The Montana Healthcare Foundation makes strategic investments to improve the health and well-being of all Montanans.
The Montana Healthcare Foundation contributes to a measurably healthier state by supporting access to quality and affordable health services, conducting evidence-driven research and analysis, and addressing the upstream influences on health and illness.
At the Montana Healthcare Foundation, we provide funding and leadership to tackle Montana’s toughest health problems. Like many foundations, we make grants; but our approach goes far beyond traditional grantmaking. We bring creativity, discipline, and strategic expertise to the job of improving Montanans’ health. For example, we:
- Convene communities and leaders to find and implement new solutions to persistent health problems.
- Provide technical assistance to help clinics, health departments, and community-based organizations transform their services or create new ones.
- Catalyze new business partnerships that help communities use limited staff and funding more effectively.
- Use rigorous research to find proven programs from other states and put our capital to work to bring those solutions to Montana.
The Montana Healthcare Foundation was created in 2013 as a result of the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. By state law, the assets from this sale were transferred to a charitable trust to be managed for public benefit. We are the state’s largest health-focused, private foundation. As a permanent foundation, we spend the income from trust investments so we can serve as a stable and reliable resource for improving health in the state.
We are honest and principled, both in our stewardship of the MHCF Trust, and in our interactions with grantees, partners, and other stakeholders.
We rely on our professional expertise and community-based data to make productive, strategic investments that improve health.
We are open, consistent, and clear about how we make decisions and manage the Foundation.
We ground our strategy and programming in community engagement and emphasize strong and enduring partnerships with individuals, organizations, agencies, and other funders.
We catalyze significant health improvement by bringing new and innovative ideas to fruition, and we encourage our grantees and partners to do the same.
We understand that social and economic circumstances can create opportunities as well as barriers to health, so we elevate the concerns and priorities of at-risk populations.
We pursue programming that has a measurable effect on health and the determinants of health. We maximize our impact through evaluation, learning from our successes and failures, and improving the quality and effectiveness of our programs.
The MHCF Board of Trustees ensures that the Foundation carries out its operations and programming in a manner that is consistent with the purpose of the trust. Using their knowledge of the state and expertise in a range of disciplines, the trustees establish the Foundation’s policies, goals, and strategy. They also monitor the success of its programming and develop and oversee the implementation of its investment policies.
MHCF manages its trust so that it can serve as a permanent resource for Montana’s health. Grants and other activities are funded based on the annual income of trust investments. IRS regulations require that private foundations use 5% of the value of their restricted assets for grants and related activities each year.
To create our first strategic plan, we consulted with many stakeholders, reviewed extensive research and state health data, and carried out an extensive strategic planning process to identify the important health issues in Montana. The 2015 Strategic Plan describes this process and our initial approach to developing our programming.
The Foundation makes significant investments in each focus area. However, we don’t have a specific, predetermined amount of grant dollars allocated to each area. Instead, we base the allocation of grant dollars on the number, quality, and the need that is demonstrated by the proposals we receive. We seek to support a range of projects across the state and each focus area. We recognize that preparing high-quality grant applications may be more difficult for smaller communities and organizations that lack staff and resources. So, we may give preference to proposals based on their contribution to the overall diversity and balance of our portfolio, and to projects from communities with the greatest demonstrated need.
2020 Year in Review
In our first annual report, you'll find an overview of the progress we've made in each of our priority areas and the strategic approach we too in our response to COVID-19.