Connecting the Dots - Building Resilient Communities

Join us for the 9th Annual Community Foundation Convening!

September 17th & 18th
Old Roosevelt Building
Red Lodge, Montana


Whether it be learning about transitioning economies or how to utilize Brownfield grants, this convening is designed to provide tools for community leaders to build resilient communities. This year features sessions centered around community and economic development, breakout sessions focused on organizational capacity, and a new platform for exchanging knowledge and ideas.

Mark Haggerty 

Many Montana communities are currently facing economic transitions. Is your community foundation ready to be a community leader in that transition? Mark will share economic and community development strategies that help your community plan and create a positive outlook for resilience. He will build a learning framework that includes Montana communities currently in economic transitions and will help us think about what makes communities ready for their futures. Mark applies economic and fiscal data to real-world land-use and development challenges. He has experience as a researcher, trainer, and facilitator in western communities with an emphasis on land use and community planning. Mark holds a B.A. in economics and M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado.

Jason Seyler

Does your community have a retired gas station downtown that you think would be the perfect spot for.... (fill in the blank). Do you know how your community can take advantage of the Brownfields program through Montana DEQ? Jason will provide a "Brownfields 101" session for community foundation leaders wanting to utilize new tools to revitalize their community.

Jason Seyler is the Brownfields Coordinator for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Jason enjoys finding creative solutions for nonprofits, local communities, businesses, and developers to assess and clean up contamination at underutilized or blighted properties throughout Montana. Jason has served with DEQ for 13 years and has successfully assisted with the cleanup and revitalization of properties that are typically considered too challenging for redevelopment. Jason has a M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Colorado School of Mines, a B.S. in Environmental Science from James Madison University and has served Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Liz Moore

Liz joined the Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA) as Executive Director in 2011. With almost 700 members, MNA leverages the voice of its members to promote a strong nonprofit sector throughout the state – one with the resources needed for success, the relationships necessary to create a positive operating environment, and a high level of recognition and celebration for the many contributions nonprofits make to Montana’s people and communities.
Prior to joining MNA, Liz worked for the Rocky Mountain Development Council, a community action agency serving south-central Montana, for 16 years. During that time she was also a founding board member for Family Promise of Greater Helena and served on the board of ExplorationWorks!, a museum of science and culture located in Helena. She served on the Region III Disability Services QIC Editorial Board, the Montana Continuum of Care Coalition, the Montana NAMIWalk Steering Committee, The Montana Behavioral Initiative (MBI) Council, Montana Children’s Bill of Rights Task Force, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction Comprehensive System for Professional Development Council. She currently serves on the National Council of Nonprofits Board of Directors, where she chairs the Public Policy Committee.
Liz grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana and has lived in the mountains of western Montana since 1984. She is committed to Montana’s wellbeing, and has an abiding belief in the central role nonprofits play in the last best place. Liz graduated from Carroll College in Helena in 1991 and in 2011 earned a Masters of Nonprofit Management Degree from Regis University in Denver. Music, flyfishing, good books, snapping photos and indulging in great conversation keep her feet on the ground most days.

Kelli Roemer

Kellie Roemer is a Ph.D. student in Earth Sciences at Montana State University. She has served two AmeriCorps member terms in Helena, Montana and Lakeview, Oregon. This work inspired her research interests in natural resource management, energy planning, and rural community development. Kelli has an M.S. (2017) in natural resources from the University of Idaho; and her B.S. (2012) in resource conservation from University of Montana.

Tracy Timmons

Tracy Timmons is a Montana native. Tracy worked her way through college, taking every writing, business management and art classes that she could, while employed in operations of a local bank. She pursued a corporate career in Spokane, WA, serving in every operational capacity before being selected to facilitate cross functional management training to Teamsters, Managers, and Support Staff, in the Pacific Northwest & Canada. When she and her husband Dustin started a family, she transferred back to Montana, where she was promoted into sales and successfully developed four new company territories in Billings, Great Falls, (MT) Cheyenne and Casper (WY). 

On her oldest daughter’s first day of school, she left her corporate position and joined the Parent Teachers Association. 22 years later, Nonprofit work has been her passion. Tracy served the PTA, Roberts School board, Roberts Community Foundation, Rock Creek Ranchers 4-H club, creating the clubs first youth leadership team, still going strong 15 years later. In 2001, realizing that the greatest need in her very small rural community was funding, she volunteered and trained in grant writing/management and successfully generated $1.5 million in grants for the school playground, library, fire hall, and the community’s wastewater system. 

Tracy was then hired as the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation’s first staff person, to further develop the annual Fun Run for Charities, which has generated over $2.3 million for over 50 charities in the first 14 years. Two years later she became the Executive Director. Immediately she successfully requested to have a $340,000 building donated to the Foundation, now called the Nonprofit Shared Services Center, that operates as a meeting, staffing and back office services center for over 55 local nonprofits. She’s worked within the community to grow the Foundation’s balance sheet from $80K to $1.2M in under 7 years, grew staffing from 1.0 FTE to 6 FTE. She now leads the Foundation in development of many other facets of community development, through collaboration and networking. The largest, the Old Roosevelt project, with well-developed plans of creating a $15M indoor, outdoor facility renovation for an Arts & Culture, Conference, Reception Center that will deepen the community’s cultural roots while providing significant economic opportunities for arts, Main street, and the community.


Monday, September 17

2:00 - 3:00 pm Registration

3:00 - 5:00 pm
Pre-Convening Retreat: Governance Matters: Making your board better!
Liz Moore, Montana Nonprofit Association

You signed onto leadership with your community foundation because you care about your community, but what happens next?

Join us as we delve into the unique (and complex) leadership role Community Foundation boards and advisory councils play as we guide efforts towards its priorities! Liz will help us explore several aspects of leadership including:

• Focus: Keeping the big picture front and center while managing the day-to-day details. 
• Know what problem you're solving: How to ask the right questions before jumping into action. 
• Bringing new people on the Board/Advisory Council: It's tough everywhere, and especially in rural Montana 
• Effectively using committees and calendars to fuel your leadership efforts 
• The legal ins and outs: a high level look at how to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations that impact your work 

This pre-convening session is geared to volunteer board, advisory council and staff members. Liz will provide concrete tools, strategies, resources and practice opportunities to equip you for your leadership role. Come ready to work and leave with a set of steps you can take immediately to ramp up your community foundation's effectiveness.

5:00 pm
Social and Networking 

6:00 pm
Hosted Dinner

Join colleagues from across the state to discuss some of our work’s most challenging issues. Join a casual conversation regarding a topic of your choosing. When is it the “right” time to add staff? How do we build our board with fresh voices? How do we involve the community in our granting process? Join us for this MCF hosted dinner and deeply connect community foundation partners in other Montana communities.

Tuesday, September 18 

7:30 am

8:00 - 8:15 am Breakfast and Opening Remarks
Mary Rutherford, Montana Community Foundation
Peter Fox, Chair of Advisory Committee

8:15 - 9:15 am
Engaging Strategies for Community Betterment
Community Foundation Panel

Limited resources, endless needs. How do we choose what needle to move? This panel conversation will talk about our role in community leadership. Our communities face unique challenges and it can sometimes be difficult to know which project is the best place for our community foundation’s efforts. Is it revitalizing downtown, creating a scholarship program, or starting a nonprofit café? Should we focus on community and economic development or creating a strong community four our youth?

9:15 - 9:30 am

9:30 - 11:00 am
Group Session 1: Economic Trends, Tools, and Opportunities for Community Foundations
Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics

As Montana's economic geography and opportunities continue to change, Community Foundations have an expanding role to play in helping local governments, businesses, the not for profit sector, and individuals adapt and succeed. The state's cities are growing on the strength of new high-wage services jobs, amenity migration, and related construction activity, but face challenges related to housing affordability, growing wage disparities, and access to health and human services. Rural areas risk being left out amid the shift toward services industries and productivity gains and restructuring in traditional sectors, including energy. Fiscal policy is an overlooked yet essential element shaping the outcomes and responses to these challenges and opportunities. 

Mark will provide background information on current economic and fiscal trends in Montana. Mark also will demonstrate several free and open-source tools including Headwaters Economics Economic Profile System (EPS) and Populations at Risk (PAR) tools. These tools use data from federal sources (Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.) to produce detailed socioeconomic profiles on 14 topics (e.g. economic trends, demographics, land use, county payments) for any geography in the U.S. Finally, Mark will lead a facilitated discussion about the challenges and opportunities for community foundations across the state. Attendees will leave with new ideas, new resources, and new relationships to bring home and share with their communities. 

11:00 - 11:15 am

11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Group Session 2: Think, Pair, Share
Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics

We will grapple with realities that may be new to us in the morning session. What implications do these economic shifts have for work in philanthropy? How will our community foundation respond to the need of leadership? Do we have collective ideas of how our sector can help our community be ready for our next challenge? Mark will facilitate large group conversation, through the focused use of technology, to arrive at a few proposed outcomes.

12:15 - 1:15 pm

From Dreams to Reality: How the Roosevelt Building became a Red Lodge Area Community Foundation Project
Tracy Timmons, Red Lodge Area Community Foundation

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation embarked on a new endeavor in June of 2017: Restore, Reuse, Revitalize the Old Roosevelt School Building into a arts, culture, performance, reception, conference, education and community gathering spaces, providing both indoor and outdoor venues, for people to interact, converse, celebrate and express themselves. The Red Lodge community identified this venue because it currently lacks adequately sized downtown community spaces for people to meet and engage with one another. The Foundation will not create its own programming within the building. The Foundation plans to stimulate programming through existing, expansion and new organization startup endeavors. Old Roosevelt will also serve as a new business startup incubator thereby becoming and economic catalyst for Main Street. We are developing the project in collaborative ways to expand and support all businesses in Red Lodge. 

1:30 - 2:30 pm
Group Session 3: Brownfields 101: How to utilize Brownfields grants to revitalize areas in your town
Jason Seyler, Brownfields Coordinator for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality

The DEQ’s Brownfields Program works with communities to identify, investigate, cleanup and redevelop blighted and underutilized properties throughout Montana. Brownfield sites vary in size, location, and age; they can be anything from an immense closed industrial facility to a small corner gas station. Left unaddressed, Brownfields pose aesthetic, environmental, and/or financial burdens on their communities. However, these sites can again become the powerful engines for economic vitality, jobs, and community pride as they are often in excellent locations for reuse. Jason will introduce the Brownfields Program and provide examples of how Montana communities have successfully utilized the various Brownfields tools to turn public eyesores into community assets.

Brownfields Partners Webpage

2:30 - 2:40 pm

2:45 - 3:45 pm
Group Session 4: Getting to the Shared Vision: Conversations for your community's future
Kelli Roemer, Jackson Rose, MSU Department of Earth Science

Join in a discussion to identify common challenges and opportunities in resource communities and gain from shared experiences. While each community is unique, we can all learn from each other and the ways in which we've overcome challenges and seized opportunities. What role does a community foundation play in this? What role does your community foundation play in your unique community and what can others learn from that experience?

3:45 - 4:30 pm
Closing Session


Montana Community Foundation

33 S. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 2A
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-8313 (406) 443-8313
Email MCF

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