January Infinity 2024
January 18, 2024
Letter from Board Chair, Cami Skinner
2024 marks eight years of serving on the Montana Community Foundation’s (MCF) Board of Directors. As the current Board Chair, I am in awe of the positive impacts for Montana communities and grateful for the work this organization and board has accomplished in 2023. MCF has come so far since its beginnings in 1988 and continues its commitment to a mission of “Cultivating a Culture of Giving so Montana Communities can Flourish.”
2023 was filled with connection, celebration, and milestones. We fostered relationships we hold dearly and branched out to create new ones both locally and nationally. We celebrated the 35th anniversary of MCF marking MCF as the longest-running community foundation in Montana. 2023 was the first year MCF awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to students across Montana. Additionally, 672 grants were awarded to organizations and individuals across this state, totaling more than $3.9 million. As the year closed, we said “thank you” to those individuals who created an impact on the MCF board – Kelly Bruggeman, Tawnya Rupe, Ed Eck, and Mack Clapp, – for their unwavering support and dedication to helping Montana communities flourish.
As we look ahead, we hold our breath in positive anticipation for the good things to come. Starting off the New Year, we welcome new board members Sara Becker (Billings), Kelly Cresswell (Helena), and Alanna Weibert (Kalispell). We look forward to their insights and contributions while serving Montana through MCF. In January, MCF will welcome a new Scholarship Manager, Corey Kopp in Havre to maintain the positive momentum of the MCF Scholarship Program as well as a new Gift Planner, Sara Whittle in Billings. Initiatives on the horizon will make big impacts in Montana, including Impact Investing, which will make its debut this spring. Finally, MCF is undergoing a strategic planning process that includes staff and board members. The outcome of this process will provide a clear vision for the future.
We could not accomplish all that we have without the generosity of our donors and the support of our friends and partners. We are grateful for helping us with connection, celebration, and milestones – we extend our sincerest gratitude to you, for you are critical to helping Montana flourish.
The Board and Staff at MCF wishes all our friends a wonderful 2024 and thanks you for your commitment to Montana.
Cami (Camila) Skinner
MCF Board Chair
Celebrating 35 Years
MCF History Highlight
In June of 1996, Bill Pratt, whose excellent record with the Montana Arts Council made him an ideal choice and well-respected across the state, joined MCF as the first program director, his position funded by the Northwest Area Foundation grant. Bill worked extensively with MCF’s Program and Regional Development Committees to oversee its projects and programs to help develop MCF’s regional committee structure. He also traveled across the state working with local leadership on building endowments. He also started a List Serve for Local Community Foundations, which was very valuable.
Learn more about the William B. Pratt Endowment Fund and the upcoming grant cycle below.
Scholarship Applications are Now Open
Scholarships are now available for the 2024-2025 school year. Last year, MCF awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships to benefit Montana students.
Scholarship awards generally range between $500 and $40,000, some of which are renewable for multiple years. Qualifications vary widely, resulting in scholarship eligibility for a diverse range of students. Both traditional and nontraditional Montana students are encouraged to apply. See a list of available scholarships here.
Students can apply online using MCF’s application platform until March 31 at midnight for most scholarships.
Scholarship Highlight – Landon Hull Memorial Scholarship
The Landon Hull Memorial Scholarship supports Montana students seeking a degree in psychology or counseling or enrolled in the WWAMI Medical Education program studying medicine with the intent to practice psychiatry.
Landon Hull, a freshman studying Psychology at Montana State University, tragically took his own life on November 6, 2022, shortly after turning 18. Remembered by friends and loved ones as funny, creative, and empathetic, Landon faced profound challenges, including ADHD, learning differences, anxiety, depression, and later, Bipolar II disorder. Despite these struggles, he excelled in various pursuits, such as being an Eagle Scout, skilled Lego builder, mountain biker, and musician.
Landon's mental health deteriorated, leading to substance use and extended treatment away from home. Despite completing high school early and returning to pursue a counseling degree at Montana State University, relapses thwarted his path, and he lost his battle with mental illness.
His parents share more about Landon's story in the video below, accompanied by a message offering help through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Open Grant Cycles
William B. Pratt Endowment Fund Opening Next Week
The annual grant cycle for grants from the William B. Pratt Endowment Fund to benefit Indigenous Montanans, Folk, Traditional, and Media Arts is now open. Grants will range in size from $500 to $2,000 and must be matched dollar-for-dollar. Grant applications will be accepted from January 19 to April 1, 2024.
The William B. Pratt Endowment Fund is a legacy gift to the people of Montana to help them tell and share stories – especially the untold ones – about Montana’s arts, culture, and history and to learn about the traditional art forms and cultures of this unique state. Learn more about the fund here.
Darby Town Endowment Fund
Opens February 1 – February 29, 2024
Grants will be made from the Darby Town Endowment Fund, established at MCF by Richard and Barbara Ackerman in 1999 and enhanced through generous contributions from community members. Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Individual grants will be up to $5,000. While grants must be used for projects benefiting the Darby community and residents, the grantee organization does not need to be based in Darby. Only one application is allowed per organization.
Eligible projects must provide a direct, ongoing benefit to local residents, be sustainable, and address important, unmet needs. Ineligible projects include one-time events, conferences, workshops, planning, research, untested projects, and partisan or sectarian activities.
What You Need to Know about Annual Endowment Distributions
The annual endowment payout process is well underway as the MCF team gets ready to distribute millions of dollars to Montana organizations in the first part of March. Below are answers to commonly asked questions about annual endowment distributions.
What are annual endowment distributions?
- Annual endowment distributions are paid out each spring from qualifying endowment funds at MCF to benefiting beneficiaries.
When can benefiting organizations expect to see funds in their account?
- ACH (electronic) payments are planned for Monday, March 4, 2024.
- Benefiting organizations will see the funds in their bank account by the end of the week, depending on their bank's processing time.
Who receives information about my organization’s distribution(s)?
- After electronic payment, communication will be sent to the designated fund representative.
- Donors with designated endowments are informed by the end of March about distributions to benefiting organizations.
What if our bank account information has changed?
- ACH payments are made to the organization's bank account.
- If bank info has changed since March 1, 2023, complete the Direct Deposit Form by February 6, 2023.
- A new ACH form is needed if the bank was sold/merged.
- No action is required if there are no changes or if a new form was recently submitted.
For fund representative updates:
- Cathy Cooney, Director of Donor Services, at email@example.com
For more information or questions:
- Kay Gray, Senior Accountant, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling all Talented Artists in Montana!
Exciting Collaboration Opportunity for Artists: Join MCF on Instagram and X (formally Twitter)
MCF is thrilled to extend an invitation to local creatives for a unique collaboration on Instagram and X. Whether you're a skilled painter, visionary photographer, or imaginative illustrator, we want to connect with the diverse artistic community that Montana has to offer. This is an incredible opportunity to showcase your talent, share your unique perspective, and join a vibrant network of fellow artists. Let your creativity flourish and be a part of something special with MCF. We can't wait to see Montana's artistic spirit come to life through your incredible work!
To collaborate with MCF, contact us at email@example.com.
In Case You Missed It
Make sure that you are receiving the Infinity in your inbox.