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Category Archives: Bits & Pieces


John Cowan – Losing a Friend and Champion of Philanthropy   On March 11, we and many others lost a great friend and generous philanthropist in John Cowan. John was born in Bellefonte, PA on March 7, 1937 to John D. Cowan and Elizabeth Fowler Cowan. The family soon moved to Charleston, SC and subsequently in 1949 to Stamford, CT. He attended the Hotchkiss School where he met lifelong friend and Polson resident Chuck Jarecki. A graduate of Middlebury College, John received an MS in Accounting from the University of Wyoming.   John owned and served as CEO and Chief Fiscal Officer of two post-secondary and proprietary schools: Wyoming Technical Institute (1970 – 1977) and Bryman School (1977-1996). For twenty years, John consulted as a CPA Auditor for Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs at Post-secondary Educational Institutions. Of particular note, he consulted to the US Department of Justice and was admitted as an expert witness for the prosecution of educational institutions for misuse of student assistance funds.   John and Elaine fell in love with Montana while visiting friends in Polson. “I wanted Elaine to see this part of the country,” John said. “We fell in love.” When rainy weather hit the Flathead valley during a fishing trip in 1990 and denied them access to the outdoors, the Cowans started looking at real estate. They eventually purchased a home on Flathead Lake and moved to Montana permanently in 1997.   “What brought us here was the beauty and quality of life,” John said. “Both of us were raised in small towns.” The Cowans felt at home in Polson.   John and Elaine helped found the Greater Polson Community Foundation, which was established in December 2007 because of the efforts of lifelong friends of the Cowans, Chuck and Penny Jarecki. John and Chuck attended Hotchkiss School together, and later their friendship brought the Cowans to Polson. “We became interested in the Greater Polson Community Foundation through the Jareckis,” John said. “Penny had done a little research and called us one day to broach the question of starting a community foundation. Elaine was always a better spokesman than I, so we decided that she would join the board and I would be office staff.”   “The Greater Polson Community Foundation would not be what it is today without John Cowan’s vision of achievable goals and professional advice. He benefited Polson in many ways through his commitment, expertise, and generosity. He definitely made a difference in our community,” said Penny Jarecki.   Due to the efforts of the Cowans, Jareckis, and other citizens of Polson, the Greater Polson Community Foundation grew quickly. Today, it has an endowment balance of more than $600,000, and they have awarded more than $470,000 in grants. When Elaine passed away in 2009, John established a bequest to benefit the Greater Polson Community Foundation.   “We supported the Greater Polson Community Foundation with a bequest because it’s a conduit for the changing needs of the community,” John said. “Our thought was that if you give money to the community foundation, they could channel it to where the need is greatest as society changes.”   We are so incredibly grateful for the amazing legacy John helped create for his community. He will be sorely missed.

Ice is Nice! Mark your calendars, everyone! Saturday, February 23 is our 3rd Annual WinterFest!

When: 10am-2pm, Saturday February 23, 2019
Where: Polson’s Riverside Park
What: Celebrate the winter weather with games of Broom Ball, some hot beverages, and snacks, all free of charge! We will have some small fire-pits to keep everyone toasty, and an assortment of other small games to try!

What is Broom Ball, you ask? Simple!  Broom Ball is played just like
hockey, only no special equipment is needed.  You play on a flat surface
in your boots or shoes, and we provide the rest! Keep your sticks down and your heads up to receive passes and score a few goals. Come out and
try your hand at Broom Ball with the whole family!

Due to this year’s weather, access to Riverside Park will be restricted to the stairway on 1st Street West in Polson. 
The Mission Valley Ice Arena Association wishes to thank all those who continually support us and ask about our progress.  We are
always able to host our successful WinterFests thanks to you: our
supporters, our wonderful volunteers, and our amazing local business
sponsors. 

It’s so wonderful to see our community coming together to ensure healthand happiness for our kids.  We would like to thank the following for
making this year’s WinterFest possible!  

Business Sponsors:
*S&S Sports
*White’s Meats
*Greater Polson Community Foundation
*Jason Brown, @intangible.studio
*Polson ACE Hardware
*The Cove Deli, and the Avison and Family
*Parks and Rec., the City of Polson, Pat Nowlen

Volunteers:
*Bret Richardson
*David McDaniel
*Steve and Mike Lozar
*Chuck Wall
*Katie Walter


As always, we thank you for your support. If you’re interested in helping out with events in the future, please feel free to contact us by
replying to this email, checking out our Volunteer tab on our website,
or messaging us on Facebook.  Thank you so much!

Hilary Lozar

Chair, Mission Valley Ice Arena Association

Jayme Stone Folklife

February 15th, 2019

7:00 PM – Ronan Performing Arts Center

This versatile gathering of musicians has cultivated vibrant Sea Island spirituals, Creole calypsos and stomp-down Appalachian dance tunes for contemporary listeners.




