NET WORTH: $315 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: RightNow Technologies
FUNDING AREAS: Jobs, Education & Family; Christian Outreach; Local Arts and Culture; Protecting and Valuing the Vulnerable
OVERVIEW: The Gianforte Family Foundation was established in 2006 by Gianforte and his wife Susan. The foundation supports "faith-based organizations engaged in outreach work, strengthening families, and helping the needy." It also supports other Montana organizations in areas like education and entrepreneurship. Gianforte donated $8 million to Montana State University. The foundation has a strong web presence with clear grant guidelines.
BACKGROUND: Greg Gianforte graduated wtih a B.E. in electrical engineering and an M.S. in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. He began his career in 1983 at Bell Labs. Gianforte and his wife Susan moved to Montana in the 1990s and the couple founded RightNow Technologies, a customer relations management software company that sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion in 2012. Gianforte is also the founder of the Bozeman Technology Incubator, and is a Montana Congressman.
JOBS, EDUCATION & FAMILY: Over the years, the Gianforte Family Foundation has made more than $33 million in grants through this funding priority, the foundation's largest. Grantees range from local to international, and advocate for issues like "quality education, economic improvement, and traditional family values." A sampling of grantees includes ACE Scholarships in Denver, Colorado, a nonprofit focused on low-income scholarships and school choice programs; Association of Classical Christian Schools; Cornell University (Susan's alma mater); University of Montana; Montana Family Institute; and Montana Shakespeare in the Schools. The foundation also recently donated $8 million to Montana State University, to be disbursed over five years; the donation will create a $5 million endowment for the university’s computer science department.
CHRISTIAN OUTREACH/DISCIPLESHIP: The foundation also supports organizations that "minister the Christian faith by sharing the gospel, providing discipleship, and supplying faith-based resources to individuals and families." Grantees have included Adventures in Missions, an interdenominational missions organization that focuses on discipleship; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Grace Bible Church in Montana and the Vineyard Church of Ithaca.
BOZEMAN ARTS AND CULTURE: The Gianfortes via their foundation also support local arts and culture organizations in their community. Grantees have included American Computer Museum, Gallatin Historical Society, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and Montana TheatreWorks.
VALUING AND PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE: Grantees have included Asian Youth Ministries, Intermountain Children's Home, Uganda Orphans Fund, Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, and Students for Life of America (SFLA), "one of the nation’s most active pro-life organizations and the largest youth pro-life organization."
LOOKING FORWARD: Since the foundation was established last decade, it has made around $52 million in grants. While Gianforte's philanthropy has sometimes been met with controversy, expect the couple to continue to strongly support their established interest areas.