April 2015

From Mary's Desk  

Over the past six months or so, you've seen a variety of stories about things happening here at MCF. One common theme is our commitment to an ever growing partnership with local communities throughout Montana. 


Below you'll find a brief story and reminder about Give Local, an effort that has become a true partnership with local community foundations. This initiative would never have been possible without the hard work and pioneering of the Missoula Community Foundation and its Executive Director Meredith Printz. While we sponsored and helped with funding last year, it was Meredith's precious time and months of labor that made Give Local Missoula a reality and huge success. This year, MCF decided to get more involved. Yes we are still acting as a sponsor of Missoula and other communities' efforts, but we have also worked to organize the initiative and help it spread. We're proud to report eight communities will participate in Give Local on May 5th and we will work toward growing this effort year after year.  

Another great example of this partnership with local communities is the Billings Community Foundation. In 1999, Judith Matthews entrusted MCF with a significant estate gift to create the Matthews-Dousman Memorial Endowment for the benefit of the greater Yellowstone Region. The Billings Community Foundation has partnered with MCF over the years to identify and award amazing, impactful annual grants from this fund. Since the fund's inception, over $130,000 has been awarded to incredible nonprofits in the greater Yellowstone Region. Children, pets, the arts, the elderly, churches, museums, the symphony and much more have benefitted over the years. BCF is vital to their community and we're proud to partner with them.


A final avenue of community partnership we'd like to share is one that in large part happens behind the scenes. One of the wonderful things about MCF is that we aren't here to support any one charity in Montana; we're here to support all philanthropy in Montana. We often have donors and in particular, advisors for donor advised funds who may not know exactly how they want to help. They may have a general idea, a particular field of interest, a region or specific community, or no idea at all. We take a proactive approach with these donors by identifying charitable opportunities that meet their philanthropic goals and make the greatest impact. We also help these donors identify worthy organizations that may not be as well-known as others and therefore may not receive as much funding, but whose mission fulfills a significant and critical need in a local community.


Whether you're a donor, a nonprofit, a local community foundation, community organization or someone else, we're grateful to be your partner in philanthropy. Thank you for joining us in making and keeping Montana great.





Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE

President & Chief Executive Officer

Give Local!

Give Local is May 5th and just weeks away! Give Local is a powerful 24-hour online giving event that connects community members with local nonprofits to reinforce the value of local philanthropic giving and community engagement.


Last year, Missoula was the only Montana community to participate. In just 24-hours, 1,901 community members donated $135,250 to 90 local nonprofits. This year, eight Montana communities are participating in Give Local - the Bozeman area, Flathead, Glendive, Helena, Missoula, Anaconda, Seeley Lake and Central Montana/Lewistown. 


Community members are encouraged to support this important cause by visiting these sites on May 5, 2015 and donating to their favorite local charities:


Bozeman/Gallatin Valley




Glendive/Anaconda/Seeley Lake/Central Montana

Generosity at Work

We're happy to report another great couple months of grants here at Montana Community Foundation. February and March saw more than 30 grants totaling more than $400,000 to benefit philanthropy in Montana.


Some wonderful stories have been rolling in from grantees about how these funds are being put to use. Our thanks to the Ekalaka Eagle and Carter County Community Foundation (CCCF) for sharing some of this good news:


The Carter County Food Bank recently received a grant from CCCF of the Mon­tana Community Foundation. The grant money was used to purchase a new freezer for the food bank which is lo­cated inside the Carter County Courthouse. The Carter County Senior Citizens Center was also recently awarded a $500 grant from CCCF. The grant money was used to purchase dinner plates, chairs and a window blind for the senior center. 


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! 

Senior Coordinator Karen Carroll with the new freezer for the Carter County Food Bank thanks to a grant from the Carter County Community Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the Ekalaka Eagle). 
10 Questions for the Board - Barbara Byrne  

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?

I was born and raised in Montana.


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

My real job is ranching. I have always loved livestock. Each season is a change in your work schedule. In the spring, new life arrives and in the fall you get paid for all your hard work.  


