Camp Mak-A-Dream Montana Community Foundation

Mary Rutherford, president of the Montana Community Foundation, presents a $200,000 check from anonymous donors to Camp Mak-A-Dream executive director Laura Bianco Hanna, Camp Mak-A-Dream staff, and board members of both organizations.

Camp Mak-A-Dream Executive Director Laura Bianco Hanna was ready to receive a $100,000 donation for the organization Tuesday. The check she got –from anonymous donors – was for twice that amount.

Mary Rutherford, president of the Montana Community Foundation, reached out to Bianco Hanna earlier this month, inquiring about her organization's mission of helping child cancer patients and their families through summer camps and retreats. The foundation helps donors find and support charitable causes across the state.

She said donors were considering contributing $100,000 to help the camp finish paying for its recently opened Wellness Center at Gold Creek and wondered how much of the cost would be left. Bianco Hanna told her about $56,000 would remain.

After the call, Rutherford said she went back to the donors, who decided to double their contribution – paying the remaining building costs and leaving money to spare.

On Tuesday, Rutherford and members of the Montana Community Foundation board visited Camp Mak-A-Dream’s office in Missoula to present Bianco Hanna with the donation. Up until the last second, Rutherford kept the front of the oversized check hidden, saving the surprise.

“Today is one of the greatest parts of our lives,” Rutherford said before making the big reveal. “The work that you’re doing here matters.”

Bianco Hanna said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors. Camp Mak-A-Dream is celebrating its 20th year this year, and the new 6,700-square-foot Wellness Center will be used in part to help teach life skills to cancer survivors who are ready to leave home and are looking forward to the future.

“It means now we can really focus on what the Wellness Center is about, which is the next 20 years of Camp Mak-A-Dream,” she said.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.