Who We Are

Photo by Gravity Media Productions

The Missoula Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people of Missoula. Since 2001, we have awarded more than $1.7 million in grants and scholarships to improve the lives of those in our town. Each year, we help donors reach their philanthropic goals, nonprofits achieve their missions, and students attend higher education.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we provide grants to nonprofits that make our community more vibrant and help meet our challenges. We offer a unique neutral perspective, which allows us to be an advocate for the broad-based needs of Missoula, for today and for future generations.

Our mission is to enhance community vitality by inspiring community giving and strengthening nonprofits.

Our vision is a thriving, engaged and inclusive community.

Whether we chose this place or were born here, all of us at the Missoula Community Foundation are committed to helping Missoulians thrive.

Our history

In 2000, the Missoulian led a ‘Celebrate 2000’ campaign to give back to the Missoula community.  This resulted in a permanent endowment of $45,000 for Missoula to launch what was then called Celebrate Missoula. Today Celebrate Missoula is the Missoula Community Foundation. During the initial ‘Celebrate 2000’ campaign, the Missoulian also gifted another $25,000 to be given out in small grants.  Over the years, Missoula Community Foundation has funded projects such as the benches structures Silver Park, the projector for the North Missoula Outdoor Cinema, and the bridge at the fishing pond near Bancroft and Southwest Higgins. Since 2000, we have granted out $155,000 from the earning of our endowment to area nonprofits.

  • In 2007, Celebrate Missoula hired its first staff person.
  • In 2009, Celebrate Missoula merged with Western Montana Community Foundation to become the Missoula Community Foundation.
  • In 2011, Missoula Community Foundation launched its Scholarship Fund. Since then we’ve granted 42 scholarships to Missoula high school seniors.
  • In 2013, we launched the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence (MPNE), which has delivered $195,000 worth of intense capacity building services to 17 area nonprofits.
  • In 2014, we launched Missoula Gives, an annual, 26-hour campaign that celebrates our community. Our platform has helped raise $1.7 million for the region’s nonprofits. With more than 160 nonprofits participating and 2,330 donors.

We are very proud of our programs and the funds that we have dispersed.  Today we have two staff members and our endowment is valued at $390,000.

What is a community foundation? 

Community Foundations are on the cutting edge of today’s philanthropy. They provide a way for even the smallest financial donor to make a lasting difference in the communities they love, while allowing like-minded investors to pool their resources – creating a greater financial impact than they could alone.

Community foundations work with individuals, families, businesses, and organizations to create permanent charitable funds that help improve communities.  They invest and administer these funds.

Additionally, community foundations are important partners in building and strengthening community, bringing together people and organizations that want to make a difference within their city, county, state, and beyond. They are tax-exempt public charities that help guide philanthropy and are committed to improving the quality of life in the areas they serve.

Our values guide our work:

Community Driven. We believe that people come first; we listen to our community, partners, nonprofits, and donors to inform our work.

Integrity. An abiding pledge to trust, honesty, professionalism, civility, and respect. We safeguard our donors’ intent in perpetuity.

Innovation. We want to approach our work with an open mind, inviting new ideas and pioneering practices. We demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity in achieving community good.

Impactful. We want our work to be impactful, to be a partner in shaping and influencing, and making a lasting difference in Missoula, the community we serve.

Equity. We believe that equity is at the heart of all we do, we believe it should drive our decisions, our programs and funding, and is key in creating a thriving community.