Central Montana Foundation awards over $120K in grants to local projects

Over 90 people attended the Central Montana Foundation’s annual meeting at the Elks Club recently. Over $120,000 in grants were awarded to Central Montana organizations and non-profits during the meeting.

Photo courtesy of Kari Mantooth


The Central Montana Foundation held its annual meeting May 22 and before the Board of Directors left the Elks Clubhouse, they had awarded major grants ($5,000+) to 11 local organizations and minor grants (requests under $5,000) to four organizations, for a total of $121,409 in grant awards.


Major grant awards

A portion of earnings from the Mildred Bryte endowment is used to fund major grant requests of $5,000 or more at the annual meeting. This year’s successful major grant recipients include:

• Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown, $10,000: The grant will assist with expenses of the Summer Safari Program, serving more than 200 club members during the summer months.

• Central Montana Medical Center-EMS, $14,682: The CMF grant will be used to purchase a chest compression system. Studies show that for CPR to be effective it must be done consistently with adequate depth of compression and a sustained rate. EMS Director Rick Poss said there is one chest compression system on CMMC’s primary 911 ambulance and using it has already saved three lives. Having a second system will allow use on 911 calls that occur simultaneously.

• Central Montana Medical Center, Obstetrics, $14,725: Grant funds from CMF will be used for the purchase of a new fetal monitor, used during labor to monitor maternal contractions and fetal heart rate. The monitor currently in use is 15 years old and outdated. The new monitor has enhanced maternal monitoring features and makes the fetal heartbeat easier to trace.

• Montana Wrestling Club, $10,602: The mat currently in use by the Central Montana Wrestling Club is at least 25 years old. The CMF grant will be used to purchase a new, light-weight mat, which allows for easier moving, set up, tear down and storage, and has higher safety standards. 

• Cheadle Fire Department, $10,000: The Cheadle Fire Department is working to upgrade its brush fire trucks and the CMF grant will be used toward the purchase of a new truck. The Cheadle fleet currently consists of 1969 and 1971 model brush trucks.

• Fergus/Petroleum County 4-H Council, $10,000: The CMF grant will help purchase new pens for the swine, sheep and goats. Darren Crawford spoke about the project and said they’ve been at or above full capacity for several years. He said the new system will optimize pen size to allow the addition of 30 new pens in the same space.

• Hobson Pool, $10,000: CMF’s grant will be used to help replace the 50-year-old sand filter for the Hobson swimming pool. The old filter has massive internal corrosion problems and its failure would necessitate closing the pool. 

• Judith Basin County Fair Board, $10,000: CMF Directors committed funds to help with construction costs of a new barn to hold sheep and small animal projects. Katherine Hatlelid of the Judith Basin County Fair Board said they have 89 members in 4-H, involving youth and adults in the Judith Basin area, and their fairgrounds are filled to capacity. The addition of the barn will help accommodate the 4-Hers who want to bring an animal project to the fair.

• Lewistown Eagles Manor, $5,000: CMF granted funds to help this non-profit retirement home purchase new tables and chairs for use by its 43 residents. The existing equipment was acquired in 1971 and has become a safety hazard. 

• Make It Happen, $10,000: The CMF grant will help construct the Big Spring Skatepark which will offer a 10,000 sq. ft. outdoor concrete skating facility for use by skateboarders, scooters, roller blades and bikes. The skate park is under construction at Symmes Park.

•Stanford Library Guild, Inc., $5,000: The Judith Basin County Free Library expansion project is underway and CMF Directors committed funds to help purchase wood and steel library shelving.


Minor grants

Requests under $5,000 (minor grants) are considered monthly by CMF Directors. Grant recipients at the regular CMF Board meeting held May 22 include:

• Winnett School, $2,500: The CMF grant will help Winnett School with the purchase of a complete volleyball system with standards and permanent ground sleeves in the gym floor. The school currently uses a portable system, which necessitates tying the poles to the walls and bleachers for support. The new system includes two complete net systems that can be installed lengthwise in the gym to accommodate PE classes, in addition to the traditional volleyball court setup.

• Committee for Public Art in Central Montana, $1,500: CMF’s grant will be used to restore the artwork on the traffic signal boxes on Main Street in Lewistown. Local students’ artwork has decorated the traffic signal boxes since 2014, but in 2016, the boxes were removed during extensive street work. New traffic signal boxes have been installed and this project restores the students’ artwork.

• Petroleum County Ambulance, $4,900: CMF granted funds to help with the purchase of a Stryker Power Load Fastener System to replace the ambulance service’s current antler style fastener which no longer meets the state recommendations based on crash test data. The Petroleum County Ambulance is a volunteer service with 12 women and three men. The new power load system will reduce possibility of injury to the crew as they won’t have to manually lift the gurney, and will improve patient care, as one person can run the gurney while other EMTs can continue care.

• Fergus/Judith Basin 4-H, $2,500: The 2017 State 4-H Horse Show will be held at the Fergus County Fairgrounds. The CMF grant will help with the expenses of bringing the three-day event to the community. The horse show brings about 150 riders, horses and families, support staff and spectators to the community. The event is hosted by Judith Basin and Fergus County Extension Offices.

The 2017 CMF Annual Meeting was attended by nearly 90 people. CMF President Dean Comes, CMF Executive Director Carrie Mantooth and Certified Public Account Mickey McMillan gave reports on 2016 activities. One of CMF’s founders, Fred Schell, also spoke to the crowd about his desire to see more donors to CMF and the role CMF Directors and finance professionals have in encouraging people to give to CMF.

CMF is the umbrella 501(c)(3) that holds pass through accounts and permanent endowments for local not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations. By the end of 2016, CMF’s unrestricted assets combined with the pass through and permanent accounts held for other organizations totaled $21,944,844. In 2016, more than $800,000 in contributions were given to CMF. Total income for the year was $958,580, including interest and dividend income, rental income, partnership income and realized capital gains.

CMF has 10 unrestricted endowments, which are used for its grant program. The principal remains intact and only the dividends and income spent. In 2016, CMF approved 38 grant requests at its monthly meetings totaling nearly $215,000. Comes noted that requests totaled $360,000, so the CMF Directors are forced to make tough decisions on how to allocate grants from a limited pool of money.

 Mantooth paid tribute to two long-time advocates of CMF that had passed on in 2016. George Mueller died at the age of 94 and was a major supporter of CMF and other area non-profits during his lifetime. He also set up a Charitable Remainder Uni-Trust in 2000 that names CMF, the Lewistown Library and Central Montana Shrine Club as beneficiaries. Elliot Landheim was a member of the Fergus County High School Class of ’35 and died at the age of 99. This class has one of the largest scholarship funds with CMF and this year alone will award $33,000 in scholarships to Fergus High School graduating senior and post-graduates. Both men were former recipients of the CMF Friend of the Foundation award.

CMF presented Friend of the Foundation awards to John Carlson and Shirley Barrick. 

Carlson is a former CMF Director who later became CMF’s Financial Advisor when he opened Linsco Private Ledger, now LPL Financial. He sold LPL and retired in December and was honored for his integrity and commitment to CMF. 

Shirley Barrick was honored for her decades of service to CMF’s Scholarship Program. She has been instrumental in improving the CMF and Central Montana Scholarship Clearinghouse and has faithfully read and scored scholarship applications for many years.


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