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What People Say About Us
"The integrity, business sense, authenticity, and oversight of BSI brought a major project to bring quality services in early childhood development to Rosebud County through its first year, and into a burgeoning second one, with a bright future ahead."

Ginger Roll, Former Administrator

Rosebud County Health Department

Development of Montana Nonprofit Association (2001 – 2004)  

BSI incubated and staffed the development of the Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA) from its very inception. BSI recruited the initial MNA Organizing Committee, planned and conducted 21 town meetings throughout the state, coordinated the recruitment of over 200 Charter Members, coordinated MNA's first annual membership meeting, developed initial funding and member services, prepared MNA's organizing instruments, including its application for 501(c)(3) status, designed the recruitment process and assisted with the hiring process for MNA's first Executive Director. MNA continued to operate out of BSI's offices until the winter of 2004.    

Local Community Foundation Development <> Lewis & Clark County Community Foundation (2001 – 2009) 

BSI provided an array of incubation and consulting services to the Lewis and Clark County Community Foundation (LCCF) as part of a multi-year plan to increase the organization's capacities and self-reliance BSI provided office space, equipment, phone and ancillary services, including payroll administration for LCCF's part-time Foundation Administrator. BSI assisted in the development of many capacities to aid LCCF's development: an annual business sponsors campaign; development of the Seed Fund, a permanently endowed fund that helps support annual operating expenses; and the Undaunted Endowments program and permanent endowment that supports an annual internship at LCCF with a Carroll College student. The endowment is named for Steve Browning, a prominent Helena attorney and past Board President of the Montana Community Foundation.

Local Community Foundation Development  <>  Park County Community Foundation (2004 – 2007) 

BSI incubated and staffed the development of the Park County Community Foundation (PCCF) and served as its fiscal sponsor. BSI recruited the initial Organizing Committee and worked with community and nonprofit leaders from throughout the county to develop PCCF as a vital philanthropic and capacity building resource to the county's nonprofits. BSI worked with Board leadership to design and execute a successful fundraising program involving  a number of funders making multi-year commitments that enabled PCCF to hire a full-time executive director within three years of the first outreach meeting convened by BSI.   

Local Community Foundation Development  <>  Bozeman Area Community Foundation (2007 – 2008)

Using our work with the Park County Community Foundation as a case study, BSI conducted a training session on local community foundation development with the Board of Directors of the Bozeman Area Community Foundation (BACF) in the fall of 2007. This led to a deeper engagement with the BACF Board during 2008 in which BSI involved the Board in a comprehensive organizational assessment of its capacities and operations. BSI staff assisted the Board in priority setting activities that shaped a Board planning retreat agenda led by BSI that helped BACF develop a one-year plan to guide the organization's future development and growth. 

Guide to Local and County Community Foundations (2007–2008)

The Guide was designed for the professional community of financial advisors in Montana to encourage them to engage their clients to consider leaving a philanthropic legacy for their local communities through planned gifts and bequests to local community foundations. During 2008, BSI retained Turner and Associates to help staff complete research and writing for the publication, and work with the team at Allegra Marketing, Print & Web to design and print the guide. Profiles and contact information were compiled for the 70 local an county community foundations (LCFs) in Montana. Working with professional associations such as the Montana Bar Association, Montana CPA Society and Montana Independent Bankers, over 600 copies of the publication were disseminated to attorneys, CPAs, certified financial planners, bank trust departments, stock firms and life insurance agents. Several hundred copies were also distributed to the 70 LCFs, along with informational materials about using the guide to develop working relationships with the financial advisors in their localities.

Philanthropic Divide Initiative (2001–2010) 

The long range goal of the Philanthropic Divide Initiative is to increase grantmaking from regional and national foundations to nonprofits in the 10 states with the least amount of in-state foundation assets. Historically, the list of Philanthropic Divide states has included Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. BSI works to achieve this goal of increased grantmaking through research, publication, education, coalition building and advocacy.  BSI's pioneering research and findings led to coining the term Philanthropic Divide, which refers to the dramatically increasing gap in foundation assets between those states with the most, and those with the least.

Montana Nonprofit Connections Program (2006–2010)  

BSI's Montana Nonprofit Connections (MNC) Program has developed a very successful program of Assessment Awards and Capacity Project Grant Awards, and associated services and resources, to help 18 nonprofits in Montana strengthen and expand their organizational capacities. A collaborative of four foundations funds the program and has worked in partnership with BSI on its design and implementation, along with Project Director Ned Cooney, founder and owner of Ascent Strategic Development. MNC's Demonstration Phase will end in 2012, leaving in place key foundational building blocks that support a growing array of sub-sector capacity building initiatives.  

Assistance to Other Divide States (2002–2010)

BSI assisted in the start-up of the Wyoming Association of Nonprofits. BSI has shared its research findings and reports about the Philanthropic Divide with philanthropic leaders, state nonprofit associations and other intermediary organizations in the Divide states. BSI conducted trainings and seminars, and given plenary speeches for nonprofit and philanthropic sector gatherings in North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.   

Indian Nonprofit Alliance (2006–2010)

BSI incubated and staffed the early development stages of the Indian Nonprofit Alliance to help in long range goal of this initiative is to increase philanthropic support and provide nonprofit sector development resources for American Indian-controlled nonprofits on Montana's seven Indian reservations and on Wyoming's one Indian reservation, as well as in urban-based Indian communities in both states. An important part of this initiative was to connect the Alliance with Montana and regional foundations. The Alliance subsequently raised funds to hire an executive director.

Montana Early Care Initiative (2009–2012)

BSI's Montana Early Care Initiative's long range goal is to expand the availability and improve the affordability of child care opportunities across the state, and increase resources needed to provide training and technical assistance to child care providers in order to improve the quality of services provided to infants, toddlers, young children and their families. There have been two priority focuses for this initiative. One has been on capacity building for the 11 Child Care Resource and Referral agencies that are the foundational building blocks for Montana's early care and education services delivery system; the other has been outreach and engagement to increase the number of Montana foundations that are making grants to early childhood development in this state.      

In 2012, BSI published Opening the Window of Opportunity: A Report on the Montana Early Care and Education Survey of Funders, presents the findings of a first-ever survey of 190 Montana and regional foundations regarding early care and education. BSI conducted this survey as part of its Montana Early Care Initiative, one goal of which is to encourage enhanced philanthropic support for early care and education. The survey found: Considerable Interest in early care and education; Substantial awareness of the societal importance of early care and education; Widely varying grantmaking experiences in early care and education; Large funders being the most interested and experienced; and, Funders having substantial collective knowledge about early care and education.

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