75 Years of Impact: 1942-2017

Madison Community Foundation’s 75th anniversary is a celebration of the area’s unique natural and cultural assets: our children and seniors, our diversity and heritage, arts and culture, the environment, and more.

Honoring the Past

Monona Terrace was built with a $1 million starting gift from Madison Community Foundation. 

The history of MCF dates back to 1942, when city leaders established the Madison Community Trust Fund to assist in the unmet needs of the community and to cushion shocks that might be felt during a possible depression, when adequate community support might not be available. Original assets were war bonds, collected to assist area soldiers returning from World War II. The GI Bill later served this purpose, and Community Trust grants supported a variety of community causes. In 1977, a group of citizens came together to move the organization forward as Madison Community Foundation.

In 1986, Madison native Jane Coleman became MCF’s first executive director. Together with a passionate and dedicated Board of Governors, Coleman and community leaders set the course for the next three decades by growing the foundation’s assets and launching the Community Impact Fund. Created in 1991 with a transformational $15 million gift from businesswoman and philanthropist Marie Graber, the Fund has grown over decades by gifts large and small from people who love Madison and Dane County. Then and now, charitable causes—from environmental preservation to school and community gardens, arts education to public libraries, children’s and adult literacy to elderly independence—have benefited from these gifts

Building the infrastructure and supporting the programs that make the Madison area so special is what makes MCF a precious gem in our community. In the past 25 years, through the generosity of our donors, MCF has awarded more than $200 million to some 400 nonprofits, close to home and far away. Because of the generosity of our donors, the Madison area keeps getting better.

Celebrating 75 Years

MCF's official birthday is December 24, 1942.

MCF’s 75th anniversary provides a unique opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate our region’s most precious gems, as well as discovering new ones. As part of the yearlong activities, MCF will make a series of major grants that build upon the Madison area’s unique assets—from parks and lakes, to schools and neighborhood centers, to downtown spaces, to arts and the environment. The anniversary is a one-time opportunity to celebrate and support what makes this community so special, and to inspire charitable giving that will strengthen and enhance our community over the next 75 years.

Looking to the Future

 Dane Arts' mural program is inspiring the next generation of artists and community builders.

MCF is a permanent community trust, where donors can give to the causes they care about now and anytime in the future. The community trusts us to understand the broad nonprofit landscape and the Madison area’s evolving opportunities. Donors trust us to use their resources wisely to make a difference and shape our region’s future. It is impossible to know what the future brings, but if past is prologue, we know that working together, we can continue make a positive, enduring difference.

Madison Community Foundation gives bold ideas a home and a place where they can have immediate and long-term impact. We look forward to celebrating our 75th year but more importantly, we look forward to working with you to build our community's future together.”

– Diane Ballweg, Board of Governors