Montana's Friend for 35 Years

June 01, 2023

By Mary Rutherford, President & Chief Executive Officer

Montana has a friend. A friend that cares about our state and wants to ensure its well-being for future generations. One where people can leave their legacies to forever benefit Montana. One that shows up to support communities, provide scholarships, advocate for women and girls, and help communities recover from disaster. That friend is the Montana Community Foundation (MCF).

This year, MCF celebrates 35 years of this friendship. We were established by a group of Montanans who believed a statewide community foundation could have a positive and permanent impact in Montana. Today that belief is a reality.

One great example of MCF’s commitment can be seen in the T. Eugene Young Scholarship.

T. Eugene “Gene” Young fell in love with Montana as a seasonal ranger for Yellowstone National Park, while raising money for college. Though his career would take him out of the state for a while, Gene eventually made his way back to Montana, the place he called home. His love of Montana would eventually translate into the creation of the T. Eugene Young Montana’s Promise Scholarship in 2008 through a bequest to MCF.

The scholarship fund now provides about $30,000 in scholarships each year to Montana students, made possible through Gene’s legacy and desire to help students.

In total, since 1988, MCF has given out $100 million in grants, scholarships, and annual endowment distributions to benefit Montana communities and beyond.

We work to ensure that the causes and organizations Montanans care about receive the continued financial support they deserve, long after their most passionate advocates have moved on. Simply put, we help cultivate generosity that makes a difference today, tomorrow, and forever.

We understand the importance of partnerships—we collaborate with professional advisors, including attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors, to help their clients maximize their gifts while considering their objectives and financial situation. We work directly with charitable organizations to help them grow their endowments, ensuring they have a stable source of operating funding that isn't solely reliant on unpredictable events or external factors.

Our dedication also goes beyond individual partnerships. We work closely with local communities, recognizing their unique challenges and identifying solutions where philanthropy can play a vital role. We believe in the power of local knowledge and aim to support initiatives that directly address the needs of Montana's diverse communities.

We’ve been at the forefront of advocating for the Montana Charitable Endowment Tax Credit. Recently, the Governor signed a bill to increase the credit and remove the sunset provision, ensuring long-term benefits for charitable giving.

We also recently completed an updated Transfer of Wealth Study, which estimates at least $35 billion will transfer from one generation to the next by 2030.

This transfer presents an incredible opportunity for Montana. Imagine what could be possible for Montana if a portion of this transfer was endowed to serve our communities forever.

MCF’s unwavering dedication to serving Montana through philanthropy is a testament to our commitment. We’re celebrating 35 years of cultivating permanent philanthropy in our state—and we’re proud to embody what it means to be a friend of Montana.