3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
My favorite hobbies change with the seasons. In the winter I like to quilt and in the spring I start my greenhouse.

Barbara Byrne, MCF Board Member.
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?

I would be a legislator. There is a lot of work that needs to be done that requires
someone who is willing to bring about change and can compromise.


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

There really just isn't anything. I'm an open book.


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

1. The change in seasons that we have in Montana.

2. Family and friends.

3. Pets


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

I worked as a comptroller for the Regional Services for the Disabled when I graduated from Eastern Montana College.


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

The most important feature for me is that if you have a favorite cause or charity, you can help fund it through MCF using an endowment fund. Not all charities or favorite causes have the ability to manage their own endowments effectively. By using MCF the money will be managed, will grow, and it will be around for the future. If your cause or charity is not around in the future those funds can be directed to another charity with a similar purpose.


9. What's your favorite place in Montana?

The warm waterfall near Drummond.


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

My favorite thing about Montanans is their work ethic and their willingness to help others.

Planned Giving Services & Cost Transparency  

I have noticed with interest recently, a couple of emails in my inbox touting FREE planned giving services to nonprofits offered by national firms back East. Digging further into the emails, they say nothing about costs to the nonprofit. As with everything marketed via email, we have to take these things with a grain of salt...companies recoup their costs somewhere!


Here at the Montana Community Foundation, we offer better services with the hometown advantage and we let you know, up front, what the true costs are. 


Here are the facts:

Amy Sullivan, Director of the MT Office of Gift Planning.
  • The Montana Office of Gift Planning services are free.
  • Our office is here to help you with your planned giving needs whether you are a donor, a nonprofit or a business.
  • We are not here to promote one charity over another, but to increase philanthropy in the State of Montana.
  • We are here to offer advice, make personal visits and run illustrations on the particular benefits of many different types of planned gifts to best suit your financial and philanthropic goals.
  • For nonprofits and businesses, we can offer you sample language to use in your own marketing materials to highlight the benefits of planned gifts and the Montana Endowment Tax Credit.
  • Put simply, we are your partner in planned giving.


We have been known to travel great distances to finalize a planned gift. Some of the more complicated planned giving vehicles -- like charitable remainder trusts -- can take several months and several visits to complete. MCF covers all of these costs to offer these services to all of you and we LOVE what we do!


So where do the costs come in? There is a cost to managing a planned gift once that gift has been finalized. Many of these planned gifts include a large liability that MCF shoulders. MCF charges .85 percent (less than one percent) while a planned gift is active. To give you an example...a $10,000 planned gift would incur an $85.00 annual fee. This fee includes managing and investing the funds, quarterly statements to the donor of the gift's present value, notification to nonprofits of the receipt and termination of a planned gift, and additional touch points with donors.


Now you have all the facts, so don't be fooled by big companies that make it seem there are no fees associated with their planned giving. And don't forget that a big out-of-state company will never be able to offer the local knowledge, service and support we can provide.

Spring Convenings!

Montana Community Foundation and MSU Extension in collaboration with the Community Foundations of Montana invite you to a day of networking, professional development, and fun! The 2015 Spring Convenings themed "Cultivating & Growing Your Community Foundation," are just around the corner in May. For local community foundations, these gatherings will offer sessions designed to help you cultivate donors, improve your marketing efforts, get the latest information in the sector, board strategies and much more.


Convening Dates & Locations - 9am to 5pm

  • Chester - May 12 at the Chester United Methodist Church
  • Glasgow - May 14 at the Cottonwood Inn
  • Forsyth - May 19 at the Haugo Center
  • Columbus - May 21 at the Columbus Evangelical Church
  • Missoula - May 28 at the Holiday Inn Downtown

Montana Community Foundation is providing up to $100 per person for individuals needing scholarships for travel and lodging. Please contact Rae Lynn Hays for more information.


Breakout sessions may vary according to interest at each site. We are inviting all community foundations to present at the CF Showcase. Each CF will be given five minutes to share what you are doing in the area of grants, leadership activities, building philanthropy, etc. We would like to know what you are most proud of and any accomplishments you would like to share.


Click HERE to register and learn more!

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