Montana Healthcare Foundation

OVERVIEW: This health legacy funder supports public health, American Indian health, and behavioral health in the state of Montana. Open calls for proposals are announced on the funder’s website.

FUNDING AREAS: Public health, American Indian health, behavioral health, access to healthcare

IP TAKE: Consider pitching an idea that addresses substance abuse or suicide rates among American Indians in Montana. These are key issues for MHF.

PROFILE: The Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHF) is based in Bozeman, Montana, and focuses on access to health services, health education, research, and public policy. This foundation was established in 2013 after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana was sold to a private corporation.

American Indian health is a high priority for MHF—Montana is home to multiple tribes and reservations. Concerns include health disparities, poverty, unemployment, racial discrimination, housing, and food insecurity. Behavioral health and mental illness is also a top interest: perhaps surprisingly, Montana has had the highest suicide rates in the country in recent years. MHF has increased focus on substance misuse and substance use disorders lately. The foundation is also concerned with mental health in the criminal justice system, among veterans, and in children who have suffered trauma.

Partnerships for Better Health is an MHF portfolio that is all about improving the quality and accessibility of health services for Montanans. It has a strong focus on rural communities, and collaborative solutions are preferred. Issues like poverty and poor housing may also be funded here because they are also risk factors for health. Learn more about MHF’s involvement with public health here, including community health assessments and state health department case studies.

In a recent grant cycle, the foundation released a call for proposals in the above-mentioned areas. One-year and two-year grants are regularly awarded. These can be rapid response grants of between $10,000 and $75,000 or large grants up to $150,000. Key dates and deadlines are publishing on the funder’s website. Another opportunity is the Mignon Waterman Award, a $10,000 grant for Montana groups that are particularly innovative in behavioral health and healthcare in the state.

Only Montana-based organizations are eligible to apply for most MHF grants. This includes nonprofits, local and state government agencies, and tribal agencies. As a rule, MHF does not fund capital campaigns, construction projects, fundraising events, large equipment purchases, or medical research without a clear local benefit. You can see where MHF grantees are located on this map, which is followed by a list of grantees and their locations. A grantee library is also provided for more comprehensive information.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 406-451-7060 or Dr. Aaron Wernham is the CEO of MHF, and there are about seven other staff members. Their address is 777 East Main Street, Suite 206, Bozeman, Montana 59715. Sign up for the funder’s newsletter here to keep up with news and events.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)