Missoula Downtown Foundation

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The Missoula Downtown Foundation (MDF) was created in 2010 to help Downtown Missoula realize its goals and implement the Downtown Master Plan by funding improvement projects through the acquisition of grants and gifts.

MISSION

The MDF exists to support and promote the spirit and heritage of Missoula through cultural, historical and economic enhancement of Downtown Missoula, now and for future generations.

Connecting To A Place

Downtown is a special destination that connects people with the place that brings life and vibrancy to our city.  The Foundation contributes to building that sense of place and community through enhancements.  Recent improvements include installation of pedestrian directional signs, holiday decor electrical upgrades, lighting of the Madison and VanBuren pedestrian bridges, and the Play It Missoula! painted pianos. Projects on the horizon include parking meter public art, information kiosks and a new canopy for the Caras Park Pavilion.

Play It Missoula! Pianos

In partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), the MDF created the Play It Missoula! Piano Project in 2014, placing hand-painted pianos in public spaces throughout Downtown Missoula for all to enjoy.  Painted by local artists in public venues, the MDF has rolled out 7 pianos over the last four years.  Thousands of Missoulians and visitors – including Leonardo DiCaprio – have placed the ivory keys, bringing beautiful music and expressive connections to the heart of the community.

Parking Meter Art Project

When Downtown Missoula's outdated parking meters were removed in 2015, the MIssoula Parking Commission gifted them to the MDF for fundraising and art projects.  The Foundation has generated more than $24,000 for Downtown improvements through meter sales.  Additionally, the MDF has partnered with Arts Missoula and the Missoula Public Art Committee to paint and install public parking meter art sculptures in public spaces throughout Downtown Missoula.  Phase I of this project will be installed in July 2017.

Current Priorities

The Foundation is seeking support for a variety of Downtown Missoula improvement projects through the acquisition of grants and gifts from individuals and organizations.  These projects include:

  1. Caras Park Pavilion Canopy Replacement – Built in 1997, the Caras Park Pavilion will need a new fabric canopy in the not too distant future.  The canopy is 20 years old and was projected to have a 15-year life.  A new custom-made replacement will be needed as the original deteriorates over time.  Other projected improvements for Caras Park include restroom renovations, sound system and gateway improvements at Ryman and Front streets.  Target Goal:  $450,000
  2. Holiday Decor Electrical Repairs – The electrical infrastructure for the holiday decor is almost 50 years old, and the MDF has partnered with the Missoula Downtown Association to fund code-compliant upgrades for the 150 street light decorations, hung each year during the holiday shopping season.  The Foundation funded new electrical outlets in 2016, which cost $13,000, and will fund the new wiring system in 2017.  Target Goal:  $35,000
  3. Information Kiosks – In partnership with both the Missoula Downtown Association (MDA) and the Business Improvement District (BID), the MDF is seeking funds to fabricate and install nine (9) information kiosks in Downtown Missoula.  This layer of the Missoula Wayfinding System will contribute to the MDF's place-making projects that showcase Downtown Missoula in the public right of way.  Target Goal:  $75,000

Fundraising Initiatives

State of Montana Sponsored License Plate Program – Thanks to a grant from Wells Fargo Bank, the MDF partnered with the State of Montana and created the black "406" vehicle license plate to generate revenue in perpetuity for Downtown Missoula.  For each plate purchased across the state of Montana, the MDF receives a contribution of $20.  Available for purchase in all 56 counties, the "406" plate generated nearly $10,000 for the MDF in the first three months.

Downtown Missoula Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament – One of the MDF's signature events, this annual event has raised over $15,000 for Downtown improvements since 2014.  Nearly 200 novice and experienced poker players enjoy this Sunday afternoon soiree in the private "members only" room at the Hell Gate Elks Lodge 363.  The fourth annual Downtown Poker Tournament will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

What We've Accomplished

Since its creation in 2010, the Missoula Downtown Foundation has successfully completed a number of large projects for Downtown Missoula:

Caras Park Over $660,000 has been raised and invested into Caras Park improvements, including the new events ring stage and band-stand, pavilion retractable walls, irrigation and electrical systems new paint, brick repairs and a bottle-filling station. 2011-2013

Light Our Bridges The MDF partnered with the Light Our Bridges Committee and supported the efforts to raise and invest $200,000 into lighting the Madison and Van Buren pedestrian bridges in Downtown Missoula.  2012-2015

Wayfinding The Downtown Foundation procured a $50,000 grant from the State of Montana and partnered with the MDA and BID to fully fund the fabrication and installation of 35 artistic pedestrian-directional signs in Downtown Missoula as part of the comprehensive Missoula-wide wayfinding system. 2016.

Play It Missoula! Pianos The MDF created the Play it Missoula! Piano project in partnership with the Downtown BID and has rolled out seven painted pianos in public spaces throughout Missoula. 2014-2016.

Organizational Development Alongside the MDA and the BID, the Downtown Foundation is one of three organizations under the umbrella of the Downtown Missoula Partnership. This new organizational structure provided paid staffing services for the MDF.

Other Downtown Improvements

We take pride in collaborating with other organizations working to keep Downtown a vibrant place for all to enjoy.  New improvements around Downtown’s public spaces keep Missoula’s city center ever-changing and always interesting.

The Missoula Art Park, completed in 2017, offers an outdoor community gathering place with changing exhibits of outdoor art, tables, chairs and benches for lingering, creative plantings and design, and Missoula’s first public loo.

