Meet Nikki Robb-New Program Associate

We’re pleased to introduce you to our newest staff member, Program Associate Nikki Robb. Nikki will support our fundraising, outreach, and marketing efforts.

Q: What brought you to Missoula?

A: I am actually from Missoula. Well, my parents moved me here in the 4th grade. I stayed here until age 23 when I decided to leave town to finish college. I was gone from Montana for about 10 years.

Q: What are your favorite things about the city?

A: Favorite things about Missoula, huh, too many to count. But some of my favorite things here are the mountains, the rivers, and the music scene. Also, the people; Missoulians are outgoing, progressive, kind, giving, healthy and happy (for the most part). Its a blessing to be surrounded by such great people.

Q: How did you first learn about the Missoula Community Foundation?

A: I believe I first learned of the Missoula Community Foundation while working as a PR assistant here in Missoula. My first real introduction to the community foundation was during Give Local 2015. A friend and colleague of mine recommended I get involved with the Give Local Missoula marketing team.

Q: What are you most excited about working on in your new role at MissoulaCF?

A: Well, I am a big fan of Give Local. I love the massive community involvement. I’ve always enjoyed fundraising and fundraising for so many local non-profits all at the same time is just fun! My new role here at the community foundation is Program Associate. I am also looking forward to developing and growing our current programs and future programs to come.

Q: Describe your career background.

A: I went to school at California State University, Chico. I paid my way through college in the food and beverage industry, but while I was there I began fundraising for local non-profits. My degrees are in Recreation Administration; they are Special Events and Tourism as well as Hotel, Lodging and Management, with a minor in marketing. After graduation I took an internship in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. There I worked for Meegan Jones, event sustainability guru. We did event sustainability/green consulting and worked on an event sustainability measurement program. I lived there for over a year, working with Meegan and working large music festivals and conferences around the country. I worked many angles, from volunteer coordination, sustainability/green team, recycling manager, waste management, vendor coordinator, hospitality and more. After living overseas I decided it was time to return home to Montana. Upon my return I started working as an executive assistant. Once assimilated back into Montana life I wanted to get back into fundraising. I started working with local non-profits to throw their annual fundraisers, which led me to start my own event coordination and consulting company, NR Event Partners. I have been operating that company here in Missoula the last couple of years.

Q: If you could add one resource to the city, what would it be?

A: I would bring in more sustainable resource practices. Green practices are growing here, but have a long way to go. I am concerned with waste management. I would love to see better recycling programs here. Currently we can’t even sustainably recycle glass and many other wastes. Most of us that live in Missoula live here for the beautiful surroundings and easy access to nature, I wish it was easier for us all to take better care of this special town.

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Ripple Rapple Tickets on Sale Now!

Ripple Rapple Fundraiser
You’ve heard of the Ripple Effect, right? A situation in which one event causes a series of other events to happen. But have you heard of the Ripple Rapple? It’s a fundraiser in which one ticket purchase causes donations to many Missoula non-profits to happen!

That explains “ripple”, but what’s a “rapple”?
A rapple is like a raffle, but the “p”s are for “promoting philanthropy”.

Here’s how it works:
1. Buy one ticket for $25, or five for $100. 60% of the ticket cost supports the Missoula Community Foundation. The other 40% will be divided among up to four lucky local nonprofits.
2. Choose your favorite nonprofit to receive a portion of the Rapple prize money. The more people who select your favorite organization as their favorite, the more chances that nonprofit has to win.
3. Pat yourself on the back. You just started a ripple of philanthropy!
We”ll announce the winners at a fun and unique drawing. Stay tuned for more event details.

Purchase Your Rapple Ticket Now!


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Philanthropists with Focus on Northwest to Gather in Missoula for Conference

This September, Missoula will play host to Philanthropy Northwest’s annual conference and membership meeting. The event draws philanthropists committed to vibrant, equitable and inclusive communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

As a member of the conference planning committee, we have an incredible opportunity to showcase our community to more than 50 funders. We are organizing learning tours on local food and economic development, arts and education, and personal storytelling through the Tell Us Something program. We will feature conference highlights in our October newsletter, so stay tuned.

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Cuban Choir Brings Afro-Cuban Music to Montana

Cuban Choir Brings Afro-Cuban Music to Montana
Watch a video of the Cuban choir singing “Shenandoah” on the banks of the Missouri River.

Due to the commitment and enthusiasm of a small group of volunteers, a choir from Cuba recently performed in Great Falls, Florence, and Missoula, where they wowed audiences of the 2016 International Choral Festival.

