The Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence – A Collaborative Effort

The Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence (MPNE) is a capacity building grants program being conducted as a pilot in partnership with the Helena-based Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits (BSI). The Missoula Community Foundation is coordinating the MPNE project, and is working with BSI, the Llewellyn Foundation, Oro y Plata Foundation, and Pride Foundation in funding, program design and implementation, including grantee selection and program sustainability. Supplemental funding for MPNE has been provided by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Pleiades Foundation, and Solid Rock Foundation.

The MPNE program originated from a 2008 partnership between Big Sky Institute and a group of Montana Foundations. The groups worked together to collaboratively design an innovative approach to capacity building for rural states like Montana that has limited in-state resources. BSI’s ‘Montana Nonprofit Connections’ program evolved from this work and grew into a multi-year demonstration project that ran three cycles of grant awards to test and enhance the Montana Nonprofit Connections approach, before sunsetting in 2012.

The vision of both the Montana Nonprofit Connections program and the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence is that local organizations will have the unique opportunity to fully recognize and strengthen all areas of growth and sustainability within their organization. It’s a two-fold idea, which utilizes a comprehensive assessment screening tool for the organization to capture areas of strength and weakness. If they are chosen to move on, the grantees work with a consultant to fully address those areas with a leadership team. Following successful completion of an assessment, the organization is invited to apply for funding to support the full capacity building project based on the priorities put forth by the leadership team and the consultant.

Pride Foundation is honored to be a part of this collaboration. In addition to being a funder and a collaborative partner, we bring an LGBTQ-inclusive component to the project. Our hope is that MPNE will allow local Missoula nonprofit organizations the unique opportunity to not only apply for funding, but also to examine their internal structures, design more effective and efficient program operations, all while integrating an LGBTQ non-discrimination policy.

We are excited to see what new opportunities might evolve out of this program and into the Missoula community. For more information on the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence and how to apply click here. The deadline for applications for the first phase of the project is Friday, February 14.

Kim Leighton is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana. Email Kim.



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