March 2021
Mary's Letter
Dear Friends,

Last March, our lives were disrupted. We packed up our computers and left the office, uncertain of when we’d return. We sheltered in place, bracing for an unknown future. We started seeing our loved ones on screens, desperate to still connect.

Now, a year later, many of us are still working in our makeshift home offices or at our dining room table. We are looking forward to returning to a state of normalcy soon as more and more Montanans get vaccinated.

Looking back, it is amazing to see the resiliency of our state and our communities over the last year amid all the challenges. Parents figured out ways to teach their children remotely. Local businesses and organizations found creative ways to stay open as individuals found ways to support them. Overworked and exhausted healthcare and frontline workers continued to go to work, serving their community, so individuals sent them food, made them masks, swept the snow off their cars, and stood on their porches, howling and cheering for them.

We have also been humbled by the generosity of our state over this last year. Since March 2020, we have seen people giving back to their communities like never before, and now, in March 2021, that giving has continued as people give back to the communities that continue to give so much to them.

A philanthropist loves their fellow neighbor. They are someone who donates their time, money, experience, skills, and talents in hopes that they are making the world a better place. At MCF, we are humbled by philanthropists across Montana and beyond who have supported our local communities.

Over the last year, we have seen Montana communities step up in a big way. Though the road to recovery is long, together we can ensure a strong future for our state. Thank you for making Montana the special place it is.

Mary K. Rutherford
President & CEO
Anonymous Donor Will Match Gifts Made to Support COVID-19 Recovery in Montana 
An anonymous donor has pledged $80,000 in matching funds to support COVID recovery efforts in Montana if MCF can raise the same amount by the end of May.

The Montana Disaster Relief Fund has provided support to Montana communities in times of crisis before and stands ready to help Montana communities recover once the pandemic subsides. Rural and tribal communities have been some of the greatest impacted by COVID-19 and many do not have community-specific recovery funds. Grants from the fund will support recovery in these communities.

All contributions made to the Montana Disaster Relief Fund before June 1 will not only help your fellow Montanans affected by COVID-19 but will also have double the impact through this dollar-to-dollar match.

The Montana Disaster Relief Fund has already received $350,000 in COVID-19 support. Meeting this match translates to $500,000 to benefit recovery needs in Montana’s rural communities. Learn more and donate here.
A Look at Poverty and Prosperity in Montana
Each year, the Legatum Institute provides detailed information about poverty and prosperity at the local, national and global levels. MCF Board and staff recently attended a presentation by Shaun Flanagan, Director of the Centre for Metrics at the Institute, who shared information about the U.S. Prosperity Index and how Montana performed in a variety of areas, such as safety and security, economic quality, and access to healthcare, compared to the other states and Washington, D.C. Montana ranked 32nd for overall prosperity. Learn more.
Seeley Lake Community Foundation Awards 2021 Grants 
The Seeley Lake Community Foundation (SLCF) helps local groups fund important community projects. In this capacity, the SLCF strives to be a community resource and catalyst for innovative approaches to improving the quality of life in Seeley Lake, Montana.

SLCF, an affiliate partner of MCF, is pleased to announce that they have granted $10,000 in grant money to 8 projects benefiting Seeley Lake through the 2021 SLCF Community Grants cycle. You can view the grantees here.

“It’s exciting to see all the amazing ideas that come out of this community,” says SLCF Executive Director Claire Muller. “Although we were unable to fund all of the great proposals that came in this year, I want to thank the organizations that put in the time and effort to apply. Thank you to all of our local nonprofits for all of the great work you’re doing for the Seeley Lake area!
Local Community Foundations to Host Giving Days in May
The arrival of spring also brings an opportunity for giving in local communities across Montana to support our nonprofit community. Below is a list of giving days happening in May.

Have a giving day to add to the list? Let us know so we can help spread the word. Email Maggie Sullivan at
Grant Deadlines
MCF is currently offering the following grant opportunities.

William B. Pratt Endowment Fund (January 18- March 31, 2021)
Grants to support Montana Indigenous, Folk, Traditional, and Media Arts.

Colstrip Impacts Foundation (March 1- April 30, 2021)
Grants to support impacted workers and their families and further economic development in the Colstrip community.
Snowbird Fund (Available year-round)
Assistance to support individuals conducting a community search for a missing Indigenous person in Montana.
Scholarship Deadline
Though most scholarship application deadlines closed on March 19, some scholarships are still accepting applications. See the list below and apply for scholarships here.
Available Statewide:
  • D.A. Davidson Education Memorial Scholarship, closes 3/31/2021
  • Glacier Bancorp Inc. Mick Blodnick Scholarship, closes 4/2/2021
  • Eldon & JoAnn Kuhns Family Scholarship – Montana Society CPA, closes 4/30/2021
  • Evelyn B Johnson Memorial Scholarship, closes 5/28/2021

Available for Baker High School Graduates:
  • Nelson L. Seeley Scholarship, closes 4/2/2021

Available for the following counties:
Custer, Prairie, McCone, Dawson, Carter, Wibaux, Richland, Fallon, Powder River, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Daniels, Valley, Garfield, Rosebud, Treasure, and Big Horn
  • Walter & Elaine Anderson Scholarship, closes 4/2/2021