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The Billings Community Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt, innovative community foundation governed by local citizens promoting philanthropy and charitable giving.  

Our Mission is: “To help individual donors and charitable organizations
meet the needs of the Greater Yellowstone Region.”

ENDOWMENT CHALLENGE GRANTS


Endowment Challenge Grant| Up to $3000

Obert Undem Community Vitality Endowment Fund - a matching grant initiative designed to build nonprofit capacity and sustainability through establishing or growing endowments at the Billings Community Foundation.

In recognition of over 40 years of advocacy on behalf of community foundation development, half of it in his home state of Montana, the Billings Community Foundation established “The Obert Undem Community Vitality Endowment Fund” in 2014. The fund celebrates Obert’s vision and tireless work on behalf of the Billings Community Foundation, the Montana Community Foundation, and his role as founding trustee and past president of the Arkansas Community Foundation.

This Endowment Challenge Grant is intended to honor and enhance Obert’s fine work by increasing or establishing the permanent endowments of regional nonprofits, creating long-term stability and capturing locally-created wealth for future generations.

Grant recipients will be awarded on September 18th and have until the end of the year to raise matching funds to earn the grant on a 1:2 basis (Each dollar from BCF leverages two additional dollars. For instance, a $3,000 challenge grant would help leverage an additional $6,000, for a total of $9,000 in endowment growth.) The Endowment Challenge Grant and matching funds will be added to the non-profits existing Permanent Endowment fund held at the Billings Community Foundation, or used to establish a new one.

**$6,000 in matching funds must be secured by December 31st, 2019.
**Outright gifts of cash or stock, and Charitable Gift Annuities for the Montana Endowment Tax Credit will be accepted.



Applications for the 2019 Grant Cycle will open on June 1st, 2019 and close on June 30th, 2019.

Eligibility for Guidelines

  • Grants are for 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in Yellowstone, Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Treasure, Bighorn, Carbon, Stillwater, and Ferguson counties. Government entities and religious organizations defined by the IRS in Section 170(c)1 or 170(b)1A are also eligible. All other organizations are required to have a 501c3 fiscal sponsor prior to submitting a grant request.​

  • Applicants must have had their IRS designation for at least three years and be currently governed by a board of directors with a minimum of five members.

  • An organization may submit only one application per grant cycle. The following exceptions and limitations apply:
  1. Fiscal Sponsorships - Organization’s who act as a fiscal sponsor for other projects not directly associated with the organizations programs may submit two proposals per cycle; one for their sponsored program and one for their internal programs.
  2. Public Schools - Individual public schools may apply for support of programs that enhance learning. Title One schools will be given priority. Funding cannot be used to subsidize shortfalls from tax supported levies or core operational funding. Applications are restricted to one per school per grant cycle. The principal’s signature is required on all applications.
  3. Private Schools - K-12 Private schools, defined as tuition based educational institutions, may apply for funding if more than 50% of student body is low income or receives tuition assistance. Tuition assistance is not eligible.
  4. Colleges and Universities - Large organizations with many branches or departments may submit up to two applications from the president’s office. Tuition assistance is not eligible.
  5. City or County Governments - Projects that are essential services provided by government such as infrastructure, administration, or services such as fire & police, are not eligible for funding. However, non-essential, quality of life, community enhancement projects not typically funded through tax dollars may be eligible. Please contact the Foundation before proceeding with an application.
  6. Faith-Based Organizations - Grants will not be made for religious purposes but may be made to faith-based organizations for the non-religious programs offered to the broader community​

  • Grant funds must be expended within one year of the award date.

  • Organizations may submit grant applications every year. However, the Billings Community Foundation will not grant to an organization that has been awarded the previous three consecutive years.​

  • Final grant reports are required to be submitted by the grantees or fiscal sponsors. Organizations that fail to submit final grant report will be ineligible to apply for further funding for a minimum of three years.

Final Grantee Requirements & Reports

Ineligible Grant Requests
*While the Billings Community Foundation remains flexible in meeting community needs, the following grant requests are ineligible for funding:
  • Individuals, including tuition, scholarships or core operating expenses for public schools, charter schools, private schools, or universities and colleges
  • Political and Lobbying activities
  • Debt retirement or budget deficits
  • Annual campaigns, fundraising campaigns or events
  • Religious organizations for religious activities, outreach, or other purpose
  • Purchases or activities that occur prior to grant decisions
  • Large capital projects with unknown completion dates
  • Capital and expendable expenses such as technology, office supplies, etc.
  • Projects deemed controversial or from organizations with pending claims or litigation

Grant Cycle Schedule
June 1 – June 30: Applications open
July 1 – July 31: Grant Committee Evaluation
August 1 – August 16: Donor Advised Fund and Endowment Selections
August 19 – August 23: Grant Recipient Notification
Wednseday, September 18th, 2019: Grant Awards Dinner

Grants Committee
The Grants Committee (5 to 7 persons) is appointed by the executive committee of the Billings Community Foundation Board of Directors on an annual basis. It is comprised of five to seven individuals who are current or past Board Members and Advisory Board Members. These individuals are responsible for scoring each application in accordance with the Foundation’s Grant Policies and Evaluation Criteria.
*Individuals from outside organizations may not participate.

Grant Committee Conflict of Interest
Any Grant Committee member that currently serves on a non-profit board may not vote on the submission of that entity.  In addition, if any committee member that has a personal bias toward any type or individual non-profit they will recuse themselves from evaluating that submission. Each committee member shall report the above to the committee chair prior to scoring.  Final scoring and ranking will then be based on the average of the other committee member’s scores.

Grant Scoring and Awarding
The grants will be awarded by score. This score will be tallied using the average combined scores from each Grant Committee Members.
* The Grants Committee is not required to distribute grants in every priority area.
* The Grants Committee retains the right to deviate from awards based solely on score.

Grant Scoring Values and Evaluation
The Billings Community Foundation Grants Committee uses the following values to assist in their individual scoring of each grant application. Each grant should:
  1. Identify significant needs in the community and the greater Yellowstone Valley Region. Grants should directly impact the community and provide information related to the documented lack of services, unmet need, statistical data, etc.
  2. Benefit the greatest number of people in the most underserved populations.
  3. Have both qualitative and quantitative outcomes for measurement.
  4. Demonstrate a high level of success and completion within the designated 1-year timeframe.