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""The Guide to Supporting Montana's Local and County Community Foundations" is simply incredible! Congratulations on this terrific piece of literature; it showcases what can be done to grow philanthropy across the nation's rural areas."

Steve Gunderson, Former President & CEO

Council on Foundations
Past Recipients

2010 Assessment Awards

  • Butte 4-Cs (Butte), founded in l971, is a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency that serves children birth to age 18 in Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Granite, Madison, Powell and Silver Bow Counties. It serves families by promoting quality and affordable child care and manages cases for those receiving child care assistance. Butte 4-Cs also provides educational course and resources to support early care and education professionals in their daily interactions with young children. Additionally, the agency is a sponsor of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program and provides a Family Education Center that is designed for supervised visitation for at-risk families and those dealing with child custody issues or court ordered visitation through its Connecting Families program. Butte 4-Cs also offers free parent education classes supported by United Way.   
  • The Childrens Museum of Bozeman (Bozeman), founded in 2001, the CMB engages children and adults in the magic of shared learning and discovery. It is the only organization in the region dedicated exclusively to providing hands-on, sensory exhibits and programs that foster the imagination, curiosity and promote self-confidence. The CMB, located in downtown Bozeman, offers drop-in programs for babies and toddlers and preschoolers. Its After-School Program serves children Kindergarten to 5th  grade. CMB programming goes beyond traditional classroom learning and challenges learners to explore math, art and science through thoughtful and innovative play. CMB also offers a free Youth Intern Program for youth, ages 11-18, to work on service-learning projects that directly benefit their community.
  • Families First (Missoula), since 1994, Families First has been empowering families with parent education and learning through play at the Children’s Museum in Missoula. Through programs for parents and children, FF helps parents address many of the challenging issues that arise during the course of raising a child. Their programs are based on the core principles of communication, positive discipline, and healthy self-esteem. Programming at the Children’s Museum is fun, interactive and educational. In 2010, FF served more than 29,000 parents and children with more than 120 classes for families and 220 programs for children. The Museum enjoys membership by more than 500 families. Recognizing that almost one-quarter of families visiting the museum report an annual household income of less than $20,000, sponsored memberships are available, and admission prices are low. Likewise, parenting classes are either offered free of charge, or on a sliding fee scale. Previously staffed with part-time employees, in 2010 FF’s executive director was increased to full-time, and a similar move is being discussed for other key management staff. Families First’s administrative office and Children’s Museum are located in Missoula’s downtown Caras Park, next to the Clark Fork River.  
  • The Nurturing Center (Kalispell), since 1978, The Nurturing Center has operated as a grassroots organization serving Flathead, Lincoln, Lake and Sanders counties with programs and services to strengthen our community and families by addressing the needs of children birth to 18. Staffed by 19 employees, TNC offers a variety of programs including being the Child Care Resources and Referral Agency for Northwest Montana and providing the Child and Adult Care Food Program. TNC helps working parents recognize, find and pay for good quality child care and supports child care providers with training. TNC also offers support groups e.g., Parent Share, classes, individualized parent coaching and access to its resource library. Offerings are designed to serve a variety of needs including, grandparents raising children, divorced parents, young women, fathers and high school girls. TNC offers extended hours one day a week to help meet the needs of working parents.  
  • The Parenting Place (Missoula), The Parenting Place is a 30 year old organization that provides child abuse prevention services to families in Missoula, in Missoula County and statewide to families touched by incarceration. TPP’s goal is to help families develop healthy parent-child relationships, to improve the futures of children and ensure healthy families. Employing 17 part-time and full-time staff, it is the only agency in Missoula with the sole mission of preventing child abuse and neglect, and TPP collaborates with other family strengthening organizations whenever possible. TPP provides long-terms services designed to produce positive behavioral changes needed to strengthen the family unit including: Parent Aide Program home visiting services, Parenting Classes, Respite Child care and Children’s Programs, Support & Advocacy for Families Touched by Incarceration as well as information and resources through a statewide toll-free number, and Crisis Intervention, Support/Resources and Referral Services.  
  • Thrive (Bozeman), for 25 years, Thrive has designed signature programs that support healthy child growth and development based on the unique climate, culture and needs of Bozeman and the surrounding area.  Programs include: Child Advancement Project - one-on-one school mentoring for grades K-12, Parent Liaison Program – engaging parents in their child’s education, Girls for a Change – empowering girls grades 5-12 to embrace their future, Partnership Project to Strengthen Families – home-visitation providing one-on-one long term support and mentoring to young families, Parent Place Family Resource Center –  providing activities in Bozeman and Belgrade to engage both parents and children, such as, Open Gym play groups and Dynamite Dad groups. These programs are preventative and are based on research on best program practices in the fields of family support, mentoring, and child development. Thrive programs have received state and national awards and recognition. Thrive’s efforts nurture Strong Families, Successful Children and Thriving Communities. Everyone benefits. 

