- Frequently Asked Questions
As part of our commitment to helping the local Musselshell valley communities, we have provided some answers here to commonly asked questions. Need more info? Feel free to contact us!
- What is the Musselshell Valley Community Foundation?
— MVCF is a non-profit organization that exists to enhance the vitality of communities in the Musselshell Valley. Almost every community in the United States has its own foundation and their purpose is generally to make grants to worthwhile projects that help the community. MVCF is our local community foundation serving communities in the Musselshell Valley.
- Where does the MVCF get money to make grants?
— Most community foundations have an endowment, which is like a big savings account for the community. Every year, these foundations, ours included, make grants using the interest income from the endowment. Other grant funds are passed down from larger groups, like the Montana Community Foundation, which is a state-wide group based in Helena.
- What sort of projects has the Musselshell Valley Community Foundation funded?
— The Foundation has made grants to the Rimrock Humane Society and to the Roundup Independence Days Extravaganza. We have given to libraries, fire departments, the summer children's drama camp, the Head Start program, Melstone community garden, swimming pools in Roundup and Melstone, the Musselshell School, Lavina Park and the Parents' Association. For a complete list, please see our Grant Recipients page.
- Is that all the Community Foundation does, give away money?
— In other communities across the US, yes, but in our community, NO! The Musselshell Valley Community Foundation has also been very involved in some big community improvement projects like the community stage, the Neighbors for a New Pool project. They raised more than $350,000 to renovate the pool and the bathhouse, and most of it was local donations. The Foundation also serves as the fiscal sponsor for RIDE and MCRT, which saves these groups a lot of bookkeeping work and keeps them on the straight and narrow financially. The Foundation is available to serve as fiscal sponsor for any group that doesn't yet have their own non-profit status and wants to raise money provided the charitable group's mission is within the scope of the Foundation's mission.
- What type of work is within the scope of MVCF's mission that would qualify for fiscal sponsorship?
— The Foundation has guidelines about what sort of project they will fund and what they can fiscally sponsor. The project or activity must fall into one of the Foundation's five focus areas, which are:
- community enhancement
- recreational and cultural development
- youth activities
- natural resources
- and community education
- Isn't the Arts and Culture Committee somehow related to the Foundation?
— Yes, the Arts and Culture Committee is a committee of the Foundation, and makes a report of their activities at the Board Meeting every month. They are responsible for a lot of great things in this town, like Shakespeare in the Parks, drama camps in the schools and the Writer's Voice. They are also the ones that have put together grant funds and local donations to develop the Roundup RiverWalk Trail along the Musselshell River south of Roundup.
- Getting back to this grant money — how does a group apply for a grant?
— The Foundation has application forms which are reviewed every three months. It's a fairly easy grant application, and the applicants typically receive notice of the decision by the end of the following month. Anyone interested in applying for a grant can get a form from our website.
- You said that grant money comes from interest on the endowment? Where did our endowment come from?
— Our endowment comes from generous donations from the commumity. It contains about $285,000 and generates interest income in the neighborhood of $10,000 a year of grants.
It's interesting to note that the Central Montana Foundation, headquartered in Lewistown, was started in 1984 with $3,400 and they now have an endowment of $8 million, thanks to many generous bequests from people that live in that area. They give away several hundred thousand dollars a year.