New Board Members 2023

Missoula Community Foundation Elects New Board Members:

Julie Osborn & Ben Sokoloski

February 2, 2023

The Missoula Community Foundation Board, together with Executive Director Marcy Allen, is pleased to announce that Julie Osborn and Ben Sokoloski have been elected to serve a three year term on the foundation board.

Julie Osborn is the co-founder of Ecology Project International and has worked in a leadership or volunteer capacity for many area nonprofits, including Families for a Livable Climate, Home Resource, Missoula Symphony and Missoula International School. She is a long-time Missoulian and enjoys applying her experience in nonprofit, political, educational and research organizations to bring together inclusive communities and support innovative programs. She is especially passionate about working with diverse groups to address climate change and environmental equity issues.

Julie was most recently the Finance Manager for Monica Tranel’s campaign, and was a member of the Missoula Community Foundation’s MPNE Advisory Committee.

Ben Sokolosi is a Missoula native with a background in finance real estate and asset management. Backed by his experience with private equity and entrepreneurship – and inspired by the John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge at the University of Montana – Ben launched, ran and grew the downtown gem Market on Front. In 2019 Ben sold the company to a local entrepreneur and embarked on a new journey in the insurance world.  He joined Stewart Title to develop, strategically reposition and improve systems/efficiencies and most importantly position the company for acquisition, which was carried out in 2021. Ben is currently Area Manager for Fidelity National Title in Missoula and Ravalli Counties. 

Missoula Gives 2023

It’s Time for Missoula Gives 2023

Registration is Live!

Here we go! It’s time to register your organization for Missoula Gives & Bitterroot Gives 2023. We are excited to get underway and encourage our nonprofit partners to register early so you and your colleagues can attend training webinars, ask questions and be fully engaged with all of our resources before the big day.

Our goal is to raise $1.5 million this year and support Missoula & Bitterroot nonprofits, not just monetarily, but with tools and resources to help them grow and continue to serve the needs of our communities.

Polly with Imagine Nation Brewing for Missoula Gives 2022.

We are teaming up with Giving Days across the state on our virtual trainings again this year. Join us for a series of information-packed Webinars that will help you maximize the impact of Missoula Gives — and learn from experts as well as your peers. 

And we hope you will participate in these special efforts that will increase community engagement and support of Missoula Gives.

  • 30-Second Ad Challenge
    • Nonprofits create a 30-second ad and submit it to our voting platform, then the public votes. The winners will have their ad run on KPAX TV and Social Media the week leading up to Missoula Gives. This is a great way to share your story and build interest leading up to the day.
  • Polly Photo Contest
    • Our mascot Polly (the pollinator of philanthropy) will be out-and-about town the week leading up to Missoula Gives. Snap a photo with Polly and enter to win a MG Gift Card to use to support your favorite causes.

We are delighted to host this giving day for the good of Missoula, thank you for partnering with us!

Civil Discourse Grantees

Civil Discourse Small Grant Awards

January 27, 2023 

 The Missoula Community Foundation is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s $5,000 Small Grants – City Club Missoula, Public Policy Institute of the Rockies, and Soft Landing Missoula. This year’s Small Grant Cycle supports programs that facilitate Civil Discourse in our community, which the foundation defines as “conversations in which there is a mutual airing of views without rancor.” Over the past several years, Civil Discourse has become increasingly important and yet is challenging for organizations and communities to put into practice.

 City Club Missoula’s public forums encourage the discussion of new ideas and free exchange of thought. They will use their grant award to offset the rising cost of their programs so the price to attend their monthly luncheons can remain the same and a diverse audience can continue to attend.

 Public Policy Institute of the Rockies will host an educational seminar on the Montana Legislature that will be offered to participants at no cost and will be streamed online. Held mid-way through the 2023 legislative session, the event will help attendees better understand the framework, functions and processers of the legislature, will highlight the importance of civil discourse, and will explore ways to become involved and impact policy.

 Soft Landing Missoula is committed to community education and outreach efforts that facilitate understanding through community conversations, panel discussions, lectures, special events and media for storytelling and education. Their grant award will help fund their Stories of Home multi-media exhibition and assist them in meeting all of their community education goals.The Small Grants awards at the Missoula Community Foundation lift up area nonprofits committed to the focus areas of Arts & Culture, Education and Community Care. And when making grant decisions considers its core values of: community driven, integrity, innovation, impactful and equity.