To jumpstart the opening of the 2019 cycle, GPCF is planning two Grant Application Workshops at the GPCF offices – Lower Level of Salish Building – 110 Main Street, Polson, MT  on Thursday, February 21st or Tuesday, February 26th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Either of these workshop sessions are available for the first ten participants to register for either session and pay $5.00 (light lunch included) This workshop will walk an applicant through the basic grant application process which is beneficial to non-profits writing grants or foundation requests for funding and more specifically the GPCF application process. GPCF will accept applications for pre-screen (we will preview and advise on completeness) until April 12th, 2019 and complete applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, April 26th 2019. The complete 2019 Grant Application is available to download online at www.greaterpolsoncommunityfoundation.org where you will also find a list of previous GPCF grant recipients. If you have questions or would like to register for a grant workshop, please contact Jennifer at the GPCF office at (406) 883-4723.

The 2019 grant application deadline is Friday, April 26, 2019. Grant applications will be accepted from non-profit organizations with a 501c(3) status in the Greater Polson area. Grants from the Greater Polson Community Foundation make a significant difference. Over $500,000.00 has been contributed to meet needs in our community since grants were first awarded in 2009. Grants are funded annually by the earning’s from the foundation’s growing permanent endowment and other available GPCF funds. Past grant awards have supported a variety of youth and community projects. GPCF President Toni Young says “our grant funding support to our community non-profits and their projects is a highlight of our year”.
The Committee is looking for how well the prospective project matches the mission and values of the GPCF as well as addressing critical needs that strengthen our community. As you prepare your application, think about how your project can enhance and improve the lives of the people who live here.



Kathy grew up in northern Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she earned a Bachelor of Accounting Degree. Kathy held several private sector accounting positions before finding her niche in government accounting and finance while working for the City of Great Falls in the early 1990s. After relocating to Colorado with her military husband’s transfer, Kathy worked for the City of Woodland Park for 18 months and then most recently the City of Fountain, Colorado for 16 years as the Chief Financial Officer. She served on many committees and also served 6 years as a Trustee on one of the state sponsored pension plans. Seeking a life filled with outdoor activities and a peaceful environment, Kathy and her husband Joe retired to the beautiful Flathead Valley in 2013.


The Mission Valley Ice Arena Association’s second annual WinterFest is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, from 10 am to 2 pm at Polson’s Riverside Park. It’s free and you’re invited to play ten-minute Broom-ball games on the park grounds. “Don’t feel like a full-blown game of Broom-ball? No problem!” Says MVIAA Chair Hilary Lozar. She invites you to participate in easy hockey skill games overseen by local hockey enthusiasts, with equipment for all activities provided by the MVIAA through Greater Polson Community Foundation grants.
Local merchants have donated raffle prizes and ticket sales boost the non-profit MVIAA fund. Prizes include gift certificates for the Red Lion Hotel, MacKenzie River Pizza, and a scenic flight over the Mission Valley, thanks to Blue Goose Aviation. Hot chocolate will be available free of charge, and donations are appreciated.
MVIAA board members and volunteers will be wearing white hockey jerseys and will be available to answer any questions you have about the ice rink project.
“This event is primarily to increase awareness of our ice rink project, as well as spark an interest and love for winter sports, so please, invite anyone you can think of and share this event with your friends and family,” Lozar added.
Parking is available along the street above the park, with easy access down the stairs. Overflow parking may be found along Third Avenue.


Greater Polson Community Foundation Announces New Grant Funding Cycle:

The GPCF invites 2018 grant applications. The 2018 grant application deadline is Friday, April 27, 2018. Grant applications will be accepted from non-profit organizations with a 501c(3) status in the Greater Polson area.

Grants from the Greater Polson Community Foundation can make a significant difference. A total of $473,000.00 has been contributed to meet needs in our community since grants were first awarded in 2009. Grants are funded annually by the earning’s from the foundation’s growing permanent endowment and other available GPCF funds. Past grant awards have supported a variety of youth and community projects. GPCF President Toni Young says “our grant funding support to our community non-profits and their projects is a highlight of our year”.

The Committee is looking for how well the prospective project matches the mission and values of the GPCF as well as addressing critical needs that strengthen our community. As you prepare your application, think about how your project can enhance and improve the lives of the people who live here.

The GPCF is planning two Grant Application Workshops at the GPCF offices – Lower Level of Salish Building – 110 Main Street, Polson, MT  59860 on March 8th (FILLED) or March 15th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Either of these workshop sessions, are available for the first twelve participants to register and pay $5.00 (light lunch included) and will walk an applicant through the basic grant application process which is beneficial to non-profits writing grants or foundation requests for funding.

GPCF will accept applications for pre-screen completeness until April 13th 2018 and complete applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, April 27th 2018. The complete 2018 Grant Application is available to download online at www.greaterpolsoncommunityfoundation.org where you will also find a list of previous GPCF grant recipients. If you have questions or would like to register, please contact Jennifer at the GPCF office at (406) 883-4723.