June 2015

From Mary's Desk

Since the numbers were released a month ago, there's been a renewed buzz about philanthropy in America. Giving USA - which is a program of my alma mater, Indiana University - annually researches and releases information about giving in America. Making sense of the data and using it in a way that can help us all move forward is what we're focusing on at Montana Community Foundation. It informs our decision making and reinforces to us that we're on the right track.

We believe everyone can be a philanthropist. We work hard to assist those who are committed to making their dreams come true for Montana's betterment. As stewards and champions of charitable giving, we monitor philanthropy as a whole. Is progress being made? Is the state of giving a positive one and if so, will that trend endure? 

2014 was a very good year for philanthropy. Both nationally and in Montana. Giving USA reports donations in the United States achieved an all-time high of $358.38 billion, a 7.1 percent increase over 2013. This increase represents an increase across all four categories of donors - individuals (up 5.7 percent), foundations (up 8.2 percent), bequests (up 15.5 percent) and corporations (up 13.7 percent). Likewise, eight of the nine major categories of giving (where these donations went) also increased, with the arts/culture/humanities seeing the largest percentage increase at 9.2 percent and religion still topping the list at $114.9 billion representing 32 percent of all giving.

The national numbers are staggering. Sometimes they're difficult for us to comprehend. At Montana Community Foundation, we have also experienced a significant positive change in charitable giving with a more than 55 percent increase in contributions from FY14 to FY15. One thing we've focused on is building relationships with individuals. Many lament, "Montana doesn't have as many big private foundations as other states." While that is true, we also know that over 80 percent of the charitable gifts made in America come from individuals. We're working with local communities and local nonprofit organizations to capture a portion of the enormous intergenerational transfer of wealth occurring here in Montana. That's why we created the Montana Office of Gift Planning nearly a year ago. That decision is paying off and making a tremendous difference for Montana communities.

While we cannot predict the future, we can identify some trends. The first is that high-net-worth households have been making very large gifts to nonprofits. Since the number of total gifts hasn't seen a significant increase, this trend helps account for the increase in total giving. Another trend is accountability and transparency. Donors and regulatory bodies are asking nonprofits to be more accountable with where and how funds are used. In turn, nonprofits are offering greater levels of transparency, self-evaluation and reporting. And finally, one trend nonprofits must acknowledge and respond to is the increase in online, mobile and social giving. The philanthropic world isn't immune to the rapid pace of technology. A strong online and mobile presence and participation in crowd-sourced funding events such as Give Local are key to future success.

We're also looking to the future. Montana Community Foundation's board will be meeting this week in Bozeman to deliberate on our next big steps to benefit Montana. We'll share those decisions with you as they're made through Infinity. Your philanthropy matters. We are honored to be your partner in the process.

*Data based on the Giving USA 2015 Annual Report




Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE

President & Chief Executive Officer

2014 Annual Report

We're proud to announce the publication of our 2014 Annual Report. It's coming to you a little later than we had hoped, but it's our first true annual report and we wanted to do it right. Our goal is to make it bigger and better each year and something you look forward to. 


Hopefully you've already received your copy by mail, but if you don't receive one in the next week, please let us know and we'll be happy to send one to you. If you'd prefer to view it online, just click the image to the right. 

The MCF 2014 Annual Report is available online by clicking the image above. 
Generosity at Work

Last month was another great one for generosity here in Montana. May saw 32 grants totaling more than $113,000!


One great grant story we'd like to share is a $500 grant from the Powell County Community Foundation and MCF made to the William K. Kohrs Memorial Library in Deer Lodge. This grant paid for a new printer which is an incredibly important asset for the library and the local citizens who use it. Remember that it doesn't matter how big or small a grant is, the impact it makes can be huge!

The William K. Kohrs Memorial Library in Deer Lodge gets a new printer with a grant from Powell County Community Foundation and MCF.   
MCF Board Member Honored with "Outstanding Philanthropist" Award

MCF board member Dale Woolhiser was recently honored as the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist by the Western Montana Fundraisers Association.


Ask anyone who knows Dale about him and you'll likely hear some very similar responses: kind, generous, funny, smart and friendly. They'll also probably tell you one of his missions in life is to inspire philanthropy in others and that he does so with a tenacity and finesse that are truly remarkable. 


Dale not only encourages giving in others, he and his wife Nancy have given generously themselves to many worthy causes in the Missoula area and other places around the state. Dale's service as a board member is another testament to his philanthropic dedication. He serves on the MCF board, the Missoula Community Foundation board and served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula from 1977 to 1999 (that's a whopping 22 years if you're counting)!


We can't think of a more worthy recipient of this award and we here at MCF feel very privileged to call Dale a friend and colleague.

