Learning Lessons from Missoula’s Philanthropists

Missoula has a solid history of charitable giving. From the Talbots, to the Washingtons, to Rosemary Gallagher, the kind hearts of Missoula’s businesses have fostered a giving spirit that has contributed to the 61% rise in Montana charitable grants over the past two years. Whether that’s through outright giving, community initiatives, or funding projects, businesses have long led the way for Montana charity.

There a wide-range of benefits gained through pushing philanthropy. Businesses have a lot to gain from supporting the local community and Missoula’s flourishing creative industry. These benefits extend beyond the good reputation and happy faces philanthropy installs.

The creative arts 

Missoula has long been a hotbed for creativity. Film stars have been created in the city since the early 1900s, and one of the nation’s great directors, David Lynch, is a prodigal son of the city. Appropriately enough, David Lynch has used the creative industries to support philanthropy, funding initiatives into mental wellbeing. Where does this help business? Investor Elliott Broidy has made frequent forays into film producing. According to Broidy on his social media pages, entrepreneurial influence in the arts allows for marginalized groups to find representation and – crucially – raise funds for good causes. The knock on effect for business is an exponential reputational benefit in those communities and wider society.

Upskilling the local populace 

Photo by Remi Walle/Unsplash

According to the Missoulian, Montana is straining under a labor shortage problem, with the workforce aging out naturally and not leaving ample replacements. This is leading to a downfall in businesses, making it all the more crucial to preserve local business. Home ReSource, on Wyoming and Russell, received bespoke new accomodation to run business form as a result of charitable giving by local investment group Berkeley. The result? More opportunities for employment, a wider-ranging business and reputational benefit to Berkeley. Key, though, is the fact that more potential members of the ongoing workforce – and the very people that make the town successful – are being upskilled.

Inspiring the next generation 

Big business can too often be labored with a poor reputation, especially where shady dealings are concerned. Open and transparent businesses, on the other hand, have the opposite effect, providing inspiration to the next generation. This has been seen in Missoula, where a 8 year old boy produced and sold walking sticks donating the entirety of his earnings to charity, ultimately raising over $2,000.

Philanthropy is more than just the business of raising dollars for those less fortunate. Whilst that’s easily the biggest benefit of the process, businesses stand to gain a lot, too. With perseverance, the next generation will even feel the positive culture.