About

The Mission of the Lewis and Clark Foundation is to inspire financial support for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and preserve our heritage by leveraging community resources to fund improvements and support innovative programs at the Center.

Our History

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center Fund, Inc. was created in 1991 by several of Montana's leading citizens in partnership with the US Forest Service, the federal agency entrusted with management of the Center. This non-profit organization was incorporated to provide the resources and leadership necessary to generate funds needed to build the original facility in the 1990s. By 1995, Fund, Inc. had successfully raised $3 million to match a federal appropriation of an additional $3 million, which funded construction of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.

The new Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center opened to the public on May 5, 1998. Within a year, board members began exploring a long term role for the organization, and the name was changed to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Foundation. Since that time, the Foundation has assisted the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center with a number of projects including:

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  • $177,000 toward relocation of the access road and parking lot

  • $10,000 for production of a four-color marketing brochure distributed nationally

  • $5,000 for the cost of distributing travel brochures

  • $15,000 for the Scholar-in-residence program

  • $6,700 for the fabrication of exhibits and display cases

  • $10,000 for the publication of books for the Center's gift shop

  • $10,000 for equipment for the Center's audio tour

  • $65,000 for design of the Interpretive Center's facility expansion

  • Purchase of properties on the north shore of the Missouri River across from the Center, and valued at $665,000

  • $330,000 for remodel of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, to make room for new Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation office and library and expanded Portage Cache store

  • $11,000 for a new theatre projector

  • $8,000 for the Blackfeet Tipi Exhibit

  • $3,000 in scholarships to rural schools

  • $90,000 in partnership with the National Park Service, for the Field Investigations program with 1700 middle school children

  • $14,000 in partnership with Montana Historical Society and the OPI, for Indian Education for All project

  • $10,000 for the life-size Seaman statue

  • Numerous additional programs each year

In October 2010, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Foundation merged with the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Association to form one combined organization, now called the Lewis & Clark Foundation. The missions of both organizations had evolved with a great deal of overlap, and they found themselves partnering on more programs and projects. Additionally, there was some confusion among donors and members concerning the difference between the two organizations. Today, the Lewis & Clark Foundation focuses on programs and projects that directly and indirectly support the Interpretive Center.  In addition, the Foundation owns and operates the Portage Cache Store, from which a portion of the revenue supports the Center. Since its beginning in 1991, the Foundation has contributed more than $8 million in support of the Center. 

Board and Staff

Lewis and Clark Foundation Board of Directors
Carolyn Valacich, President

Dwight Smith, Past-President
Bob Vinson, President-Elect

Thomas Risberg, Vice-President
Mark Cappis, Treasurer
Norma Ashby Smith

Judy Byrne

Jeff Carr
Brishen Gumenberg
Todd Knowles
Heather Kubas

Dick Martin
Sean O’Connell

Dale Schwanke
Jon Von Eschen
Becky Younkin

Lewis and Clark Foundation Staff
Elizabeth Moore, Executive Director
Kelly Paladino, Director of Sales and Special Events
Dawn Maurer, Membership and Database Coordinator

Ria Hooks, Retail Specialist

Meliora Eddington, Retail Specialist

Lilli Milton, Retail Specialist

Haylee Bice, Retail Specialist

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Staff

Duane Buchi, Center Director/Education Coordinator
Jeff LaRock, Lead Interpreter
Ray Tetrault, Facilities

Cortney Reedy, Park Ranger

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