May 2019
From Mary's Desk

It takes all of us. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how none of us get through this world alone. We rely on good friends and partners to help us through the tough times and celebrate the good times.  

For more than 30 years, MCF's primary focus has been securing wealth in Montana for Montana. We know between 2010 and 2060, an estimated $123 billion will transfer from one generation to the next. The question we continue to ask, however, is how much of that wealth will remain in the communities and for the communities that helped build it?  

Here in Montana we've seen the effect of wealth leaving our state. Communities have lost services, seen local businesses shut down, and watched as children move away. Year after year it becomes more difficult to support local parks, churches, youth and senior centers, theaters and symphonies, food banks, museums, and more. 

That is why securing wealth in Montana for Montana is so incredibly important. We help build permanent funds to reinvest in Montana communities and the organizations that make our towns the places we love to call home. By capturing just five percent of this transfer in permanently endowed funds, Montana communities will have approximately $307 million a year FOREVER. 

Our progress measure goes far beyond dollars. We also measure progress through partnerships. It takes all of us, and there are many components to securing wealth in Montana for Montana. One of the most valuable tools we have in building wealth for Montana is the Montana Charitable Endowment Tax Credit (MCETC). Over the past year, we partnered with a number of organizations, the Montana Nonprofit Association foremost among them, to plan and execute a strategy to extend the MCETC another six years. We also found an incredible partner in Senator Mark Blasdale, who sponsored and championed our bill. We were successful in our efforts with the passage of Senate Bill 111, a huge victory for Montana that couldn't have been accomplished without the many partners involved. 

Partners also come in the form of donors, their loved ones and professional advisors. Below you'll read about a truly remarkable gift that will benefit Montana forever, a gift that wouldn't have been possible without our partnership with the trustee and family members for the Laura Barrett Trust. Their faith in MCF to ensure Laura's wishes would be honored forever is something we don't take lightly and are truly honored by. 

There are so many of you who have placed your trust in MCF by partnering with us. While we can't all make million dollar gifts, most of us can and do give back to this wonderful place we love. Yet there are so many more people out there who we want to reach and who we know also hold Montana in their hearts. That leads us to the survey you'll find below, with just two simple questions so we can discover more about how you first learned of MCF. We hope you'll take time to complete this survey and help us in turn, reach new partners in our work to create and grow philanthropy in Montana for Montana.  

Thank YOU for being our partner in philanthropy.  


Mary K. Rutherford 
President & CEO 
How did you learn about MCF?

We're trying to learn more about how people first heard of MCF. Was it a friend who referred you? Was it a professional advisor? Maybe you saw an ad or story in the news? We would be so grateful if you would take time to answer a very brief, two-question survey. Your response will help us determine how to better reach more people like you who are such an important part of philanthropy in our state. Thank you in advance! 

Laura Grace Barrett Leaves $4.3 Million Legacy to Benefit Montana Forever

You may remember a story in Infinity last October about Laura Barrett. She is featured again this month now that the remarkable legacy she envisioned and the gift behind it are now finalized. The Laura G. Barrett Endowment Fund was created by the Barrett family and the Laura G. Barrett Trust administrator who decided to convert the trust to a donor advised fund at Montana Community Foundation, ensuring Laura Barrett's wishes would be fulfilled in a highly efficient way. The more than $4.3 million gift is a result of the earnings and ultimate sale of a minority ownership interest in Chateau Montelena Winery located in Calistoga, Calif. 

The Laura G. Barrett Endowment Fund is dedicated to supporting ideas and projects that create opportunities for arts, culture, entertainment, education, and the general enrichment of life, foremost in the immediate Bigfork area, but also to nearby regions.  

"As an artist, Laura thrived on the creative process. It gave her great joy to see an idea germinate, grow, and bear fruit," said Kevin Barrett, Laura's son and spokesman for the Laura G. Barrett Endowment Fund. "We know that Laura is most pleased to see her most ambitious and most beautiful conception come to fruition. Laura's gift will help nourish the beautiful community she held in her heart for years to come. We love you mom. We are so blessed." 

As an endowment at MCF, the Laura G. Barrett Endowment Fund will have a powerful, positive, and permanent impact on nonprofits in Montana. Laura's legacy translates to nearly $200,000 annually in grants based on the current fund balance. 

ACES (Arts, Community, Education, Sports) After School, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in Bigfork, already received a $30,000 grant from the Laura G. Barrett Endowment Fund previously. The grant is being used to support ACES' programs designed to encourage children to pursue and achieve their highest personal potential through academic and cultural enrichment, and community and family engagement. 

