ST. IGNATIUS – Most everyone likes a story with a happy ending. Jenifer Blumberg can spin one with a happy beginning.
As far as Blumberg was concerned, last Friday was already set to be a great day for “The Nest,” the name for the home she and others want to open here to help young mothers become good mothers.
An anonymous donor, or donors, had already given $100,000 through the Montana Community Foundation, almost half of the $225,000 needed to purchase the seven-bedroom home in St. Ignatius The Nest wants to buy.
“We came over on the ruse of presenting a ceremonial check,” says Montana Community Foundation president and CEO Mary Rutherford, “that we could take pictures of for promotional purposes.”
“They wanted to do the ‘big-check’ thing,” Blumberg says, and the big-check thing they did do.
Except the check was big in more ways than one.
For starters, it was for $325,000, more than three times the $100,000 Blumberg anticipated.
“An enormous surprise,” Blumberg says. “I’m not sure if it came from the same donor or another one, I just know they wanted to remain anonymous.
“Our timeline has gone from ‘whenever we raise the money’ to ‘let’s get going.’ ”
“It was a pretty special moment,” says Rutherford, who was joined by foundation chairwoman Mary Craigle at the presentation. “Lots of tears, lots of hugs, a lot of excitement.”
Now, in addition to having the purchase price in hand, The Nest has a nest egg for any repairs or upgrades necessary, and some of the money it will need to operate the home.
“It’s a huge jump-start for us,” Blumberg says. “I understand the donor, or donors, were really impressed with the community support we’ve had. We still need to raise enough money to staff the house, but we may be open by the end of the year.”
The Nest will focus on young mothers, or expectant mothers, trying to escape abusive situations.
The women and their children will live in the house for anywhere from six months to two years. While there, the moms will learn parenting and nurturing skills, and be supported as they continue their educations or pursue job training.
There are only three other such homes in Montana. The Nest would be the first one located in a rural setting.
The donor, or donors, who made it possible do their philanthropic work through the foundation.
Rutherford says the money donated to The Nest came from an established family fund at the foundation.
“Periodically, as they explore what causes they are interested in, they loop us in and ask us to do due diligence,” Rutherford says. “We make sure they’re filed as a 501(c)(3), and that they’ re actually doing the work they say they do.”
The Montana Community Foundation, started in 1988, now stewards more than $70 million entrusted to it.
One of the better-known charities supported by the foundation are the Big Sky Honor Flights that take World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to view the WWII and other memorials.
“There are all kinds of funds people have established with us,” Rutherford says. “Some may benefit a specific charity, others may benefit a general field such as arts or history. Some are for specific geographic areas.”
And the people behind one fund liked what the people behind The Nest are trying to do. The idea is simple, Blumberg says: If you want to help children, you have to help the adults in their lives.