Donor Story

Sam McDonald, helping individuals and families in need

October 18, 2020

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

The Sam McDonald Family Endowment fund was opened at the Montana Community Foundation in 2012 after the passing of Sam McDonald, a respected real estate businessman and Wendy’s franchisee, also known for his philanthropic desire to help those less fortunate. Through the Sam McDonald Endowment, both Family Service and Family Support Network in Billings receive an annual distribution that supports their work of helping individuals and families in need.

“The funding is vital to our operation,” said Shawn Byrne, Executive Director of Family Support Network. “This allows our general operating dollars to be spread further as we work with young people and families in the child welfare system. There is an infinite amount of need and a finite amount of money available to help pay for the services. Endowments are vital in improving the landscape of our neighborhoods and communities.”

You make a living by what you earn, and you make a life by what you give

- Sam McDonald

“Family Service has seen a significant increase in the number of households we serve over the last six fiscal years, from 5,600 households to 15,200 households,” explains Jane McCracken, Senior Director of Development and Campaign at Family Service. “Endowments are a win-win-win for everyone involved. The organization receiving the distribution can consistently count on that operating income, and the state benefits by encouraging philanthropy to the most effective organizations, relieving taxpayers in the state of some of the costs for those in need.”

Greg McDonald, Sam’s son and representative for the fund, says the ongoing giving of the fund is in sync with his father’s compassion. “Our father strongly believed in sharing his success and good fortune with those less fortunate. Both the mission of Family Service and Family Support Network meet the concern he had for serving homeless and indigent families. His favorite quote was, ‘You make a living by what you earn, and you make a life by what you give’.”