March 2019
From Mary's Desk

As we work on finalizing our annual report, there are a few things that have really stood out to me. One factoid about Montana really troubles me: 7 out of 10 Montanans do not have a will. That's a lot of people letting the state decide what happens to their property, the people they care about, and the places they love long after they're gone. How do you feel about leaving such important decisions up to the State of Montana?

Relying on the State to make these important decisions might make sense for some people, but frankly, I just can't fathom it. What if it's grandparents rather than a sibling you want to care for your children? What if you have a complex family with multiple marriages, children from different marriages, or any of the multitude of other things that make up today's modern family? What if your intention is for part of your estate to support something other than family, perhaps a friend, or an organization you've supported for years? What if you have a ranch or farm that another family member hopes to continue working, rather than the property being sold off to the highest bidder?

As Montanans, we generally don't like to talk about death or money. Estate planning, unfortunately, brings those two things to the forefront. But we can't bury our heads in the sand. Taking care of our loved ones and the things we care about most is simply too important to ignore.


Mary K. Rutherford 
President & CEO 
We're hiring!  

Are you awesome and interested in joining a team dedicated to philanthropy in Montana? If so, we just might be looking for you! MCF is hiring a new Database Manager. For complete details and to apply, visit

Missoula Community Foundation Hires New ED

Missoula Community Foundation welcomes Marcy Allen as Interim Executive Director. Allen assumed the post March 4, 2019. 

Allen brings with her nonprofit management experience, fundraising skills, solid community relationships, and a deep knowledge of the Missoula community. She has lived here, with a brief hiatus, for more than 20 years. Most recently, Allen ran a consulting business where she worked with companies and nonprofits to help identify their needs and assets, and then to align those to drive growth. Prior to this work, she was the Executive Director of BREDD for nine years. During her tenure at BREDD, a three-county economic development district serving Missoula, Mineral, and Ravalli counties, she brought in millions of dollars for area businesses to promote job growth and implement regional planning.

"Working in economic development you have an acute awareness of the needs of the community. I am excited to put that to work at Missoula Community Foundation. I love connecting people and organizations to resources that help them achieve their goals, personal or business. Missoula Community Foundation is a savings account for Missoula's future needs. We help donors connect to causes they want to give to and help nonprofits build capacity to fulfill their missions. I am so honored to be in this role in a community that I love," Allen said.

Cindy Waltz, chair of Missoula Community Foundation board of directors, said "We are thrilled to have Marcy as our new executive director. We love her proactive approach and contagious energy. She is a strategic thinker and a natural connector. In the coming year we plan to take an in-depth look at the work we are doing and decide how we can best move forward to support the community now and into the future. We are excited to have Marcy lead the way."

Join us in welcoming Marcy to the community foundation world here in Montana!
Remembering Wayne Edsall

Wayne Edsall, 89, died at home in Bozeman on February 8, 2019. He and his wife Marcia, who preceded him in death, were generous donors to MCF.

Wayne was born in Bozeman on March 22, 1929, the son of Ollie and Martha Edsall. He grew up in Bozeman, Missoula, Billings, and Everett, Washington. After graduating from Gallatin County High School in 1947 he enlisted in the Navy and served four years in the SeaBees in Guam and at the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada, witnessing 13 nuclear blasts, during which he said he could see the bones in his hands when the blast went off. In 1952 he won a personal commendation from the Director of the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory for the work he performed at the test site.

While in the Navy, he married Marcia Manley. After being discharged they moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he worked on the construction of the hospital on the Elmendorf Air Force Base. In 1955 they returned to Bozeman where Wayne worked for Haggerty Messmer before starting Edsall Construction Company in 1959. He began by building spec homes, and by the time he retired in 1994 he had worked in all of the western United States, winning the U.S. Small Business Administration Award for Excellence in 1990, and winning awards for his work on the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Bozeman, the remodeling of the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, and the Laundry Facility in Zion National Park, among others. Perhaps the commendation he was most proud of was from the U.S. Department of the Interior for the reconstruction of Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site on the border of Montana and North Dakota in 1987.

He was active in the community. He was elected to the Bozeman School Board in 1968 and in 1977 he joined the board of the First Security Bank on which he served for 29 years.

In his early years, he was a stock car racing enthusiast, part of a team of friends who built and drove a Ford Coupe with the number 41T, painted pink and nicknamed "Flower Power," appearing every Sunday in the summers at the Three Forks and Belgrade Speedways, often winning the annual Championship Race.

