The Billings Community Foundation History
The predecessor to the Billings Community Foundation was the Greater Yellowstone Region Committee (GYR) of the Montana Community Foundation (MCF). When the MCF board reorganized its regional structure and closed its Billings office in 2006, it was agreed that members of the GYR committee could form a separate Foundation to promote philanthropy and distribute grants from the MCF Matthews Dousman Endowment. This endowment, with a value close to $400,000, came from a unitrust previously established at the MCF for the benefit of the Greater Yellowstone Region.
Since its formation, BCF has distributed over $170,000 in grants to over 60 nonprofits in the Billings region and the number of grants funded by new BCF accounts continues to grow. In 2016, sixteen grants came from the MCF Dousman Endowment and ten were from BCF accounts. In addition to grants presented at the annual Grand Awards Dinner, BCF partners with other nonprofits to provide workshops, helps clients utilize the MT 40% Income Tax Credit, establish endowments, manage Donor Advised Funds, manage Community Funds and much more while offering consultations upon request. As the following chart shows, BCF now serves 60 clients in the seven county region around Billings and manages assets of over $2,800,000.
What makes BCF’s Mission Unique?
Since the beginning, BCF has controlled costs by relying on our Trustees to volunteer significant amounts of personal time during this initial growth period. With our volunteer support, BCF has assisted local nonprofits and individuals in growing their own resources by offering low fees and low thresholds for establishing accounts. Most BCF board members are seasoned philanthropists with experience in fund raising, investing and estate planning. The desire to share their knowledge is what has prompted them to commit energy and personal resources to serve the region through the Billings Community Foundation. The plan has been to postpone full time staffing as long as possible while offering flexible solutions and maintaining a high level of service. The chart of Client and Asset growth since 2010 shows the success of this strategy.
What is BCF's Vision for the Future?
BCF’s vision is to provide leadership in promoting ways regional nonprofits, individuals and businesses can work together for the mutual benefit of the Yellowstone Valley Region. Philanthropy depends on building relationships and BCF has worked to gain the trust of nonprofits and individuals in Billings and the surrounding area. Along with our volunteer board, BCF seeks to promote philanthropy and support nonprofits with staff that is funded by; 1) administrative fees, 2) income from the BCF Endowment, 3) grants from the MCF Dousman Endowment, 4) community sponsor funds and 5) direct donations. The more we grow these sources of income, the more service BCF can provide to our clients. Our goal is to have locally supported staff and local investment of assets to assure that wealth created by our clients provides a firm foundation for regional growth for many years to come.
Billings Community Foundation
PO Box 1255 Billings, MT 59103