News and Insights

Census 2020: Montana Community Foundation Helps Ensure a Complete Count

11/15/2018

Mary K. Rutherford, Guest Contributor | Being counted matters a lot! Just a few weeks ago, MCF participated in the first Montana 2020 Complete Census Count Committee meeting where people from across Montana gathered to discuss how best to get the word out about the importance of getting an accurate count. April 1, 2020 may seem like it's a long way off, yet it will be here before we know it. more »

Why Philanthropy Needs Community Organizers

08/25/2016

Garland Yates, Community Democracy Workshop | At Community Democracy Workshop, we work with residents to put them in more powerful positions to help change their communities. With institutional stakeholders, this community democracy approach might be unsettling, but we have to help them feel comfortable about walking into a process that potentially is confrontational. We must concentrate on making space around the table safe. Not false or phony, but safe. Residents and representatives from institutions will need to be honest and frank with each other and address real issues, but in a productive manner. We must use our influence and role to help create that kind of environment so that our communities can have the power and capacity to see the changes they want to see. more »

Philanthropy Can Help Heal Our Democracy

08/11/2016

Remy Trupin, Catalyst Fellow | When Philanthropy Northwest and the Kettering Foundation published the first edition of Philanthropy and the Renewal of Democracy: Is It Time to Step Up Our Game?, the wounds and diseases afflicting our body politic were already causing concern among rising numbers of citizens, including philanthropists. Two years later, as we lurched through one of the strangest election seasons in modern American history and demand for this publication grew, our question became even more urgent. As Daniel Kemmis points out, the relationship between philanthropy and democracy is a matter of both social compact and law. Given the state of our democratic institutions, it’s become crucial to think about philanthropic activity’s place within our political framework. It is clearly time to step up our game — but in what way and how to do so without abusing our power and privilege? Philanthropy has an opportunity to choose a more constructive and optimistic path. more »

We Need to Talk About Democracy and Equity

07/13/2016

Audrey Haberman, Interim CEO | Nationally and regionally, our communities are dealing with the grief, frustration and anger that results from the persistence of fear, injustice and inequity. We know these issues are complicated. We also know philanthropy has an important role to play in the creation of policies and solutions to address these challenges. Many of us have been having conversations with family, friends and colleagues about the community crises we face, but we are also hearing a strong desire from you for a place to talk more formally with others in our field. While the concepts of democracy and equity have always been part of our annual conference planning, we are now focused on creating and holding space for us to step forward together through those lenses, Under One Sky in Missoula, Montana this fall. As your learning network, we are more committed than ever to addressing the real experiences of people in our communities. We hope you will join us on this journey as we continue to create opportunities to think collectively about supporting and investing in strategies to achieve our shared vision: Northwest communities have vibrant, healthy futures the honor our past, our people and our cultures.   more »

Creating Policy Change With Culture Change

04/05/2016

Remy Trupin, Catalyst Fellow | As a policy wonk, my conference experience over the past 20 years has not included much visual, dramatic and musical artistry. This vibrant mixture of artists, activists and academics made Citizen University’s National Conference a compelling experience. Billed as a “conference like no other,” the event drew 500 participants to Seattle last month, including Seattle Foundation as a major sponsor, focused on accelerating civic participation and answering the question, "Who Is Us?" Our national discourse has heightened and intensified our focus on race, income inequality and identity issues. Changing demographics, shifting understanding of identity and rapid economic changes all support the need for reinvigorated civic participation. But while current events were never entirely absent from the discussion, the overwhelming focus was on the horizon. more »

On the Road for Community Democracy

03/24/2016

Peter Pennekamp and Garland Yates, Community Democracy Workshop | Garland Yates and Peter Pennekamp, Community Democracy Workshop | Democratic community action is part of America’s spirit. From 19th century New England town hall meetings to the civil rights movement and issues of today, stories and research demonstrate citizen efficacy where government, service providers and business fall short. Yet support for the engagement of democratic practices by communities, while never more needed, is ever less apparent by those in positions of power. This is all part of a larger pattern leading to growing inequality and pessimism by most Americans for their communities and our future. In response, Community Democracy Workshop, a national project of Philanthropy Northwest, has been testing and demonstrating the practices and benefits of authentic community engagement. more »

MLK Day: A Time to Serve Our Communities

01/14/2016

Erin Thomas, Talent Partner and Board Liaison | It’s a mid-January morning and there's frost on the ground. People from all over the city are huddling around the coffee and bagel tables, trying to get warm and fuel up for the day. You overhear murmurs of introductions, names and motivations for getting up so early on their day off: “I’m here with my kids and we wanted to do something as a family." "I’m volunteering with my office." "I believe in the message of Dr. King and I want to honor that today.” This is the scene I have experienced on the third Monday of January — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — for almost a decade. Whether you're fighting racism and poverty or preserving nature and wildlife, the MLK Day of Service offers an opportunity to connect with each other and work together to support a healthy and vibrant community. With more than a hundred projects planned throughout the Northwest, thousands of volunteers will be honoring this remarkable man and his message. more »

Bringing It All Back Home: Good Work and Collective Action in Montana

06/23/2015

Daniel Kemmis, Board Member | Last week’s Local Matters gathering in Big Sky, Montana felt like a most fitting way of closing a circle whose circumference I’ve been walking for the last nine years. What made the event so satisfying was the opportunity to feel unabashed pride in the good work and collective action taking place in Montana and in Philanthropy Northwest. more »

Philanthropy is... Networks in Action. What We Heard at Local Matters: Montana

06/23/2015

Caitlin Copple, Montana Correspondent | Against the backdrop of Lone Mountain on a patio with a river rock fireplace, nearly 100 philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit staff and government leaders spent a day and a half talking, thinking and planning next steps to advance issues that matter most to Montanans. Here's what we learned at Local Matters: Montana in June. more »

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