide charitable organizations, with some very basic information on giving carefully.


BBB Wise Giving Alliance was formed in 2001 with the merger of the National Charities Information  

Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus Foundation and its Philanthropic Advisory Service.

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