The Montanans originally heard Cantores de Cienfuegos perform in Cuba and dreamed of bringing the vocal group to their home towns. Choir members subsist on a government subsidy equivalent of $20-$25 per month, so the enterprising volunteers approached us about providing a fiscal sponsorship to aid in fundraising efforts. Fiscal sponsorships are one of the ways the Missoula Community Foundation incubates innovative ideas and projects put forward by community members.

Florence resident and co-chair of the “Cuban Choir to Montana Project” Yvonne Gastineau Gritzner noted that hosting the Cantores de Cienfuegos not only allowed Montanans to get a taste of superb Afro-Cuban music but it “opened up possibilities for understanding and friendship among ordinary people from our two countries.”

The “Cuban Choir to Montana Project” successfully raised more than half of their targeted goal but still has more expenses to cover. Please consider donating to this unique and special project. You may select “Cuban Choir to MT” from the dropdown menu on our donation page.

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Celebrate Give Local on May 25

We have a lot to be thankful for: your patience and persistence, the dedication of our local nonprofits, and despite technical difficulties, raising $200,000 and counting! Help us celebrate our success from Give Local Missoula on May 25, come rain or shine!


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Meet the 2016 Scholarship Winners


The winners of our Scholarship Program are Dawson Jones (Frenchtown), Constance Darlington (Hellgate), Nathanael Jourdonnais (Big Sky) and Matney Stropkey (Sentinel). These exceptional high school seniors will each receive $1,000 to attend a university or trade school in Montana. Congratulations, graduates!  –

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2016 Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence Winners Announced

Winners Announced for the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence

Local groups awarded grants to build capacity and create a more vibrant community

MISSOULA, (Mont.) – This week, three local nonprofits received grants from the Missoula Community Foundation to build stronger organizations and create a more vibrant community. The Foundation selected Blue Mountain Clinic, Inc., Home ReSource and Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) as the 2016 grant recipients of the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence (MPNE).

These three nonprofits were awarded funds to work with a local consultant to assess their organizational strengths and needs for improvement. The goal is to identify ways each group can become more effective and efficient in serving clients and their communities, and then help them execute the recommendations to strengthen internal operations necessary to reach their full potential. Each organization and its capacity-building priorities are described briefly below:

Blue Mountain Clinic is an independent family medicine clinic that provides nonjudgmental, safe and compassionate healthcare. It has never accepted government funding, which allows practitioners to have complete autonomy in how they provide care. The MPNE grant will help Blue Mountain assess the best way to position itself within the ever-evolving world of medicine while remaining true to their principles.

Home ReSource’s mission is to reduce waste and build a vibrant and sustainable local economy. Their building materials reuse center employs 30 people, diverts more than 1000 tons of materials annually from the landfill, and provides job training to people experiencing barriers to employment. After years of planning, they recently purchased their store site. This capacity building grant will help the organization manage their rapid growth and navigate the site purchase process.

Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) promotes the spread of information and exchange of ideas by providing channel time, equipment and training to as many organizations and people as possible. Since 1990, it has donated more than $1,000,000 of in-kind video production services to 700 Missoula groups. MCAT is partnering with the Missoula Public Library, Children’s Museum Missoula and SpectrUM to fundraise and campaign for a new library/community center that would house all of these resources under one roof. MCAT is also shifting from a television model to a media center model, which will focus on education about various forms of media. These major transitions make now the perfect time for this capacity building grant.

MPNE, now in its third year, is coordinated by the Missoula Community Foundation. It is conducted in partnership with the Helena-based Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits (BSI). MPNE is a place-based approach to capacity-building grantmaking that grew out of a multi-year demonstration phase developed by BSI and a group of Montana funders.

MPNE is a collaborative grantmaking program, with Oro y Plata Foundation, Llewellyn Foundation, Pride Foundation, Martha Newell and the Missoula Community Foundation participating in leadership and decision-making over the past three years. This year, the grants were made possible with support from Caroline & Willis Kurtz, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, High Stakes Foundation, Martha Newell, Pride Foundation, United Way of Missoula County and the Missoula Community Foundation.

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Welcome, Climate Smart Missoula and Amy Cilimburg!


Climate Smart Missoula is primed to make our community resilient and vibrant

We’re excited to announce that our new initiative, Climate Smart Missoula, has received a prestigious award for their 2016 “Summer Smart” program: the Bloomberg Award for Partners for Places—a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities*. Summer Smart aims to prepare our community to thrive amidst increasing temperatures, wildfire smoke, and drought by helping Missoulians to be physically, mentally, and economically healthy and resilient. Amy Cilimburg, the director of Climate Smart Missoula, tells us more about this project, and why she’s dedicated to improving the resilience of our hometown.

Amy, what do you love best about living in Missoula?

