On January 24th a number of representatives of local organizations, including 5 Rotarians, met at the Highway 12 Caffe to have lunch with Mary Ann Cotter and her cousing Janice Doggett. Rotarians Laura Obert, Pat Plantenburg, John Rains, Vic Sample and Jeff Langlinais were in attendance representing not only Rotary but also the County Commissioners, Townsend Tree Board, Canton Church, Broadwater Co. Museum and the Broadwater Community Foundation. Mary Ann is the daughter of Broadwater County native Tom Cotter. The Cotter family had a farm in the Canton, Mt. area before it was flooded during the creation of Canyon Ferry Lake.
Tom Cotter grew up in the Canton area and attended school in Townsend. After granduation, Tom spent time in the Merchant Marines before obtaining a degree from the University of Montana. Tom went on to go to work for Merrill Lynch as a financial planner eventually moving to Palo Alto, Ca. Tom did very well in the financial world and created the Cotter Foundation which has given generously to organizations in Broadwater County. In 2014 Tom gifted $11 million dollars to the University of Montana - the largest single gift ever given to the University. The University of Montana Foundation awarded Tom the "Order of the Grizzly" - the highest distinction the Foundation has.
Since Tom's death in 2014 Mary Ann Cotter has continued to run the Foundation and has continued to give grants to local Broadwater organizations: scholarships for graduating high school seniors, Broadwater County Library, Broadwater County Museum, Broadwater County Community Foundation, Rotary and Canton Church Restoration.
During the lunch the representatives of the various organizations talked with Mary Ann about all they had achieved with the grant monies awarded by the Cotter Foundation. Mary Ann seemed to enjoy learning about the community and the many uses of the grant money.
In addition to the representatives from the local organizations Mary Ann was able to visit with local family friends of the Cotter Family - Eileen Perry and Sharley Regan.
Mary Ann hopes to have a return visit to the area this summer or early Fall.