MRF Awards Missoula Fencing Association Grant

Statement of Purpose: Missoula Centennial Rotary Club supports youth activities. The Missoula Rotary Foundation provided the club with a grant for $750.00 to allow the Missoula Fencing Association to provide scholarships to Missoula young people who could not otherwise participate in the sport of fencing.

Description of Project:
Missoula Fencing Association
1134 Longstaff St.
Missoula, MT 59801
(406) 304-2869

Olympic Fencing, often referred to as “physical chess”, is a sport that helps both youth
and adults develop mental awareness, creativity, problem solving, accountability, self-reliance,
emotional self-control, confidence, critical thinking, academic discipline, and a sense of
community. In short, fencing teaches lessons and skills that go beyond the bout strip, skills that
are crucial in today’s world.

Missoula Fencing Association was established in the fall of 2007 as “Missoula Youth
Fencing Association” by Laura Lee. Laura’s two sons had shown an interest in fencing a couple
of years earlier and pursuing this interest quickly brought about the realization that fencing in
Montana typically means posts, poles, and barbed wire. Using the University of Montana
Fencing Club as a resource, Laura was able to find an instructor for her two sons. It was not
long before word got around that some young people in Missoula were playing with swords, with
their parents’ permission! Subsequently, the Missoula Youth Fencing Association (MYFA) was

In the fall of 2010, MYFA established a home in the City Life Community Center and
switched to a club structure with monthly memberships. At that time, we also expanded our
mission to include programming for all ages and changed our name to Missoula Fencing
Association, Inc. In 2019, MFA became a Montana non-profit corporation and was deemed by
the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charitable organization (501(c)(3)). The nonprofit
is run by a Board of Directors comprised of adult fencers and parents of youth fencers.
One of MFA’s goals is to keep is to make fencing accessible and affordable to the
Missoula community. To achieve this goal, the club relies on fundraising events and donations
used towards buying new equipment, providing student scholarships, and training for our

Each year, MFA holds an annual fall fundraising event called the Stab A Leaf rake-athon. The rake-a-thon is a way for MFA to raise money for our organization while doing a service for our community. Fencers gather pledges from individuals and businesses to sponsor them for raking the lawns of elderly and disabled Missoulians. This program offers a benefit to everyone involved: donors get a tax write-off that is 100% deductible; people who are unable to rake their lawns get their leaves picked up at no cost; MFA raises money to purchase club equipment and provide scholarships; and more people are able to fence with financial assistance. This year, on November 6, our athletes and parents spent their Saturday raking leaves from several lawns around Missoula from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, so far, have been able to raise $3,500 from individuals and businesses. Our goal this year is to raise $8,000; however, we are still receiving donations and hope to reach that goal by the end of this month.

While MFA is not asking for a specific amount from the Missoula Rotary Foundation, we do ask that you help make a difference in Missoula by contributing to the success of our youth. Your support will be acknowledged in our events and community advertisement.

The above grant request has been approved by action of the Missoula Rotary Foundation (MRF) Grants
Committee under authority granted it by the Foundation’s Board of Directors in the amount and with the
conditions and limitations set forth below:
Amount: $750.00

View the application.

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