2022 LoLA Grantees

2022 LoLA Grants Support Healing and Wellbeing

The Legacy of Living Art (LoLA) Fund supports projects that use the arts to nurture and support healing. LoLA grants are awarded yearly to artists and organizations that seek to engage creativity for the benefits of wellness and wellbeing. The fund has granted out $30,000 since 2020 and this year is lifting up Missoula Community Free Fridge, SPARK! Arts and Red Willow Learning Center.

Missoula Community Free Fridge works to expand equitable food access through a network of 24/7 accessible fridges & pantries. They will use LoLA funds to paint the fridges and pantries with colorful, beautiful art to demonstrate their communal nature and expand engagement with the community. 

SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning is a collective-impact and national partner of the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child. Their LoLA funded project will provide professional development for twenty MCPS  teaching artists to increase social-emotional learning support and mental health and well-being through arts integration in our schools.

Red Willow Learning Center will use their grant award to offer a four-part Transformational Self-Portrait workshop series. This project will benefit people at any stage of recovery from Substance Use Disorder – encouraging participants to imagine the potential for transformation. The series aims to help participants envision a hopeful future of sobriety, effective coping skills and improved mental health.

WGC 2022 Grantee

Women’s Giving Circle 2022 Grant Awarded to Indigenous Made Missoula

Since its formation in 2018, the Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula County has contributed to positive community change by granting $50,000 to local organizations to help pursue projects for the betterment of Missoula.

We are delighted to announce that Indigenous Made Missoula is the recipient of the $10,000 Women’s Giving Circle Grant this year. This Indigenous women-led organization is dedicated to empowering our community by cultivating economic opportunities and creating visibility for a diverse network of Indigenous makers, artists, and talent. Indigenous Made Missoula uplifts established and emerging artists and talent through education, marketing, community building, and culturally-centered events.

They plan to use the $10,000 WGC Grant to establish the Indigenous Art & Talent Network which will support established and emerging artists to effectively increase their economic success by providing access to education, marketing, community building, and creating access to resources, supplies, and opportunities. Through the network, Indigenous Made Missoula will develop strong relationships with both artists and consumers allowing opportunities for unity and growth in our community.

“Art is the greatest asset Indian people have in our communities, yet it is the most underdeveloped.” 

Elouise Cobell, Blackfeet 1945-2011

The other two impressive finalists and recipients of $1,000 grants are The American Indian Women’s Book Club, a program of All Nations Health Center, and Seedlings 4 Solidarity.

Lorilee Evans-Lynn Memorial Scholarship

Lorilee Evans-Lynn Memorial Scholarship

25 November 2022

The Missoula Community Foundation is honored to announce the establishment of the Lorilee Evans-Lynn Memorial Scholarship, which honors the memory, work and passion of Lorilee Evans-Lynn. 

Lorilee was the long-time advisor of the literary magazines Aerie Big Sky and founder/advisor of Aerie International during her twenty-nine-year teaching career at Big Sky High School. The scholarship will support graduating seniors at Big Sky High School who have a passion for the creative arts and are pursuing secondary education in that field.

Lorilee and her husband John moved to Missoula in 1980 so she could study under Richard Hugo at the University of Montana, an influence that loomed large for her, and helped to shape her own future as a writer and teacher. She would in turn pass on her own unique perspective to hundreds of students in the creative writing program at Big Sky High School. Lorilee was passionate about writing and put remarkable energy into teaching her students. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2016 at the age of 59 after a very short battle with cancer.

Lorilee’s family came together to open an endowment fund through the Missoula Community Foundation that will support a $1,500 annual scholarship award – as a way to honor Lorilee’s memory and provide a legacy appropriate to the love and energy she poured on those she taught and inspired.

 Big Sky seniors are encouraged to apply here: Lorilee Evans-Lynn Memorial Scholarship.

Missoula Community Foundation Scholarships

The Missoula Community Foundation Scholarships Application now OPEN!

November 24, 2023

The Missoula Community Foundation is delighted to offer SIX $1,000 scholarships to MCPS seniors again this year. Since the Missoula Community Scholarship Fund’s inception, it has supported over three hundred Missoula area students with scholarships since 1990.

A total of five, $1,000 scholarships will be awarded — to one student from each of the five MCPS High Schools. Willard students are highly encouraged to apply for the scholarship for their “home” high school. The foundation will also award one $1,000 Diversity Scholarship to a student who identifies with an underrepresented ethnic group. Applicants who are not chosen for the Diversity Scholarship will automatically be entered into the General Scholarship pool.