MCF Board Member Dale Woolhiser celebrates with MCF staff and board members at the Western Montana Fundraisers Association luncheon where he was honored with the "Outstanding Philanthropist" award.    
Welcome Sheila Harvey!  

Please join us in welcoming a new member to the MCF team - Sheila Harvey! Sheila joined MCF this month as a part-time accountant. She has thirty years of experience in accounting, budget analysis, auditing, personnel administration and office management. Her previous positions include accounting technician for the Veterans Administration, manpower supervisor/career counselor for the U.S. Navy and she was also the former grants and office manager here at MCF! 

Sheila Harvey joins MCF.
Making a Difference in the Greater Yellowstone

On June 3, the Billings Community Foundation held its annual awards dinner at Rocky Mountain College to honor 2015 grant recipients. Sixteen grant awards were made totaling nearly $20,000. Twelve of the 16 grants were awarded in partnership with Montana Community Foundation from the Matthews-Dousman Memorial Endowment Fund, a fund established at MCF by Judith Dousman Matthews in 1999 to benefit the Greater Yellowstone Region. The worthy nonprofit recipients included:

 - Big Horn County Library
 - Big Sky Senior Services
 - Community Hope, Inc.
 - Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley
- Housing Authority of Billings' 

    Community Gardens Project
 - Huntley Project Museum
 - Joliet Community Center
 - Living Water's Billings Bike Clinic
 - Roberts Parents of Performing Arts
 - Wise Wonders Children's Museum
 - Yellowstone CASA
 - Young Families Early Head Start
Billings Community Foundation Vice President Sara Becker (left) and MCF President & CEO Mary Rutherford (right) with grant recipients Pastor Fred and Julie Rodda from Living Water's Billings Bike Clinic.    
10 Questions for the Board - Scott Pankratz  

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?

Ventura County, California


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

Executive Director, Ecology Project International


3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
Floating rivers, skiing and hiking.

MCF board member Scott Pankratz.
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?

Mountain guide. I love to be outside, be active, and analyze risk. I love introducing people to places that change their ways of thinking and their awareness; time in the mountains does both. 


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

I'm running a 50K trail race called "The Rut" in Big Sky this September...and I've never raced more than a 5K fun run.


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

Ice cream, family and spending time outside.


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

As a high school science teacher, I was constantly reaching out to the community arranging field trips, pulling in guest speakers, and asking for help to bring experience and enlightenment to my students. Through that process, I realized how rewarding it is to bring different community members together to increase our connection to each other and inspire our collective impact. This eventually led to my founding of Ecology Project International.


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

It takes the collective and intentional work of all of us to create vibrant Montana communities, and that is why everyone has a stake in MCF.  


9. What's your favorite place in Montana?

I don't get there often enough, but when I sit in the Boiling River outside of Gardiner, it feels like a little slice of heaven.


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

There's something here that brings us all together, that gives us shared perspective and some common vision. The wide open spaces, the resilience that the place demands, and the beauty all combine to create a work ethic and gratitude that I love about Montana and Montanans.

July 2015 is Montana Open Land Month!

MCF is helping the Big Sky celebrate generously with a new initiative: Round Up for Open Land. This statewide, month-long celebration is a first. Across Montana in July, people will honor all that open land represents: our agricultural heritage, vast outdoor recreational opportunities, clean water, diverse wildlife habitat, scenic splendor, tremendous economic benefits, a $4 billion tourism industry, freedom to roam and so much more.

From the Red Ants Pants Music Festival and the Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament, to the special "Round Up for Open Land" initiative in Big Sky and an amazing opinion piece by Ron Marcoux and Bromley Maharg, Montana Open Land Month offers all of us a chance to celebrate what makes Montana truly special: our way of life, our landscape and the economy that Montana's open land makes possible.

Montana Community Foundation is thrilled to be part of the celebration. In an innovative new initiative, three local nonprofits will benefit from a new partnership with MCF: "Round Up for Open Land." The initiative allows ordinary people to help support our trails, waterways and open land conservation by "rounding up" as they pay for goods and services.

Many local businesses are participating in "Round Up for Open Land", with the kick-off during Montana Open Land Month. Proceeds will be split between Travelers for Open Land, Gallatin River Task Force and Big Sky Community Corporation -- a triumvirate of Montana assets: open land, water and trails.

In short: anyone and everyone -- businesses, visitors, community groups, youth -- is encouraged to get involved in Montana Open Land Month. Attend an event, or create an event. Share photos and artwork for prizes. Connect via social media. And best of all: get outside and celebrate what you love most about this "Big Sky, Open Land" state!


Learn more at www.openlandmt.org

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