We only fund Montana-based organizations. Montana-based organizations that are eligible to apply for funding include:

  • Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (excluding those classified as private foundations or any type III non-functionally integrated supporting organization under section 509(a) of the Code)
  • Tax-exempt educational institutions
  • State, tribal, or local government agencies

NOTE: Eligible applicants may use a portion of the budget to fund consultants that may not meet these eligibility criteria. Please refer to our Grantee FAQs for more information on eligibility.

Selection Criteria: What We Fund

We review each proposal that we receive according to the following criteria. We recognize that each proposal reflects a unique set of needs and challenges: reviewers apply these criteria holistically as a lens to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and potential challenges with every proposal.

  • Importance of health issue to be addressed: The proposed project will address an important health issue, as defined by the prevalence in the population, severity of the outcomes, and costs to families and communities.
  • Need: The grant will fill a need that cannot be met by other resources available in the community(ies) served.
  • Sustainability: A short-term grant investment will catalyze improvements that endure long after the grant funding runs out. When funding will be used to establish or support new programming, the strongest proposals will demonstrate a clear, feasible plan to sustain the programming through third-party reimbursement or shared savings within the health care system.
  • Creating partnerships: The proposed project will create or advance new and substantive partnerships that result in more efficient and effective use of resources, and collaboration between organizations that may not typically work together, such as healthcare providers (hospitals, clinics, behavioral health treatment centers), public health (local or tribal health departments), and other organizations (such as community developers, county sheriffs, or schools). The strongest proposals will include specific plans for involvement of and collaboration with and among the major health resources in the community.
  • Focus on at-risk populations and health disparities: The proposed project will serve a region or population of high need, as measured by the existence of health disparities, poor access to healthcare, health professional staffing shortages, geographic remoteness, or other factors clearly described in the proposal. Health disparities are defined as the higher rates of illness experienced by certain populations, including socially or economically disadvantaged families, racial and ethnic minorities, children, and older adults. In all our initiatives, MHCF seeks to decrease health disparities—and to improve health and well-being among those at greatest risk.
  • Solutions exist: Effective, evidence-based interventions exist to address the problem but are not already being implemented.
  • Workable in Montana and culturally appropriate: Infrastructure, community support, and strong partners exist to implement the intervention; the intervention is tailored to work well within the community(ies) that will be served.
  • Feasibility and scale: There is a high probability that this MHCF investment will lead to success.  The strongest proposals will also have a high potential for being replicated successfully in other communities. The dollar amount of the proposed project budget is appropriate to the scale and complexity of the project.
  • Contribution to a diverse grantee portfolio: MHCF seeks to support a range of projects across Montana. We recognize that preparing a high-quality grant application may be more difficult for smaller communities that lack staff and resources. We may give preference to proposals based on their contribution to the overall diversity and balance of our portfolio, and to proposals from regions with the greatest demonstrated need.
  • Involving stakeholders and community members: The proposed project includes a strong plan to ensure that community members and other stakeholders are engaged and included in the work.
  • Collaboration with tribal leadership: Projects that involve a substantial focus on American Indian populations must demonstrate collaboration with the appropriate tribal health authorities, such as the relevant tribal council(s), the health directors of the relevant tribes, or the relevant urban Indian health centers.

NOTE: The MHCF Board of Trustees reserves discretion to consider factors not described above when approving or rejecting grants.

What We Do Not Fund

We do not fund: 

  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns
  • Operating deficits or retirement of debt
  • Construction projects, real estate acquisitions, or endowments unless part of an MHCF-invited proposal
  • Fundraising events
  • Organizations that discriminate because of race, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, age, or political orientation
  • Lobbying as defined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC), section 4945(d)(1)
  • Activities supporting political candidates or voter registration drives as defined in IRC section 4945(d)(2)
  • Large equipment purchases (for example: medical equipment, vans, etc.), where such purchases constitute a substantial portion of the grant budget.
  • Medical research or research lacking a direct, targeted, and practical benefit to Montanans’ health
  • Organizations or foundations for redistribution of funds via sub-grants

In addition, please note that MHCF funds may not be used in any way that might supplant government funding of existing programs. All applicants must read our Guidelines on Supplanting.