Anyone can be a Philanthropist

Friday Oct. 31st, 2014

When you think of the word “philanthropy” – what is the first thought that comes to mind? Warren Buffett or Bill Gates? If so, you’re not alone.

Traditionally, the word “philanthropy” has created images in our head of powerful billionaires or world leaders donating millions of dollars to causes around the world. However, times are changing and we are living in a new era of philanthropy in which anyone can be a philanthropist.

As the saying goes, while no one can do everything, we can all do something -- and together, small actions can add up to big impact. At the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, we believe that every community member can be a philanthropist by giving of their time, talents or resources to benefit causes that matter most to them in the Bozeman area. Giving looks different for each one of us at different stages of life.

Since 1998, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation has been connecting people of all ages who care to causes that matter in the Gallatin Valley. Since our inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $173,000 in grants to over 75 nonprofit organizations across all sectors in our community. In addition to our grant funding, the Community Foundation is building nonprofit capacity and helping people give more effectively to causes that spark their passion.

For those of us lucky enough to call Gallatin County home, we all benefit from our strong nonprofit sector. In the Gallatin County alone, there are over 500 registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations who are doing invaluable work in our community. According to a recent economic impact study of the nonprofit sector in Gallatin County conducted by the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District – over $1.1 billion dollars flows in and out of the nonprofit sector each year and provides over 5,000 jobs for our local economy. Nonprofit organizations are a big economic force in our community!

With such a large nonprofit sector in Gallatin County – sometimes it is hard to know how to have the greatest impact on causes that matter the most to you and your family. How do you choose which organization to give to? How do you know what volunteer opportunity will have the most impact?

This year, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation is partnering with the Women’s Foundation of Montana to engage our community in a year-long conversation series about giving called Inspiring Community Philanthropy.
This series is designed to help individuals and families at any stage in life learn how to be more effective philanthropists. The series events include monthly interactive community conversations by engaging panelists and
community experts at the Beall Park Center
(415 N. Bozeman Ave.).

Upcoming series topics include:

• November 11th - Leave a Legacy in Your Community: Ways to Plan your Giving to Make the Greatest Impact

• January 6th - Purpose - Driven Philanthropy: Finding Focus in Your Giving

• February 3rd - Raising Kids that Give Back: Fun Ways to Nurture a Culture of Philanthropy in your Home

• March 3rd – Give Greater Meaning to Your Work: Why Philanthropy is Good for Business

• April 7th – Choosing Organizations: What You Need To Know Before You Give

These events are all free and open to the public. Refreshments are served at 6:30pm and the presentations follow at 7pm. Each session is designed to help inspire you to give of your time, talents and resources in new and innovative ways that make a big impact.

When you think about your giving in our community - what do you care about in your community? What do you dream about for this place you call “home” today
and for your grandchildren? How can you be a philanthropist to causes that you care about most in our community?

Let’s explore these questions together this year. Join us for our upcoming session on Tuesday, Nov. 11th!    

For more information, please contact Bridget Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, at or at 406-587-6262.