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I tell people that I am a two-time loser. After losing the state high school wrestling championship for the second time, I wasn’t very considerate of the people around me. As I was grousing throughout the week, my grandmother so kindly pointed out that a girl from Plevna had just won the state beef cookoff.

Sitting around the breakfast table, my dad strongly indicated that the two competitions, wrestling and cooking, don’t compare. That was a defining moment in my life because it made me realize that, in fact, the two do compare. What’s important to other people and what’s important to me aren’t necessarily the same things, but they are all significant. Philanthropy, especially at the community level, has allowed me to help people support the causes that are most important to them.

The Montana Community Foundation is the flagship organization driving philanthropy throughout the entire state of Montana, not just one community here and there. The foundation is comprised of more than 560 philanthropic funds that are used to administer grants to nonprofit partners and causes throughout Montana. The foundation connects donors throughout the state and raises awareness for both state and local issues. Affiliate local community foundations are located in 45 Montana cities and towns, making the MCF the largest community foundation in the state.

The Montana Community Foundation has fed my addiction to philanthropic work over the past five years. The strong relationship that the foundation has with donors, organizations and communities allow for development of not only philanthropy but communities and the state as a whole. Ever since my high school wrestling experience, I have understood the concept that philanthropy matters to a variety of people on a variety of levels. Examples of the many causes the MCF has impacted include the promotion of education through student scholarships or one of the 300 nonprofit affiliations the foundation has.

The foundation allows me to continually work with people who are truly passionate about their chosen cause and community. I find comfort in being able to ensure that people’s hard-earned money is going directly to the charity or organization or cause or community of their choice.

Along with continuing to grow and make Montana a better place to live and work, the Montana Community Foundation has achieved a significant accomplishment this year. The foundation has announced the hiring of Mary Rutherford as its chief executive officer. Rutherford brings nearly 20 years of experience in philanthropic leadership to the MCF. Her most notable position was as president of the

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$300 million University of Alaska Foundation. A fifth-generation Idahoan, Rutherford brings an understanding of rural life to her role at the MCF.

We are delighted to bring Mary Rutherford’s passion, experience and track record to the Montana Community Foundation and know she will work tirelessly to further the foundation’s mission. Alongside the foundation’s board, Rutherford will have no problem furthering the culture of giving in our state.

All of us at the MCF look forward to a visionary future, with Rutherford’s help. We hope to be able to strengthen relationships with other community foundations, donors and nonprofits and continue to build a successful future for all of Montana.

Dale Woolhiser, a native of Miles City, is first vice president of investments with UBS Financial Services in Missoula. He is a founding board member and president of the Missoula Community Foundation and is on the board of the Montana Community Foundation.

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