Students who apply for Missoula Community Foundation Scholarships must plan to attend a higher-education institution in Montana or a Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) school.

The scholarship application is designed to help our review committee get to know each applicant. The goal of the scholarship is to provide support to students who demonstrate financial need, determination, perseverance and commitment. The application is open now here and all MCPS seniors are encouraged to apply by March 24, 2023.

Donald Carey Memorial Ambassador Award

Donald Carey Memorial Ambassador Award

November 21, 2023

The Missoula Community Foundation, in partnership with the Donald Carey family, is pleased to house the Donald Carey International Choral Ambassador Award Fund – a means to honor Don’s unique contributions to the choral community here in Missoula and throughout the world.

Montana International Choral Festival Founder Don Carey dedicated much of his career to developing students through travel and study abroad.  This award will honor his legacy by supporting Montana students as they travel overseas to join a choir, rehearse with that choir, and then return to Missoula with that choir to experience the magic of the choral festival and experience the unique hospitality only the Garden City can offer during the Montana International Choral Festival. 

Don’s son, Steve Carey, who opened the fund, said, “My Dad understood the power of the human voice to bypass artificial boundaries and enable meaningful connections between people of different cultures.  This award will honor his strong belief that Missoula is a special place where a multitude of voices can flow together to transcend the political and ideological boundaries that separate people from one another.”

Donald Carey founded the Montana International Choral Festival in 1987. He passionately believed in promoting artistic excellence, global understanding, friendship, and goodwill through choral music. If you would like to make a gift to carry out Donald’s legacy you can do so here.

You can read Don’s obituary here.

The Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula County focusing on Indigenous Issues in 2022, Grant Cycle opens September 1

MISSOULA – The Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula County (WGC) is pleased to invite all non-profit organizations addressing indigenous issues in our community to apply for its 2022 grant award, worth $10,000. Applications will be accepted from September 1st through October 10th, 2021, with the winner announced in mid-December.

Each grant cycle, WGC members vote to determine what critical need they want to focus on.
There was strong interest this year from members to add Indigenous Issues specifically to their list of potential grant focus areas to honor the native peoples and traditions in our community and recognize that we are living in the aboriginal territories of the Salish, Kootenai, and Kalispel people.

“Since its inception in 2018, we’ve given a total of $40,000 to five different organizations dealing with racial/social justice, COVID-19 relief, environmental concerns, as well as the needs of women and children,” said steering committee chair Dawn Payne. “This year we are looking forward to learning about and supporting the efforts of deserving
organizations that are working to come up with creative, effective solutions to issues that
affect our indigenous communities.”

Requests for the 2022 grant should clearly demonstrate how funds will be used to address issues indigenous people face. The WGC evaluates applicants on the Circle’s core values: community, equity, and opportunity. Three finalists will be chosen from the initial pool of applicants, and the winner will be selected after a presentation to the Circle. New this year: The Women’s Giving Circle will provide the full grant amount to the organization that its members select, and provide the other two finalists with $1,000 each. For more information or to apply for the grant, visit

The Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula County, a program of the Missoula Community Foundation, has grown to include nearly 100 women and non-binary philanthropists of all ages and backgrounds who pool their resources and collaborate to support the community. Membership dues start at $120/year ($60 for students), and while many members contribute more than that, all members get an equal vote and the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of a larger community effort that works to improve the life of Missoula area residents. They leverage their resources while at the same time gaining opportunities to learn about community needs and the organizations addressing them. We give together, we decide together, we benefit together.

It’s not too late to join the circle and vote for this year’s grant winner! Interested Missoula area women and non-binary people are encouraged to become members today by donating online at

$1.25M+ Raised for Missoula Gives 2022!

$1.25 Million Raised for Local Nonprofits

Nonprofits across Missoula and Hamilton raked in $1.2 million during this year’s Missoula Gives community fundraising event, which ended on Friday night.

Of the 180 nonprofits in this year’s event, 25 were new.

“Over 3,600 people donated to this year’s campaign – and hundreds more were involved in planning the event and working behind the scenes,” said Marcy Allen, executive director of the Missoula Community Foundation. “It’s truly remarkable to see Missoula come together like this and support our non-profit sector.”….Read More