The Max Wave is in the development phase and will be located in the Clark Fork River near the California Street Pedestrian Bridge. Similar to Brennan’s Wave in Caras Park, the recreation wave will improve safety around the ditch and extend river recreation opportunities to newly-developed area of town.

Silver Park was completed in 2015 and offers expanded recreation space adjacent to the river and the baseball stadium. As part of the Old Sawmill District redevelopment, Silver Park has expansive grass and trails – including Hal’s Walk – as well as a large pavilion for events, public restrooms, a boat launch and public parking.

McCormick Park is home to Silver Summit, the new All-Abilities Playground, completed in 2014. With bright colors, mobility devices, natural elements and equipment for all abilities, the playground is accessible for all, including those in wheelchairs.

Kiwanis Park, located adjacent to the Madison Street Underbridge, has benefited from recent improvements with new playground equipment, climbing boulders, restrooms and a new shelter in the future.

The Madison Street Bridge is being re-decked in 2017 and will feature improvements for all modes of transportation, include wider sidewalks, bike lanes, railings, and new lighting with banner brackets. The MDT project compliments additional transportation improvements around Downtown Missoula.

The Higgins Avenue Bridge is scheduled for rehabilitation in 2020, and improvements will include wider pedestrian and bicycle crossings, new railings and lighting, and an additional seven foot cantilevered decking on the west side. These improvements will create lingering spaces for folks to enjoy the view of the river and Caras Park, as well as sunsets in the evenings.

Board of Directors

President      Josh Eder, S.G. Long & Co.

Vice President         Anne Guest, retiree

Treasurer      Jared Kuehn, First Security Bank

Past President        Geoff Badenoch,

Laura Brehm  Brehm Consulting

Libby Brunell        Cascadia Business Development

Craig Burns   Downtown Resident

Nick Caras    Caras Real Estate, Access Property Management

Dan Cederberg       Cederberg Law

Alan Newell   Three 21 Innovations

Staff

Linda McCarthy, Executive Director

Robert Giblin, Director of Finance & Administration

Karen Snow, Director of Giving

There is no doubt that we live in a remarkable place. When thinking of what it is that makes Missoula special, the answer comes quickly to mind…..

Hands down, it’s Downtown!

Donate to Friends of Downtown Missoula

 

Downtown Missoula connects us. Downtown is the heart of Missoula. Join us as a Friend of Downtown Missoula and help Connect Our Community! 

 

Friends of Downtown Value

  • Connector ($0-$49) 
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter updates
    • Business name on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • A Friends of Downtown Pin
    • Knowing you are truly impacting Missoula
  • Placemaker ($50-$249) 
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter updates
    • Business name on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • A Friends of Downtown Pin
    • Knowing you are truly impacting Downtown Missoula
  • Supporter ($250-$999) 
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter updates
    • Business name on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • A Friends of Downtown Pin
    • Knowing you are truly impacting Downtown Missoula
  • Partner ($1,000-$4,999) 
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter update & thank you with your business name and logo (mailing to 500 donors & businesses)
    • One highlighted thank you with business name in the MDA newsletter (mailing to 575 MDA business members)
    • Promotional recognition at special events
    • Business name/logo on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • Friends of Downtown Pin (up to 3 pins for executive team/staff)
    • Knowing you are greatly impacting Downtown Missoula
  • Sustainer ($5,000-$9,999) 
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter update & 1 annual mention featuring your business focus, name and logo (mailing to 500 donors & businesses)
    • One highlighted thank you with business name and logo in the MDA newsletter (mailing to 575 MDA business members)
    • Promotional and public recognition at special events
    • Business name/logo on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • Friends of Downtown Pin (up to 5 pins for executive team/staff)
    • Knowing you are significantly impacting Downtown Missoula
  • Executive ($10,000 and above)
    • Press Release submitted to local Press specific to your business announcing gift
    • Bi-annual Foundation newsletter update & 1 annual article featuring your business (mailing to 50 donors & businesses)
    • One feature spotlight in MDA newsletter (mailing to 575 MDA business members)
    • Promotional and public recognition at special events
    • Business name/logo on website
    • Business name in 1/4 page Missoulian thank you ad in January
    • One social media post annually to announce and thank donor for gift
    • Friends of Downtown Pins (up to 10 for executive team/staff)
    • Knowing you are momentously impacting Downtown Missoula

Online Downtown Foundation Donation Form »

10. You want to make Missoula Downtown even better for future generations.

9. You want to honor a loved one by making a critical gift in his or her name.

8. You want to share your pride in Downtown Missoula.

7. You want to receive information regarding efforts and projects supported by The Missoula Downtown Foundation.

6. You believe in the Greater Missoula Downtown Master Plan and want to provide support in making the Plan a reality for all those who call Missoula home.

5. You want to give now and don’t know where to start.

4. You want to build on the tradition of giving in Missoula.

3. You are interested in receiving invitations to special events or want to receive special recognition for your business.

2. You want to support the cultural, social and economic uniqueness that is Downtown Missoula.

1. You want to be part of the solution by creating long-lasting positive change.

Online Downtown Foundation Donation Form »

The Missoula Downtown Foundation will fulfill its mission by:
• sponsoring events and activities that celebrate our cultural and historical heritage;
• developing resources to support the ongoing maintenance, infrastructure building, beautification, historical preservation,  and general livability of the downtown area;
• developing resources to support the economic viability of the greater Missoula downtown area, creating placemaking capacity to combat deterioration of the downtown area;
• implementing infrastructure and general projects assisting in activities and events outlined in the Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan.