Philanthropy Paves the way for Growth

  • June 01, 2015
  • Posted by MCC

Ideally, every Montana child would have carefree summers filled with sports camps, fort building, and nature exploration. Unfortunately, many youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When school doors close, many Montana children struggle to access educational opportunities and basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision. More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.

This is just one reason why MCC launched its month-long Expeditions for teens nearly 15 years ago. Since then, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation has granted $120,000 to MCC to grow this program to serve about 150 teens each summer. Over the years, this investment has allowed for:

• 1,157 teens to participate in expeditions
• 269 AmeriCorps members to serve as Crew Leaders
• 9,574 youth volunteers to participate in local service days
• 228,942 hours of conservation service

The Washington Foundation was the earliest principal philanthropic investor in our youth program. With its steady support, MCC leveraged the foundation’s annual investment to significantly grow the program and leverage additional public and private financial resources.

Donors are also playing an important role in MCC’s strategic growth. In March of 2015, MCC was awarded its largest philanthropic grant to date of $300,000 by the Kendeda Fund. The grant will be used to support diversity and inclusion and help broaden the constituency of people we serve. This grant has provided crucial financial support to help MCC:

• Recruit and support a more diverse group of corps members
• Launch a new financial assistance program to provide need- and merit-based scholarships to help members enroll in a term of service
• Develop program innovations for our Veterans Green Corps
• Collaborate with tribal communities to offer corps experiences to young American Indians
• Adapt our corps model to serve 13-year-olds in a new program to be launched in 2016

While the Washington Foundation and the Kendeda Fund ensure the highest levels of inclusion by helping keep all of our programs offered at no cost, MCC also collaborates with other donors to involve our members in stewarding some of our most cherished natural areas.

For example, with a grant of $100,000 from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and matching grants from Cinnabar Foundation and the Cross Charitable Trust, MCC crews are working to help protect habitat for the greater sage-grouse and black-footed ferret, species important to the health of the grassland ecosystem.

With support from REI and the National Forest Foundation, MCC members are part of an ongoing partnership with the USFS to care for high-use recreation areas that offer close and convenient access to over 100 miles of trails. These trails make it possible for the public to enjoy spectacular backcountry opportunities in the Gallatin National Forest near Bozeman and the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness near Missoula.

However, charitable giving isn’t just for large corporations or foundations. These large foundations can give at levels most of us can’t, but we all can make a difference.

One of the most inspiring gifts MCC received this year was $4 from a young woman in Great Falls who just completed an Expedition. She sent it with a handwritten note that said:

“As a former MCC member I can tell you, you may get home sick, or you may get tired of the work (I know it’s rough in the heat sometimes), but you need to push on, pull through! There is nothing greater than the feeling when you graduate. I know you can do it!”

There are lots of ways to give back. Making a charitable gift to MCC is one of those, and here’s how we make sure that it’s a great investment.

We match your gift many times over
Charitable gifts provide vital non-federal matching dollars that help us compete nationally for AmeriCorps funds.

There is strength in numbers
Whether it’s $5 or $500, gifts from alumni, parents, and friends add up. They provide critical financial support that is helping to enroll more young people in more programs.

Pay it forward
MCC continues to offer all of its programs at no cost to facilitate the highest levels of inclusion. Gifts to MCC sustain programs for the next generation of corps members.

3.6 million hours
MCC members have given millions of hours in conservation service. Your gift will ensure that there are MCC crews on the land helping take care of our most cherished public places for a million more.

We’d be honored to have your support. To make a gift to MCC, please visit .


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