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Tag Archives: Polson

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.

GPCF Awards $50,000 and Pledges Another $50,000 to New Polson B&G Club Facility

The Greater Polson Community Foundation (GPCF) hand-delivered $50,000 to the new Boys and Girls Club (B&G Club) soon to be constructed in Polson, and pledged another $50,000. This donation is the largest the GPCF has made since it was first organized in 2008.

                Toni Young, GPCF president, on behalf of our generous donors, presented a $50,000 check to Aric Cooksley, executive director of the local B&G Club, at the annual “Great Futures Breakfast” held Tuesday, April 3 at the newly remodeled and expanded B&G Club facility in Ronan attended by 166 B&G Club supporters.

Another $50,000 will be awarded by the GPCF in the near future when the B&G Club fund-raising campaign committee needs a special “boost” to get them over the goal line of raising the required $4.5 million.  Then construction of the new Polson facility can begin.  GPCF directors and donors see this second installment as a “challenge match” that will inspire other organizations and individuals to get behind a project that will offer so many positive opportunities to our children and teenagers, both now and for future generations.  “We are all about permanent investments in our community,” said Penny Jarecki, Chair of the GPCF Philanthropy Committee.

This $100,000 has been accumulating in a special “set aside” fund the GPCF directors and donors created several years ago to jumpstart or complete projects that would make a significant and permanent impact on the greater Polson community. The new Polson B&G Club is exactly the kind of permanent project the directors and donors had in mind because it fills such a vital need in Polson.

Toni Young stated, “Our Foundation has a strong commitment to kids in Polson, giving them the best opportunities possible as well as the potential to change their lives.  The entire community of Polson, but young and old, will benefit from the addition of this wonderful facility.”

CLEAN UP GREEN UP FLYER file:///C:/Users/GPCF/Pictures/Polson%20Clean%20Up%202019[4951520].pdf

Flathead Lake International Cinemafest – January 25-27th, 2019

Friday, January 18th @ Polson High School – 7 p.m.

Wylie & the Wild West – Mission Valley Live presents:

A Cheery Welcome to Polson

The traffic island at the intersection of Highways 93 and 35 received a bright and beautiful upgrade this summer. Twenty big pots of hot pink petunias were placed behind the traditional little rowboat also filled with flowers. Many thanks to Delaney’s Landscaping and Envision Polson Beautification Committee for making this entrance to our community so attractive. The Beautification Committee is funded through directed gifts to the Greater Polson Community Foundation.  This is another beautiful example of how a directed gift of your choice makes a difference in your community.


Look what the North Lake County Public Library has! The Greater Polson Community Foundation provided a grant to purchase two device charging stations. If you are in need of a charge and don’t have your cord, stop on by the library!


100% of Polson 2nd Graders Learn to Swim

104 second graders have been taught the basics of water safety and swimming in a series of eight lessons at the Mission Valley Aquatics Center this spring. Polson 2nd grade Classroom schedules were adjusted for a two-week period, children were transported to the pool on school buses, and teachers helped with supervision. The director at MVA, says the majority of the kids would now be able to save themselves if they accidently fell in the water. Next spring the same kids will receive another series of eight lessons as 3rd graders and the incoming 2nd graders will start the next two-year project. The Greater Polson Community Foundation made a challenge match of $45,500 to fund the project from 2018 through 2021. Mission Valley Aquatics will raise a growing share of the program funds as it builds community support for the lessons. For more information about the project, to make a donation or find out what Mission Valley Aquatics has to offer, please visit website at:  or call (406) 883-4567

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.