“WE DID IT!” exclaimed Bob Norbie, Executive Director of the five-year Special Olympics Montana Reveal the Champion in All of Us Endowment Campaign. Inspired by athletes who never give up, Special Olympics Montana achieved and surpassed its $10 million campaign goal by nearly $200K on June 30, 2021, thanks to generous fans from across the state.
“This effort began in 2016 with a $1 million lead gift from the campaign’s honorary chairman, Tom Scott, and his wife, Joan. Four other faithful stewards of Special Olympics contributed $1 million gifts or more to the campaign. These came from the Bob and Gladyce Oakland Family in Great Falls, Cyndi and Michael Huempfner in Bozeman, the First Interstate Bank and First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. All told, the campaign received contributions from more than 340 donors, 20 of which were $100K or more,” said Norbie.
“In spite of health issues, the death of three key campaign council members, and the coronavirus pandemic, endowment campaign council members and the board of directors remained tenacious about achieving their goal,” said Jim Foley, chairman of the campaign’s executive leadership council.
“With the finish line in sight, two donors gave a gold medal performance to reach our goal. First Interstate Bank made a $1 million donation, and the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation added $750K to their original $1 million gift. Two hundred fifty thousand dollars of the Washington Foundation gift came from Kevin Washington as a dollar-for-dollar match challenge. The collective efforts of these two powerhouse fans inspired giving into the homestretch and created an incredible response to the match challenge,” said Foley.
“The endowment, protected in perpetuity, will use earnings to supplement annual operations across the state. Local, area, and state level sports training and competition, health, leadership and community-building initiatives will be funded through this resource. Special Olympics Montana will extend its reach to many more eligible people with intellectual disabilities who are just sitting on the sidelines waiting for the chance to participate,” said Rhonda McCarty, Special Olympics Montana CEO.
To stir support throughout the campaign several unique events and efforts took place. In 2017, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation made available their Silver Cloud business train to take guests on an excursion along the Clark Fork River in passenger cars, some nearly 100 years old. More than $500K was pledged to the campaign during the train ride.
Following his run for Governor, Tim Fox invited his supporters to donate leftover campaign funds to the Special Olympics Montana endowment campaign. One hundred fifty-eight donors approved transferring their campaign donation to the endowment, generating more than $72,000.
With remarkable foresight over the past twenty-five years, Craig and Kathy Bolme have invested in an account intended to support Special Olympics. Through additional support from Craig’s mother and several friends, that account grew to more than $260K before it was transferred into the endowment.
Additionally, several insurance policies have been taken out in the name of Special Olympics Montana, and nearly 40 Deferred Planned Gift Annuities were produced.
Aside from cost of personnel to service the campaign, most everything was donated. Chris and Wes Spiker of Spiker Communications donated thousands of dollars to help design, produce and message the campaign.
To shepherd this campaign to its goal took considerable effort by members of the Honorary and Executive Leadership Councils. These stalwarts of the campaign gave countless hours to soliciting contributions. While words of appreciation are woefully inadequate, we give thanks to our Honorary Campaign Chairman, Tom Scott, and Executive Leadership Council Chairman, Jim Foley, along with council members Don Cape, Jr., Nick Cladis, Andrew Davidson, Cyndi and Michael Huempfner, Stacey Johnston-Gleason, Kreg Jones, Grant Lincoln, Scott Lind, Rhonda McCarty, Beth McFadden, Bob Oakland, Jim O’Day, John Parkes, Kathy Rice, Rick Reisig, Randy Scott, Darryl Seymour, Cooper Thomas, and Kevin Washington. Day after day, this working team kept the campaign energized.
Posthumously, we want to recognize three pivotal council members who passed away during the campaign. Amazing stewards Randy Scott (11/9/2019), Bob Oakland (6/15/2020) and Tom Scott (6/20/2020), brought critical vision and leadership to the campaign helping create a world of acceptance, respect, and inclusion. We will forever remember these gentlemen as giants on whose shoulders we were all lifted to achieve our goal.