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2009 Assessment Awards

  • Child Care Resources, Inc. (Missoula), which was the first Child Care Resource and Referral Agency in Montana, and the first to sponsor the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program. CCR, Inc. serves both families with young children, with a particular focus on services to those with low income, and early care and education providers. Programs include: child care referrals, scholarships for low income families, training for early childhood professionals, a child and adult care food program, child care health consultations, and accreditation mentoring that helps area child care programs achieve national accreditation with much higher standards than Montana state licensing.
  • Domestic and Sexual Violence Services of Carbon County (Red Lodge), which works throughout Carbon County and neighboring counties to eliminate domestic, sexual and teen dating violence. Services include: a 24-hour Helpline; hospital, police, and court accompaniment; transport, emergency short-term shelter, food and clothing; assistance in applying for orders of protection and for crime victim compensation; and support groups, one-on-one support, and education. DSVS also offers an annual Teen Dating Violence Prevention Summit, Violence Prevention Clubs, medical assessment training, and a Coordinated Community Response Team.
  • Family Promise of Gallatin County, Inc. (Bozeman), which provides shelter for homeless families with children in the Gallatin Valley, while assisting them to find and implement lasting solutions to their unique situations. As part of a 20 year old national network, Family Promise operates on a successful model known as an interfaith hospitality network, and provides nightly shelter, home-cooked meals, limited transportation and professional case management, and a professionally staffed Family Day Center. A full-time Case Manager helps families develop and implement a Family Permanency Plan, with the goal of finding safe, affordable housing within 90 days.
  • Great Falls Community Food Bank (Great Falls), which gathers and distributes food for needy children, individuals and families through a network of 50 charitable organizations in Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier and Teton Counties. In 2002, it became Montana's Redistribution Organization for the Montana Food Bank Network and Feeding America that opened doors for new food resources. GFCFB has experienced substantial growth over the years with demand increasing 38% since 2007, and recently distributed 826,000 pounds of food. In 2010, GFCFB will launch a $700,000 capital campaign to renovate its 13,000 square foot warehouse project to increase space, efficiency and safety.
  • homeWORD (Missoula), which began as a project of Women's Opportunity and Resource Development to create affordable housing and meaningful economic change for lower income families. In 1998, it became an independent organization. As a recognized Community Housing Development Organization, homeWORD has completed 10 projects providing 163 affordable units in Missoula and Billings. It serves low and moderate income households and a diverse population of singles, elderly, individuals with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, families with children, veterans and formerly homeless people. homeWORD provides homebuyer education and counseling and teaches financial literacy. Over the years, it has developed a holistic offering of financial fitness education, housing counseling and foreclosure prevention counseling in addition to homebuyer education. homeWORD also works with rural communities across Montana, via joint ventures, to help develop affordable housing, both rental and homeownership.
  • Montana Audubon (Helena), which is a statewide organization that promotes appreciation, knowledge and conservation of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats. It has programs in public policy, education and scientific research, and is comprised of nine, community-based Audubon Chapters. With 4,000 members, Montana Audubon is one of the state's largest conservation organizations. It has identified 39 Important Bird Areas across the state, which encompass 10 million acres and span 28 counties. Montana Audubon operates the Audubon Conservation Education Center in Billings, which helps children connect with nature and improves student academic achievement, restores and protects wildlife hapitat and provides important open space and public outdoor recreational opportunities within the city's rapidly expanding suburbs. The organization's collaborative Leave No Child Inside initiative conducts after-school and summer nature camps, and offers unique opportunities for at-risk youth in Billings to participate in outdoor after-school programs.
  • Wakina MultiCultural Education Center (Helena), which bridges a critical gap for Indian children in this urban community by aiming for diverse cultural competency, along with academic excellence and achievement. Wakina provides quality education, cultural awareness, and opportunities to learn outsite the traditional school setting, and assists Indian children and their families to learn to thrive in many cultural worlds. Utilizing an educational process that includes cultural literacy, it encourages all members of the community to take an active role in the education and cultural upbringing of local youth, at home and in school. Wakina assists the local school district through the Indian Education Advisory Committee, with implementation of MCA-20-1-501 (Indian Education for All). Wakina's afterschool academic programs are geared toward each student's needs, and include language, customs, songs and stories from a wide variety of tribal traditions. There are frequent visits by Native speakers and artists, weekly visits to the Holter Museum of Art for arts education, and bi-weekly visits to ExplorationWorks for experimental learning opportunities.

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2008 Assessment Awards:
Organizations receiving the first Assessment Awards include:

  • Big Sky Senior Services (Billings), which enhances the independence and quality of life for the elderly population in Yellowstone, Carbon, and Stillwater Counties, through home health services, volunteer friends program, elder abuse prevention, and a representative payee program.
  • Family Support Network (Billings), provides intervention, support and assistance to children and families with mental illness or are at risk for abuse and neglect to Yellowstone, Carbon, Big Horn, Musselshell, Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties. Services are offered to more than 200 families annually at their facility, in the community and at family homes.
  • Fort Peck Fine Arts Council (Glasgow), which serves primarily eastern Montana and works to preserve the historic Fort Peck theater; educate and entertain through the performing arts; encourage youth in the arts; and provide a forum for local and regional artists.
  • Human Resource Development Council of District IX, Inc. (Bozeman), which serves Park, Gallatin, Madison, and Meagher counties, and supports and advances the quality of people’s lives through innovative and dedicated leadership in community development and human services, through such services as housing, youth development, energy assistance, Head Start, transportation and volunteer programs for seniors and retired people.
  • Montana Shares (Helena), which serves organizations statewide, is a partnership of Montana-based nonprofits devoted to working together to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the state, and works with and on behalf of its members to promote the organizations, provide training and support on a year-round basis and, thereby, help them expand and diversify their programs.

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