June 2016

From Mary's Desk
Last week's MCF board meeting was filled with incredible insights and inspiring stories. One thing that was reinforced is the importance of long-term planning and in turn, long-term philanthropy. According to information from Giving USA 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control, in Montana and across the country our population is aging and the Baby Boomer generation is now leaving their peak years of charitable giving. Generation X which follows the Boomers and is entering their peak years of charitable giving, is a drastically smaller population. What does this mean for nonprofits? It means the years ahead could be much leaner. It means nonprofits relying solely on annual giving could be in financial trouble.

Board member and past chair Dan Clark recently traveled to Nepal as part of his work in rural community development. He shared many great stories and powerful photos with us. Nepal is a hot country with few roads and much of the travel is by foot. Many years ago, a man recognized that one particular location would be an ideal place to create a shaded respite for travelers because it was at a busy crossroads. He planted trees and tended them his entire life, knowing that he would never personally benefit from the shade, but that others in the future would. Now, 150 years later, the trees still stand and provide shade for hot, weary travelers. The crossroads have become a place for rest, commerce and communication all because of the foresight and generosity of this man.

Permanent charitable endowments are like these shade trees. They're established by philanthropically-minded wonderful people knowing that they may never see or experience the good and value they create, but instead know that good and value will be enjoyed by the generations to come. Annual giving is very important, yet planned giving and endowment building are crucial to the long-term support of the nonprofits which are so critical in our communities across the state. Let's partner to plant and tend the trees that will give shade and comfort to generations of Montanans to come.


Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Butte Hospitality
We love to move our board meetings around Montana, giving us the chance to meet folks from the area and spend time in different parts of our great state. Our MCF board meeting and social event last week were in Butte and we couldn't have asked for a better location. 

We had a very productive board meeting and a well-attended social event, where we had the chance to meet some great donors and friends of MCF in the area. Our sincere thanks to NorthWestern Energy, the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives and the wonderful residents of Butte for their incredible hospitality!
Generosity at Work
Collecting stem weevils to help fight Dalmatian Toadflax.
In May, MCF made more than 30 grants totaling over $80,000 - another great month of generosity by our donors to benefit philanthropic causes in Montana.

When people think of charitable giving, they often think of human services - things like food banks, education and healthcare for example. But there are other charitable causes out there that can make a huge impact on our lives that we may not consider, since the effect is less immediate and direct. One great example of this is the Blaine County Biocontrol Effort. The Montana Biological Weed Control Coordination Project (MTBCP) in collaboration with the Havre BLM and the Blaine County Weed District received grant funding from the Blaine County Community Foundation Fund at MCF recently to focus efforts on management of Dalmatian Toadflax in the Bear Paw Mountains. This non-native, invasive weed is difficult and expensive to control and can be a serious detriment to farmers, ranchers and other landowners. Like other noxious weeds, Dalmatian Toadflax reduces grazing land and threatens wildlife habitat.

Enter the stem weevil. The stem weevil is a specialized natural pest of Dalmatian Toadflax. And while biocontrol does not typically lead to complete eradication of the target weed species, it helps restore a balance and allows native and beneficial vegetation to once again thrive. Biocontrol combined with other weed management tools offer the best chance of success when it comes to noxious weeds. 

On June 1st, MTBCP, Havre BLM, Blaine County Weed District, Missoula County Weed District, and Cascade County Weed District spent the day collecting Dalmatian stem weevils, resulting in just under 60,000 insects collected by the end of the day. They released 15,000-20,000 insects at two sites in the Bear Paw Mountains and the remaining insects were distributed to neighboring landowners with Dalmatian Toadflax infestations. Next spring they will collect additional insects to release in the area to supplement these releases. In the spring of 2018, we will likely be able to host collections at these sites for neighboring landowners and counties to attend and bring home insects to start their own insectaries.

Grants for bugs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of charitable giving here in Montana, but it's an incredibly important effort that helps improve our lives and natural environment.

You too can help us put generosity to work. If you're interested in finding out more about establishing a fund or supporting an existing fund, visit the Giving section of our website.
Raising the Roof
While we spend each day at MCF creating and growing philanthropy in Montana, we also like to get out into our local communities and volunteer. Earlier this month we were lucky to have the opportunity to help at the new Habitat for Humanity build in Helena. We raised trusses, wrapped the house and a whole lot more in service to provide affordable housing for a very deserving local teacher.

Thank you to Habitat for hosting us and thank you all the people in our community who have supported this worthy cause.

Corporate Philanthropy: Good for Montana AND Your Business
Our heartfelt thanks to the wonderful folks at Thrivent Financial for their generous donation to MCF. We'll be putting it to work to improve the lives of Montanans. Gifts like this are an incredibly important part of our ability to create and grow philanthropy in our state.

Did you know businesses can also take advantage of the Montana Endowment Tax Credit? Unlike an individual who must make a planned gift to receive the credit, a qualified business can make a direct gift to a qualified endowment and receive a credit of 20% of a gift's federal charitable deduction up to $10,000 per year. Just like an individual donor, you can benefit charitable causes AND benefit your business with a state income tax credit.

We also help businesses establish endowments. If you're already making charitable gifts to support the community that's supporting your business, we can help you create a permanent source of funding for this giving and make your philanthropic dollars go further. Contact our Planned Giving Officer Nick Dietzen to learn more!

*This information is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.
10 Questions for the Staff - Joanne MacIsaac
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!
1. Where are you from originally?
I grew up next to an apple orchard in a small, rural town in southern New Hampshire.

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I am the Development Coordinator for the Montana Office of Gift Planning at MCF's Missoula office, handling a myriad of behind-the-scenes activities for MOGP relating to planned giving and donor relations.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
You can generally find me outside - walking, hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, gardening, taking photographs, or just sitting and enjoying the world around me. I also like to bake, read, and volunteer at music and cultural events.
Joanne MacIsaac
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I would love to work as an interpretive ranger at a National Park, or else in the field of historic preservation. Natural and cultural history are things I have always been passionate about, and I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm as a way to help people learn about and connect to world around them.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
Back in 1996, I hiked the first 650 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to southwestern Virginia - a truly amazing experience!

6. What are three things you can't live without?
Outdoor adventures, live music, and a strong sense of community in the place where I live.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
My initial career path started out in the high-tech industry back in the early 90s, but I transitioned to nonprofits from a desire to feel personally inspired by and connected to the mission behind my work.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
We have an incredible team of people dedicated to ensuring a vibrant future for the people and places of Montana, and we look forward to getting to know you!

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Ooh, that's a tough one. I lived in Missoula for a few years a very long time ago, so at the moment I'm feeling overwhelmed with excitement about being back amidst the amazing landscape and communities of the state. I can't wait to begin rediscovering past favorites like the Tobacco Root Mountains, Salmon Lake, the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, and the many canyons along the Bitterroot.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
My first visit to Montana, in 1999, came at the end of a month-long road trip around the west. I can still remember the feeling of driving a county road east of Red Lodge on that first day, through amazing scenery, and seeing almost every driver that passed me raise their hand in a friendly wave. Nowhere else in my travels had I encountered that. 

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