August 2016

From Mary's Desk
We're all in this together. It's a philosophy we as a community foundation and nonprofit organization take to heart. Here in Big Sky Country, we think it's particularly important. There is a vast community here in Montana made up of donors, nonprofit organizations, community foundations, private foundations, professional advisors and many more. 

We all play different roles, while at the same time some of the things we do overlap. Even more important however, is that many of the things we do intersect. We each play an important role in Montana philanthropy and it's not just important for our own organizations or personal motivations; it's important because there is a much wider community and the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the successes or failures that follow may affect us all.

That's why it's critical for us to remember we're all in this together. At MCF, we strive to bring our collective expertise, services and strength together for the greatest impact possible. We take every opportunity to think not only about how we can bring positive change, but also about how we might join with others in the philanthropic community to make those positive changes even greater.

Perhaps the first and most essential step in all of this is collaboration and collective learning. It's important for us to find out what everyone is working on, what keeps us up at night, what methods we've used to succeed, and how we've overcome challenges. I'm proud that Montana Community Foundation is an active member of both Philanthropy Northwest and the Montana Nonprofit Association, as well as the Council on Foundations. These organizations provide us with excellent opportunities to collaborate and learn.

I hope you'll be able to join us in taking advantage of two great upcoming opportunities for collaboration and learning right here in Montana! The first is Philanthropy Northwest's 2016 Annual Conference Under One Sky in Missoula September 13-15. The second is the Montana Nonprofit Association's 2016 Annual Conference Nonprofits in Focus in Helena September 27-29, which includes the 7th Annual Local Community Foundation Convening September 26-27.

Let's take the time and make the effort to reach out and discover new ways in which we can help each other and ultimately, help Montana.


Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & Chief Executive Officer
A Bright Future
One of our greatest joys here at MCF is awarding scholarships. It's a long and labor-intensive process, but the opportunity to be involved in making a huge impact on the life of a deserving young person from Montana definitely makes it worthwhile. We don't always get to hear all the wonderful stories about these amazing students, but we do get to hear a few.

Kaitlin Hugs graduated this spring from Billings Senior High School and applied for the Margaret Rigby - Class of 1956 Scholarship here at MCF. The scholarship selection criteria is based on students from Billings Senior High who have made significant academic progress in the face of extraordinary obstacles, obstacles which create the seeds of failure over which the recipient has persevered. 

Kaitlin has a multicultural background, a younger brother with a severe illness and other circumstances that would have caused many teenagers her age to give up. But Kaitlin didn't. She maintained a 3.4 GPA, founded and wrote the constitution for the Senior's Native American Club, was a student mentor, National Honor Society member, library aide and dean's aide, all while helping support her brother and family during long hospital visits by keeping things up at home and working to help with expenses. 

In a letter from Janet Stearns, one of the trustees for the scholarship, she wrote: "At the awards ceremony at Billings Senior High School, Kaitlin was unaware that she had won the Margaret Rigby - Class of '56 scholarship. When I announced her name, up walked a lovely girl with long black hair and a dazzling smile that lit up the entire gymnasium and at that moment, I was so grateful to MCF for making it possible for our class to encourage wonderful young students like this." 

We're grateful here at MCF for the opportunity to be a part of this incredible generosity. We're grateful for people like Janet who recognize the power of scholarship and for people like Kaitlin who represent a bright future for the state we call home.

We hope you'll consider making scholarships a part of your philanthropy. To learn more about giving the gift of education, visit our scholarship section on the MCF website.
Generosity at Work
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, MCF made 20 grants totaling more than $67,000 in July.

An amazing grantee we'd like to share with you is the Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College. They were recently awarded a grant from the Matthews-Dousman Memorial Endowment Fund here at MCF in partnership with the Billings Community Foundation. 

The Institute for Peace Studies "seeks through education to explore and promote alternatives to violence in the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and nations." The grant helped fund the Institute's Cultural Diversity Outreach Program. 

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.
MCF Awards more than $400,000 in Scholarships
MCF awarded scholarships to more than 160 Montana students for the 2016-17 academic year. The grand total was $405,217, which is more than $40,000 over the previous year's total. 

The scholarships range in size from $500 to $5,000 and were awarded through a competitive application process. Many of the scholarships are renewable, offering financial support to students for multiple years. These scholarships have assisted Montana students attend 32 different colleges and universities.

The scholarship funds exist because of generous individuals and organizations, each of whom have made the commitment to support education and the future of Montana.