But his true passion was always aviation. In the course of his life, he rebuilt and flew 13 antique airplanes, including his beloved 1932 Fleet Model 9 biplane, the only one left flying in the world. To honor the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII he flew his restored BT-13 training plane from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. circling around the Statue of Liberty in New York City. He also had an instrument license and flew a Cessna 185, a twin-engine Cessna 340 and an aerobatic Citabaria among many others.

In 2000 he suffered a severe stroke and worked to recover from it with the goal to fly again. He achieved that goal and the following summer flew his last long-range flight up the Yukon to the Arctic Circle. He continued to fly, making his last flight through the Gallatin Valley on September 29, 2017.

"Of all that Dad gave us--and his generosity is legend--his values are the most enduring treasure. When I think about the values Dad lived by, they include Passion, Justice, Generosity, Compassion, and unconditional love for family," said Susan Edsall, Wayne's daughter. 

Wayne and Marcia established several funds with MCF, which ultimately merged and became the Marcia Edsall Scholarship Fund . The scholarship has awarded $48,000 since 2010 to women in Gallatin County who are juniors or seniors in college with a financial need. The advisory committee is composed of P.E.O. members from the Bozeman chapter where Marcia was an active volunteer for many years.

Both Wayne and Marcia were generous with far more than just their money. We were honored to work with both of them over the years and we sincerely thank them and honor them for their legacy of kindness, compassion, and generosity.
Nonprofit Spotlight - Montana Learning Center

The Montana Learning Center is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) focused summer camp for children. In the 1980's two leading science teachers from Montana began taking students on field explorations in Montana. Little could they know that their legacy would extend decades into the future. The Montana Learning Center was founded by two award-winning Helena science teachers, Gil and Marilyn Alexander. They realized the country's need for mathematicians, scientists and engineers and knew the importance to teach problem solving and environmental stewardship.

The efforts of the Alexanders, called the Montana Science Institute, became the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake, in 2004. Our students have won amazing acclaim. High school students' accomplishments include national first place winners in the Westinghouse National Science Talent Search, the Intermountain Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, USA Today All American Academic Team, the International Science Fair, as well as numerous regional, state and local awards.

Montana Learning Center offers children the chance to learn, grow, and explore new modes of thinking and doing. STEAM camp not only boosts academic performance during the school year, it also builds confidence, creativity, resiliency, and is lots of fun.

One of the most exciting new developments at the Montana Learning Center is that it was chosen as one of 14 institutions nationwide as regional hubs for Apollo 50 th Next Giant Leap Student Challenge, a competition for middle school and high school students. The aeronautics, engineering and robotics competition is hosted by NASA and the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, a collaborative K-12 education effort based at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The competition recreates the challenges that faced the Apollo 11 moon landing. Each team will need to create a replica of the Apollo Lunar Module that will be landed with a remote controlled drone on a map of the lunar surface. The student challenge manual is available online here and details the challenge and equipment to be used.

Registration for the 25 middle school teams and 25 high school teams closes March 30. According to the competition manual, teams are required to be affiliated with an organization such as a school, library, museum, after-school program or club. Registration and regional hub information can also be found online  here. The Montana Learning Center will give preference to teams from Montana, although teams from other states will be accepted if Montana teams do not fill all of the openings.

"NASA's Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Montana students with a focus on aeronautics, robotics, and programming," Hannahoe said. "This program offers Montana students a rare and exciting opportunity to participate in a NASA program that allows them to use the latest technologies to explore, inspire, create and achieve."

Please support the Montana Learning Center's important mission and work forever by giving to their endowment.
Farewell and Thank You!

Some of you may have already heard, but we had two staff departures recently. The departures are always bittersweet, as we love our team members and will miss them so much, but we also love to see our friends take the next step in their careers and lives.

Caleb Stumberg, our Database Systems Manager, has taken a new, similar position at the Santa Barbara Foundation. With the weather we've had here in Montana lately, you can bet we're a bit jealous of him being walking distance from the beach. Caleb is a smart, funny, kind person and was an incredible asset to MCF. He was a wizard with our database and somone you were always glad to have in your corner. He will be sorely missed.

Jenifer Gursky, our Local Community Foundation Program Officer, is the new Executive Director for the Helena YWCA. Jen has an incredible passion for finding ways to help those in need. She did a remarkable job with our local community foundation friends across the state and we know she will do the same serving the women in need in the Helena community. She too will be sorely missed.

Thank you to both Caleb and Jen for your numerous and important contributions to the work and mission of MCF!
Generosity at Work

At more than $67,000 from 10 grants, February was a big and generous month for some hardworking nonprofits in Montana. The incredible generosity of donors continues to show how important the work of the philanthropic sector is to our state. We hope you too will consider putting your generosity to work in Montana by supporting the charities and causes YOU care about!
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