The community, hands down. It’s inspiring to be around so many passionate people who share what they love, work to make this a better place, and care for our natural world. I love running and skiing the nearby trails with my family. Plus, Missoula’s just the right size for affecting change—we can be on the leading edge of finding solutions to our region’s most pressing problems.

Which climate-related changes concern you?

For one, Missoula is experiencing hotter summers, longer droughts and extended periods of wildfire smoke. Right now, our main strategy is to hope for rain or, if we can, leave town when it’s bad. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable people in our community are the ones who are the most at risk from these more extreme summer conditions: the young, the elderly, and the health-impaired.

How is Climate Smart solving these problems?

Summer Smart is designed to step up activities, solutions, and planning efforts. For instance, we are working to build more shade structures, improve our urban forests, and start the conversation about ways we can help people get out of the heat and the smoke to stay cooler and healthier in the short and long term.

What are ways we can do more as Missoulians?

soap chefs

Glad you asked! Although climate change can feel overwhelming, this initiative gives people hopeful, positive ways to make a difference here at home. Take my daughter, Wren. She’s a freshman at Hellgate High School and four years ago she and 3 friends founded SOAP (Save Our Amazing Planet). This group of young teens actually raised the first $1,000 for Climate Smart Missoula by cooking a five-course dinner for 16 community leaders. The girls feel good by doing good, and it’s really inspiring to watch them in action.

*This award required a 1:1 match! We’ve raised the necessary $45,000 matching funds for the Bloomberg Award but Summer Smart would still benefit from YOUR support! Can you help? Learn how you can chip in for Summer SmartClimate Smart

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Thank You for an Amazing 2015!

Thanks to our donors and volunteers, 2015 has been an amazing year. Please take a minute and enjoy this photographic journey.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.03.49 AM

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Donate today to the Missoula Community Foundation to feel happier

2015 appeal header

Now is your chance to make the MOST DIFFERENCE for the causes you care about.

Zoe Tate wants to be a brain surgeon. She’s well on her way, already working on a double major at the University of Montana. The scholarship Zoe earned from the Missoula Community Foundation helped offset the cost of college . . . but hundreds more students need scholarship support to make their dreams come true.

Will you donate to increase our Scholarship Fund for young adults like Zoe?

Eran Fowler Pehan runs a community organization that was at a crossroads. She needed help making the Poverello Center more effective at serving the city’s homeless and underserved. The Missoula Community Foundation provided resources that transformed the organization . . . but dozens more directors like Eran are in need of a roadmap that guides them strategically through tough choices.

Will you donate to bolster the groups that provide critical community services?

In Missoula, it’s all about connection—to people, to place, and to causes we care about. And the Missoula Community Foundation is all about connecting YOU ways to make Missoula better—forever. As the year comes to a close, we are asking you to give back to the causes and community you love best.

Here’s why you can’t afford not to give to Missoula Community Foundation:

  • Earn valuable tax savings.
  • Get more bang-for-the-buck by benefiting hundreds of nonprofits instead of one.
  • Build a savings account for our future here in Missoula.
  • Live longer. Feel happier.

Wait, is that last part true?! It is!Studies show that giving makes us feel happy, healthy, grateful, and connected. It’s the true fountain of youth. Plus, it’s contagious: you can jump-start a cascade of generosity by donating your time or money.

Help make Missoula the best place ever (and reap the health and happiness side benefits!) by supporting the Missoula Community Foundation. As the hub for local charities, we strengthen the organizations that are the backbone of this community—and we support the people who make them tick.

Your donation will help us serve not just one but all the hundreds  of nonprofits in Missoula.

  1. Grow the Give Local Stretch Pool: Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by local citizens to benefit 120+ charities during the national Give Local event in May, creating a ripple effect for good throughout our community.

Goal: $10,000

  1. Double the Scholarship Fund: Your donations will give 5 more high school students the chance to attend Montana colleges and universities in 2016, cultivating creativity and entrepreneurship in our community’s young adults.

Goal: $5,000

  1. Start New Ventures: Your gift will catalyze change at the local level by providing strategic resources and funding that kick-starts 3 Missoula-based organizations, fostering new ideas and effective services in our community.

Goal: $10,000

Thank you so much for caring about this place, its people, and the many good causes centered here. We celebrate YOU! And we hope you will celebrate the season of giving by donating to the Missoula Community Foundation.

For the good of Missoula forever,

Greg Tollefson 

Board President 

P.S. $5 a month will make our year! Sign up for our super-easy monthly payment plan to make a big impact with just a little bit.

P.P.S. It’s not just about the money. Here are more ways to help: Join our email list.  Volunteer during Give Local Missoula. Ask a friend to donate $10, too!

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