A wide range of scholarships are available with a variety of qualifications. Most scholarship applications are available beginning January 1 of each year, and both traditional and non-traditional Montana students are encouraged to apply.
Learn more a
bout starting your own scholarship fund at MCF.
Accepting Applications for Blaine County and Social Justice Grants
We're happy to announce our grant cycle is open for the Blaine County Community Foundation Fund and Social Justice Montana Fund grants.

The Blaine County Community Foundation Fund was established at MCF by Warren Ross in 1997. Financial support for this grant program also comes from the Ross 87 Ranch Endowment Fund, also established by Warren Ross.
Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Grants will range in size from $1,000 to $3,000 and only one application is allowed per organization. Grants must be used for projects benefiting communities or residents in Blaine County, but the grantee organization does not need to be based in Blaine County.
Eligible projects must provide a direct benefit to local residents, be sustainable and address important, unmet needs. Ineligible projects include conferences and workshops, planning, research or untested projects, partisan or sectarian activities.

The Social Justice Montana Fund was established at MCF in 1997 with a challenge grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation that was matched by donations from Montanans across the state.
Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Grants will range in size from $1,000 to $5,000 and only one application is allowed per organization. Grants must be used for projects promoting social justice in Montana. Preference will be given to projects serving Montana's youth.
Eligible projects must provide a direct benefit to Montana residents, be sustainable and address important, unmet needs. Ineligible projects include partisan or sectarian activities. 
Grant requests are reviewed by MCF's Grants & Scholarships Committee. The grant process is competitive and incomplete applications will not be considered. The grant application deadline for both grants is Friday, September 16, 2016.
To apply for a grant from MCF, access our online application. Only online applications will be accepted. For questions please contact MCF Operations & Grants Manager Jessica Stewart-Kuntz at (406) 441-4950 or jessica@mtcf.org
MNA Conference & Community Foundation Convening

The 2016 MNA Conference, Nonprofits in Focus, addresses the topic of focus as one of the most pressing issues facing nonprofit staff members, boards and other volunteers. From maintaining strategic focus to analyzing data, strengthening collective activity, or merely managing the inbox and calendar, nonprofit leaders must strengthen their ability to focus on what matters. Here is the good news: focus is a skill that can be developed and exercised. None of us can control the pace of information, possibilities, and choices coming our way. But we can gain control of our own attention and harness the power of focus to propel our organizations forward to mission achievement. 

In conjunction with the MNA Conference, join us for the 7th Annual Community Foundation Convening to explore community leadership, learn about legacy giving, and discover how to share community foundations' stories, all while focusing on raising philanthropic interest for our communities. Network and experience with your colleagues around the state!
Plan to attend Monday evening's celebration honoring the rich legacy of those who have built community foundations in Montana. From Helena to Havre, Wibaux to West Yellowstone, community foundations are making a difference in Montana!

September 26-27, 2016
Radisson Colonial Hotel
Helena, MT
10 Questions for the Staff - Mary Rutherford
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!
1. Where are you from originally?
Lewiston, Idaho 

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
As President and CEO, I am responsible for leading MCF to fulfill our mission and reach the strategic objectives set by the Board of Directors. 

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I spend my free time with my family, especially my six-year-old grandson, Soloman. I don't have favorite "anythings," practically speaking.  I enjoy exploring many of life's adventures and options.
Mary Rutherford
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
Not sure - perhaps a cabaret lounge singer or a forensic pathologist. Just can't decide and am glad I don't have to!

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
Not much - I'm pretty much an open book. In 1982, Pope John Paul II and President Reagan met in Fairbanks, Alaska for an historic visit. I was part of one of the choral groups singing during the visit and sang a solo - Memory - from the Broadway musical Cats.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
My loved ones, excellent coffee and my iPhone.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
My first experience was as the executive director of a small community hospital foundation in Washington state.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
That we are the agent of the philanthropist in service to Montana. Unlike organizations that raise funds for their specific programs or missions, our primary mission is fostering the act of philanthropy for the benefit of Montana. Every single board member and every single staff member cares about and is dedicated to The Last Best Place. We constantly strive to be the shining example of excellence in all we do.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
I don't have many favorite anythings in life. Great memories have been created in many Montana locations. Generally speaking, the great outdoors would be my favorite place in Montana. 

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
Authenticity. It's something I value and a trait I try to foster in myself. The Montanans I've had the pleasure of knowing know who they are, they know what's important to them and they are generally hospitable and kind.

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