Helena Area Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports the following issues in Helena, Montana, and surrounding areas: arts and culture, basic community needs, economic development, education, health services, historic preservation, land and environmental conservation, and youth.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, basic community needs, economic development, education, health services, historic preservation, land and environmental conservation, youth

IP TAKE: Grants from this foundation tend to be small, but they also address rural needs around Helena. Pretty much any local nonprofit need is considered.

PROFILE: The Helena Area Community Foundation (HACF) serves the community needs in Helena, Montana, and environs. They award grants from a permanent endowment to projects and nonprofits. An affiliate foundation of the Montana Community Foundation, HACF was established in 1994 as the Lewis & Clark County Community Foundation. 

In a recent 15-year period, the foundation awarded over $200,000 to more than 125 local nonprofits. Grantees include the Helena YWCA, Augusta Volunteer Ambulance Service, Lincoln Public Schools, and Helena Food Share. Grants have gone to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Helena, Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Non-Profits, and Florence Crittenton Home. A list of past grants by year can be viewed here. A few years ago, HACF established a Give Local campaign to help nonprofits use social media to engage donors and find support.

Grantmaking interests are arts and culture, basic community needs, economic development, education, health services, historic preservation, land and environmental conservation, and youth. To be eligible for a grant, organizations must benefit the citizens of Helena or the surrounding rural areas.

The foundation’s investment policy is to distribute inflation plus 5.5 percent of the average daily endowment balance over the prior three years as calculated on December 31. In the past, the application window has been mid-January to mid-March, with funding announcements in April. Other distributions have been made once per year in February. Most grants have been between $200 to $1,000, however, some have run as high as $10,000. Annual reports can be reviewed here.

Ann Waickman is the executive director and can be reached at Helenaareacf@gmail.com and 406-441-4955. Waickman was executive director of Helena Food Share before joining the foundation. There do not appear to be other full-time staff members at HACF. Jason B. Jewett is the chair of the board of directors here. The foundation mailing address is P.O. Box 92, Helena, Montana 59624.

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