Our Approach 

What We Believe

We envision a thriving, unique and engaged community.

The life of Missoula is shaped by our passions, concerns, engagement and shared commitment to this place. As a community foundation, we harness this unique energy and put it to work. Together, we lift up programs and services that are integral to our community, engage donors in giving on many levels and build a philanthropic pool to meet our needs going forward. When the foundation was established in 2001, it was imagined as a gift to Missoula – part of a celebration of the new millennium and the big dreams we had for our community. 

While our hopes for our community continue to evolve, we want to deliver big impacts and create change within three focus areas.

Community Care

We care for our neighbors and place and so do many of the people that live here. We create funds that reflect the generosity and care that is evident in this place we call home.


Education is a gateway to an improved future. We want to increase access to lifelong education, focusing on K-12, secondary education, and opportunities for nonprofits.

Arts & Culture

We want to enhance appreciation of the arts and participation in cultural experiences.

Arts and Culture are a big part of what make Missoula so special

How We Work

We fund, educate and connect our community through initiatives, programs, services and partnerships that inspire giving and strengthen nonprofits. 

We connect donors to community needs. We advocate for programs and services that address the growing needs of Missoula – and we work closely with donors to be a voice for their interests. Funds held at the foundation help further our work and are invested back into the community.

We educate donors about the mechanisms for charitable giving, through our Donor Webinar Series and personal consultation. We work with professional service providers to help donors create funds and planned gifts that are rewarding and beneficial – and that take advantage of the Montana Endowment Tax Credit. 

The health and vitality of our nonprofit sector is a big priority for our community. We help nonprofits build their capacity by offering training, resources and grant funding through our Small Grants Program. And we provide Fiscal Sponsorship to young, innovative programs that are just gaining traction or need administrative support.

We facilitate partnership and asset building for large community projects. The Community Equity Initiative aims to build a more inclusive workforce pipeline by attracting diverse students to the University of Montana and Missoula, and we are exploring a partnership with the City of Missoula to help address affordable housing needs.

We engage our community in giving that is impactful and inspiring. The Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula pools its resources, decides together on a focus area and awards a $10,000 grant each year to a local organization. And our community-wide giving day, Missoula Gives, engages over 4,000 donors, almost 200 nonprofits and countless partners and volunteers each year. Missoula Gives has raised almost $5 million to date for our community and lifts up the nonprofit sector in many valuable ways.

What We Value