By Casey Schwartz, YCCF Executive Director
The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation was established three years ago with the goal of giving back to community, education and conservation. Today, the nonprofit is growing and evolving these goals, and is finding a niche in southwest Montana.
The foundation not only gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars, but also creates and leverages partnerships among the recipients to extend its financial reach and results.
At a set of meetings last fall, program directors spoke about their highest priority needs in the areas of children, family services and conservation. There, the foundation learned more about the organizations it serves and they learned more about each other.
As a result, our regional nonprofit community is growing. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank now provides food for Big Sky Youth Empowerment programs, and Thrive and Women In Action will launch a cooperative parent education program in the Big Sky School District next year. In fact, the assembled nonprofit directors requested YCCF host similar meetings twice a year.
The foundation now realizes that to make a difference with these nonprofits, we need to establish giving plans that guarantee income for two or three years in a row. This is long enough for the organizations to gain something significant and put in place programs like the Gallatin weekend food backpack program.
The meetings also underscored the need for increased understanding. For donors, it’s important to understand and see real outcomes, which is why the foundation has also supported MSU research studying hunger and the impact of the food bank.
With the foundation’s trajectory more focused than ever, we’re fielding requests and ideas from our active board and working with and growing our nonprofit network. Yellowstone Club staff members have been some of the best resources for knowing what needs to happen in the community, and we’ve increasingly heard ideas and requests from this group.
“The foundation is truly living the ‘community’ in its name,” said YCCF Board President Sam Byrne. “This organization is supported by the community, to serve the community.”
This story was originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of Mountain Outlaw magazine. Read more here.