About Us

Who We Are

The Gianforte Family Foundation was established in 2004.

Since its creation the foundation has become one of the top giving foundations in Montana, giving more than $118 million to initiatives that align with our mission, vision, and focus.

Our Approach

Our Vision

To see individuals and families in Montana flourish, spiritually and economically.

Our Mission

We support organizations that equip Montanans to sustainably improve their lives, strengthen their relationships, and find hope.

Our Values

Trustees

Greg Gianforte

Trustee

Greg and his wife Susan were married in 1988 and have called Bozeman home since 1995. They are parents to three boys and a girl whom they raised in Montana. Greg is a serial entrepreneur and has mentored hundreds of Montana entrepreneurs.

Greg founded RightNow Technologies in Bozeman in 1997, which grew to more than 1,100 employees worldwide. RightNow was the largest commercial employer in Bozeman and the only publicly traded technology company headquartered in Montana before being purchased by Oracle in 2012. Greg has served on numerous local, national, public, private, for-profit and not-for profit boards.

In 2017 Greg was elected to the U.S. Congress as the sole representative for Montana, returning to Montana each weekend from Washington, DC to visit with neighbors and constituents throughout the state. He successfully ran for Governor of Montana in 2020 and was sworn in on January 4, 2021. Greg is proud and humbled to serve Montanans in this role.  He is an avid sportsman and loves to cook.

Susan Gianforte

Trustee

Susan is the daughter of German immigrants to New York City, where she was born and raised by her widowed mother.  She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from NYU, the last of which she earned while working for Bell Laboratories.

Susan resigned as senior manager from NNC/KPMG in 1993 after their third child was born and started helping Greg in his new entrepreneurial efforts following the sale of his first start-up, Brightwork.  Greg and Susan moved their family to Bozeman, Montana in 1995 and had their fourth child.  After running operations in a number of Greg’s smaller startups, she was controller for the first two years of RightNow Technologies.

Currently, Susan manages the finances of their family foundation and other family entities.  She considers herself blessed and honored to serve as Montana’s First Lady, working alongside Greg in his role as governor of Montana.

Staff

Catherine Koenen

Executive Director

Catherine grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and moved to Bozeman in 1998 to study at Montana State University, where she earned her master’s degree in architecture in 2003. After college she worked in land use planning for several years before taking time off to stay home with her children. In 2013 she began working for the Gianforte Family Foundation and has found great reward helping organizations throughout Montana serve the state’s most vulnerable. She especially enjoys site visits to nonprofits, where she can learn more about their work and meet the people involved. In addition to her foundation work, Catherine manages a busy household and cherishes time with her husband, four children, and family dog.

Joy Churchill

Program Director

Joy and her husband moved from their home state of Ohio to Bozeman, Montana in 1999 to work for RightNow Technologies (now Oracle). In the summer of 2003, Joy left her position at RightNow to stay home with her two young children and work as a marketing consultant. As her children grew, Joy re-entered the work force in the non-profit sector. She has experience in non-profit leadership, marketing, and information technology. Joy has a B.A. in History from The Ohio State University.

Tim Guardipee

Native Initiatives Director
Born and raised on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, Tim is enrolled Little Shell and descendent Blackfeet. He graduated from the University of Montana in 2003 with a degree in Business Administration. Tim has enjoyed working with Native small businesses and Tribal communities, primarily working in nonprofits through his years of experience in business, community, and economic development. Outside of work, Tim stays active with his wife and four children through a variety of outdoor activities, gardening, watching their children’s sports, and spending time with family on their parents’ ranches.

Denise Czuprynski

Communications Manager

After earning a B.A. in Communications from the University of Buffalo, Denise served as PR director for a small college in the Adirondack Mountains. She has held marketing and advancement roles in higher education and nonprofits ever since. A lifelong love for the outdoors called her to Montana in 2016; a passion for doing meaningful work that makes a difference brought her to the Gianforte Family Foundation in 2019. Denise enjoys hiking, camping, and finding joy in everyday moments.