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Choirs from around the world travel to Missoula for the International Choral Festival held once every three years. On Tuesday, July 16, two of those choirs were right here in Polson giving a free-of-charge performance at the Polson High School auditorium. 

The accomplished Eller Girls’ Choir from Estonia and the
Veus – Cor infantil Amics de la Unió, Catalonia/Spain Choir from Catalonian Spain shared their beautiful voices and a bit of their unique cultures as a part of the “outreach program” of the festival. The International Choral Festival is devoted to fostering cultural exchange and good will through the universal language of music by bringing world class choirs to other Montana towns before and after the main Festival in Missoula, July 17-20. It is sponsored by the Montana Arts Council’s Cultural Trust and the Greater Polson Community Foundation.

What an absolute treat for our community. We hope they will take fond memories of Polson, Montana, USA back to their countries with them.

Dinner, Dance & Auction to celebrate our Passion for Polson

Thursday, August 1 – 5:30 p.m.

$85.00 per person – please RSVP to GPCF @ 883-4723

June Syvrud’s family is establishing a music scholarship fund honoring June’s true love for music. She was a performing artist as a vocalist, pianist and saxophone player. June’s role as a lead vocalist in many local musicals at the Port Polson Lake theater brought joy to many in the Mission Valley Community. Her greatest achievement was as a music educator and she taught music in the Polson School system for 20 years.

This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior who intends to pursue a college music degree as a full time student.

A special concert to kick off the scholarship fund was held on June 1, 2019 at the Port Polson Theater. Because the scholarship funds will be managed by the Greater Polson Community Foundation which is a 501 c3 organization, donations should be made payable to the GPCF – PO Box 314, Polson, MT  59860 with a note designated to June Syvrud scholarship. A tax deductible receipt will be mailed to the donor. Donations may also be made online at the GPCF website at

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

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.


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 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