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Milesnick Family Donates to Belgrade Library Capital Campaign

Milesnick donation check

A prominent Belgrade ranch family has donated $400,000 to the Belgrade Community Library in honor of Joyce Milesnick and her husband, the late Stan Milesnick. The contribution kicks off the library’s newly formed capital fundraising campaign.

The gift was made by Milesnick Ranch, Inc. shareholders who include Joyce and Stan’s son Ted Milesnick, daughters Susan Milesnick Sager, Sally Milesnick Sullivan and Jan Milesnick Davis, and their families.

“Mom and Dad had an incredible positive impact on all of our lives.  It gives us great pleasure to honor them with this donation,” said Ted Milesnick, who lives in Boise, Idaho. “Most of the Milesnick family had Belgrade library cards,” said Ted.

Joyce and Stan were long-time supporters of the library and included it in their memorial wishes.  Stan passed away in 2013, and Joyce, who turned 94 in 2016, now lives near two of her daughters in McMinnville, Oregon.

Their history with the library dates back to when it was located in the log cabin by the railroad tracks, prior to its move to the current building in the early 1990’s.

After moving from the family ranch north of Belgrade into town, Joyce regularly walked to the library to check out her latest stash of fiction. Stan took advantage of the inter-library loan system to access Montana and World War II historical references.

“The Milesnick’s gift is an amazing tribute to the Belgrade library and community as a whole.  The Milesnick family has afforded the Belgrade Community Library Foundation its first large donation toward addressing the physical expansion challenges of our library,” said the library’s director, Gale Bacon. “The library’s capital campaign is intended to raise support for library expansion, including more space for materials, programming, a technology training center, and more meeting room space,” said Bacon.

In 2015, the Belgrade library was named the Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. This annual award, co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created in 2005 to showcase the exemplary work of public libraries serving populations under 25,000.

Joyce and Stan have a long history in the Belgrade area. Stan moved to Belgrade in 1936 after Fort Peck Reservoir flooded his parents’ homestead at the mouth of the Musselshell River. His family purchased a ranch north of Belgrade along the East Gallatin River.

The couple created a ranching legacy of raising cattle, providing fishing access and practicing responsible stewardship. In the 1980’s and ‘90s they transferred the ranching operation to their children, where it continued as a family operation until 2016.

Joyce and Stan were strong supporters of education and viewed the library as an opportunity for themselves and others to further their education. Stan, Montana State College’s first rangeland management graduate, was a long-time member and officer of the Belgrade School Board. Joyce received an education degree from the Montana Normal School at Dillon, and was teaching school when she met Stan.

The Milesnick Corporation will work with the Belgrade Community Library Foundation to acknowledge the family’s gift in a place agreed upon within the new building.