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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.”


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The Polson Chamber of Commerce is asking for your sustaining support for the Polson Hanging Flower Baskets and Holiday Decorations.

Thanks to your generosity, we are able to continue a more than 20-year tradition that has enhanced the visual appeal and western welcome to Polson, creating an inviting place for residents and visitors. The Polson Chamber of Commerce has purchased, helped hang and with help from the City of Polson, cared for the flower baskets on Highway 93, Main Street and First Streets East and West. This amount includes purchasing the flowering baskets and paying the city’s expenses to water and care for them on a daily basis.

This year, the chamber is replacing aging holiday decorations on Highway 93 with new holiday banners.

Because the Greater Polson Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your generous donation is tax deductible. Please fill out the pledge form below and mail your gift today to the Greater Polson Community Foundation, P.O. Box 314, Polson, MT 59860.

Your connection to the Polson Community and generosity is greatly appreciated.

In order to receive your tax receipt, please make checks, corporate matches, or others gifts payable to: Greater Polson Community Foundation (GPCF). Your donation receipt will be mailed to you directly.


Friday, April 5th – Ronan Performing Arts Center – 7 p.m.

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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.
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.


PEACE received the Greater Polson Community Foundation Grant to hold this special retreat! We have partnered with Statement, a non-profit organization out of Spokane, WA which has developed this amazing material!

Participants will come away with a better understanding of:
• How to recognize red flags in dating abuse
• How to identify the different forms of dating abuse
• How to recognize their true potential
• How to set clear boundaries and define true values
• How to have effective goal setting
• How to increase leadership skills
• How to apply respect in their everyday life
• How to increase self-esteem
• How to make a positive impact in their community through volunteering
• How to nurture healthy relationships with parents and friends

Enroll your daughter today! She is sure to “Make A Statement!”
Cost is $35 for the entire weekend! Please Register by March 10th!

Register online at https://www.peacemt.com/events-1/red-flag-teen-retreat


John S. Cowan of Kalispell and Polson passed on March 11, 2019. John was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1937, to John D. Cowan and Elizabeth Fowler Cowan. The family soon moved to Charleston, South Carolina, and subsequently in 1949 to Stamford, Connecticut. He attended the Hotchkiss School where he met lifelong friend and Polson resident Chuck Jarecki. A graduate of Middlebury College, John received an Master of Science in Accounting degree 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 20 years, John consulted as a certified public accountant auditor for Title IV student financial aid programs at post-secondary educational institutions. Of particular note, he consulted to the U.S. Department of Justice and was admitted as an expert witness for the prosecution of educational institutions for misuse of student assistance funds.

Upon moving to Polson, John continued his consulting practice in the areas of education, new business development, accounting and the administration of nonprofit organization. He advised the work of the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology by designing an accounting system to comply with standards and updating student assistance Title IV regulations.

John derived enormous satisfaction from his contributions as a founder and board member of the Greater Polson Community Foundation. In his capacity as treasurer, John worked to implement procedures that ensured the safe and prudent investment of Foundation funds.

His family and beloved friend Suzanne Booker will miss John’s steady, caring and protective presence. His quiet, self-effacing generosity defined his life. Many experienced him as a man of few words. But those fortunate enough to be the recipients of those words considered them pearls and remain forever grateful. He passed in peace, confident in God’s grace.

John Cowan is survived by three children, John G. Cowan, Wayne Cowan and Wendy Windham; sister, Kay Cowan; grandchildren, Cameron, Chante, Allison, Stephanie and Michael Cowan; and great-grandchild, Nolan Lloyd.

His wife Elaine Cuklanz Cowan predeceased him in 2009.

Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at Buffalo Terrace Chapel, 40 Claremont St., Kalispell, MT 59901.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Greater Polson Community Foundation, P.O. Box 314, Polson, Montana 59860.

Messages of condolence may be shared with the family at www.thelakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. The Lake Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.


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.