"This is a remarkable story of generosity and probably one of the most complex gifts we've accepted," said Mary K. Rutherford, MCF president and CEO. "We're humbled and grateful to partner with the Barrett family and play a part in fulfilling Laura's wishes in creating such an incredible legacy of charitable giving, a legacy to benefit something she was so passionate about and a place here in Montana she loved." 

Laura was born in Froid, Montana, in 1930, and attended the University of Montana. She traveled extensively and lived in many places but, Montana was always home and one of her final acts was to develop a charitable foundation to support the arts.
Montana Charitable Endowment Tax Credit Renewed!

We're incredibly happy to announce Senate Bill 111 passed, extending the Montana Charitable Endowment Tax Credit another six years. 

We had many partners in helping ensure this endeavor succeeded including you. Thank you to Senator Mark Blasdale representing Senate District 4 for carrying this bill, and thank you to the Montana Nonprofit Association, Montana Society of CPAs, Montana Chamber of Commerce, and many others for supporting this bill and helping safeguard its passage. 

The tax credit is a huge win for donors making planned gifts and businesses making direct gifts to qualified charitable endowments. In turn, their generosity helps ensure the long-term success of our community foundations, the nonprofits they support, and ultimately, the success of our communities. Thank you for your support and congratulations - this is a huge win for philanthropy and for Montana!  
Montana Community Foundation 2018 Annual Report

Our 2018 Annual Report is here! We hope you'll take some time to read through it and learn more about the impact we're making across Montana, the incredible people and organizations we partner with, and much more.
10 Questions for the Staff - Alison Munson
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!
1. Where are you from originally?
Billings, MT
2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
Database Manager - I ensure the data used by MCF for our stakeholders is maintained and accurate. 
3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
Cooking, camping, hiking, board games, horseshoes and hanging out with my husband, Darren and our dog. Most of all I like travelling, trying new foods (always searching for the best burger and pizza) and adventures. This year I went skydiving and it was the most enlightening experience of my life.   
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I actually am exactly where I want to be. I've been through multiple careers during the years and I found myself drawn back to database management in the nonprofit sector. After years of going from public to private sector, fundraising to leadership, I found I'm at a time in my life that I know what I want in a position and the organization I work for. I spent a few months soul searching and when the position at MCF opened, I knew it was the right place and the right position for me. 

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I can sit and watch calves play in a field for hours. I find it to be the most relaxing and fun activity during the spring. It makes my heart swell and brings a smile to my face.  

6. What are three things you can't live without?
My family, great food, and adventures to look forward to.  

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
I attended a nonprofit event and heard a young lady talk about how her life was changed by the services she received. I had gone through similar life experiences and didn't realize there was help out there and that I didn't have to pull myself up by my boot straps. I decided I wanted to invest in people and help them find the services to have healthy, happy lives.  

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
A charitable donation to MCF is not just a gift, it's an investment in the future of Montana. Funds donated to MCF will grow and sustain charitable organizations in perpetuity. Imagine, if you never got another fundraising letter again because endowment funds were large enough to fund all a nonprofit's operations. 

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
One, seriously! I'm going to say my camper, it goes to all the mountainous places I love.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
That nobody judges you and you're always welcome.
Grants Available to Benefit Animals in Greater Billings Region

MCF announces the opening of a grant cycle to benefit animals in the greater Billings region. Grants will be awarded from the Animal Foundation of the Greater Billings Region (AFGBR), a donor-advised fund at MCF. 

Applicants must be either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or an exempt governmental unit. Grants will be up to $10,000. The AFGBR will give preference to programs and projects that support domestic animals in the greater Billings region. The "greater Billings region" is defined as: Yellowstone and surrounding counties including Park, Fergus (Lewistown), Carbon, Stillwater, Rosebud, Treasure, Musselshell, Big Horn, and the Crow Reservation. 

Grant requests are reviewed by the AFGBR. The grant process is competitive; incomplete applications will not be considered. Grant applications will be accepted May 1, 2019 - June 30, 2019. 

To apply for a grant, access the online application at Only online applications will be accepted. For questions, please contact MCF Director of Operations & Grants Jessica Stewart-Kuntz at (406) 441-4950 or
Generosity at Work

Spring is in the air and generosity is too! In April we distributed 41 grants totaling more than $230,000! 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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