June 17, 2020, Missoula, Mont- Missoula Community Foundation is thrilled to announce the LoLA Fund. This designated pool of grant funding will support 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.
In the fall of 2019, Missoula Community Foundation took some time to reflect on their organization and see how they could be more impactful in the community. They chose to focus on arts and culture, education, and community care. They also decided to manage their own funds. This decision paved the way for the LoLA Fund, a first for Missoula Community Foundation.
So did a very special organization.
For the past 27 years, Living Art of Montana has offered art workshops free of charge for people in Western Montana experiencing cancer, chronic illness, a significant loss in their lives, or providing care for someone facing these challenges. In 2019, the Living Art board and staff shifted focus and decided to close their doors in order to keep their mission alive. This shift provided an opportunity to focus all financial resources directly on using the arts to support healing and Living Art of Montana gifted more than $30,000 in seed funding to launch the LoLA fund at the Missoula Community Foundation.
“We have long supported arts and culture,” said Marcy Allen, Executive Director of Missoula Community Foundation. “As a Community Foundation we work with individuals, families, businesses, and organizations to create permanent charitable funds that help improve our community. We couldn’t be more thrilled to help Living Art carry on and expand their work in the Missoula region. ”
The LoLA Fund committee, comprised of former board and staff of Living Art of Montana, will make funding recommendations to the Missoula Community Foundation Board of Directors. The committee will help shape this fund in its formative years to carry on the mission of Living Art of Montana.
“We hope the LoLA Fund will encourage and support individual artists and organizations to bring their unique talents and visions for healing through the arts to the Missoula community in new ways.” said Heather Sundheim, LoLA Fund Committee Chair, “It never felt right for Living Art to shut its doors and be done forever. Despite our decision to close, a dream remained for our mission to continue in a sustainable way. We wanted to use our knowledge and experience to support artists with a passion for similar work. A combined effort of tightening our budget plus commitments from major donors has made our dream a reality. The Legacy of Living Art or ‘LoLA’, was born.
A transfer of wealth study, commissioned by the Montana Community Foundation, predicted that between 2010 and 2060 $14.26 billion will be transferred from one generation to the next in Missoula County. If the Missoula Community Foundation could capture just five percent of these funds, it would amount to $712.9 million. This could translate to an annual payout of $35.7 million to fund any challenges Missoula might face in the future. The LoLA Fund is Missoula Community Foundation’s first step toward that potential community contribution.
“We are excited to be able to offer people an opportunity to give back to our wonderful community,” said Allen. “We are honored that Living Art chose us to help carry on their important work in our community.”
Missoula Community Foundation’s first call for LoLA grant applications will go out on July 1, 2020. They plan to announce awards before Thanksgiving for 2021 projects.
This generous gift from Living Art of Montana established the LoLA fund but Missoula Community Foundation welcomes other donations to the fund. If you are interested in contributing to the LoLA Fund, setting up a different fund, or want to learn more about the grants visit the Missoula Community Foundation website www.misssoulacommunityfoundation.org