Foundation History

The Billings Community Foundation is an innovative community foundation promoting philanthropy and charitable giving in the Greater Yellowstone Valley. As a ‘regional community foundation’, our service encompasses many highly rural communities of south-central and south eastern Montana located in Yellowstone, Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Treasure, Bighorn, Carbon, Stillwater, and Fergus County. Our clients include community funds throughout this service area, as well as numerous nonprofits and philanthropic minded individuals.

The predecessor to the Billings Community Foundation was the Greater Yellowstone Region Committee (GYR) of the Montana Community Foundation (MCF). When the MCF board reorganized its regional structure and closed its Billings office in 2006, it was agreed that members of the GYR committee would form a separate Foundation to promote philanthropy and distribute grants from the MCF Matthews Dousman Endowment. This endowment, with a value close to $400,000, came from a unitrust previously established at the MCF for the benefit of the Greater Yellowstone Region.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the Billings Community Foundation has distributed over $431,000 in grants to more than 90 non-profits in the Yellowstone Valley area region, and the number of grants funded into the community by new BCF assets continues to grow! In 2018, BCF awarded more than $96,000 to 22 different non-profits in our region to support their mission, programming, and services!

In addition to grant making activities, the Billings Community Foundation partners with area non-profits to provide workshops, help clients utilize the MT Charitable Income Tax Credit, establishes endowments, manages Donor Advised Funds, Community Funds, and much more while offering consultations upon request!

Annually, the Billings Community foundation engages in the GIVE LOCAL initiative taking place simultaneously in communities across the country by hosting a ‘giving day’ in our community. Yellowstone Valley Gives is a powerful 24 hour “Crowdfunding” event that embraces new technologies to provide a quick, easy, and fun way for the public to support non-profits in our area. Last year, our community came together to raise over $190,000.00 for area non-profits and provided the necessary funds to help them meet their mission and support programming in the Greater Yellowstone Valley!

Since hiring our first Executive Director in 2017, the Foundation has been actively pursuing other ways to respond to the unique needs of our community and through that we’ve established two additional programs – 1. The Billings Leadership Network at RMC is in its first full year pilot and is focused on providing students with mentors and connections in the community through the Chambers NextGEN Young Professional group and also pairing with more seasoned Community Leaders who work in the student’s field of interest. 2. The Billings Project for Nonprofit Excellence is a capacity building program for non-profits who are ready to take the next step in their organizations development and is focused on in depth assessments and reflection to identify a project goal and then awards a $5,000 grant to take on that project.

The Billings Community Foundation’s vision is to continue providing leadership, promoting opportunities, and encouraging collaboration for regional non-profits, individuals and businesses for the mutual benefit of the Yellowstone Valley.