The Helena Area Community Foundation was started in December 1994 under the under the legal and administrative umbrella of the Montana Community Foundation (MCF)as the Lewis and Clark Community Foundation serving residents of Lewis and Clark County. MCF was established in the late 1980s and its formative years generated energy in local communities all over Montana. Ultimately, that energy resulted in the formation of nearly 90 local community foundations that virtually cover the map of Montana. MCFs volunteers and staff, supported by significant grants from the Ford Foundation and other national foundations, worked to create and nurture many of those local community foundations.
In 2001, under the dynamic leadership of Lizzie Schueler and other leaders, HACF was restructured to incorporate as a Montana nonprofit corporation and obtain its own tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. Since then, HACF has been awarding grants to local nonprofits and engaged in other community-building activities. As the Foundation grew, it became clear in 2013 that the residents who call this area home extend beyond the reaches of the County and include Northern Jefferson County and Western Broadwater County. Thus, the Foundation became the Helena Area Community Foundation.
HACF Innovators, Advisors, and Leaders:
The Foundation owes its start to Steve Browning and other community leaders who had a vision that our local community foundation would ultimately provide a stable source of permanent funding for the non-profit organizations that serve the people of the communities in the Helena area.
Steve was gracious to make a video recalling the history of HACF.