On Nov. 7, nonprofits, funders, donors, civic leaders, and local businesses will honor community philanthropists Peter Sullivan, the Treacy Foundation, and Blackfoot River Brewing Company during a special gathering at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a networking reception, followed by a plated dinner and program to recognize the 2017 Community Philanthropists.

Helena Celebrates Community Philanthropy is an annual event to recognize Helena’s philanthropic accomplishments and honor great role models who exemplify the very best qualities of community philanthropists. It is being held in November to give our community a local platform to link with National Philanthropy Day, which is sponsored across America by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The Helena nonprofit community values all kinds of philanthropy in its many shapes and sizes, including the volunteering of time and talent for the work we do. That said, many in this sector have developed a deep appreciation for philanthropic individuals and entities whose generosity broadly embraces the diversity of our local nonprofit community. Why is this important? Because it is the philanthropic cornerstone for inclusive community building.

Nonprofits add myriad threads to the complicated fabric that weaves our Helena community together. They stand alone in their ability to combine private dollars, public dollars, donated resources, and incredible gifts of volunteer energy and enthusiasm. They harness these important synergies to play innovative roles in addressing local and statewide needs.

Helena Celebrates Community Philanthropy turns the spotlight on community building, inclusion, and bringing people together. It is a touchpoint to focus on being pro-active about expanding Helena’s philanthropic pie at a time when federal and state dollars to address community needs are shrinking. It is a rallying point for using philanthropic dollars to invest in Helena and how we as a community can shape our future in the most positive ways imaginable.

Community members are encouraged to attend this special event and help honor the 2017 awardees. Contact Big Sky Institute at 443-5860 for additional information and to order your tickets. Come have a great evening, and take time to thank these community philanthropists in person. And as many know in fundraising, you can never thank donors too many times.

Michael Schechtman is the executive director of Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits.