OVERVIEW: This funder supports projects in Montana that focus on systems change and economic empowerment for women and girls in the state. Letters of intent are accepted during annual grant cycles.
FUNDING AREAS: Women and girls, financial literacy, STEAM education, career training and leadership, public policy, equal pay
IP TAKE: STEAM education for girls and career training for women are where it’s at for this funder. Grants aren’t huge, but they’re very targeted and stay within the state.
PROFILE: The Women’s Foundation of Montana (WFM) aims to advance economic independence for Montana women and create a brighter future for Montana girls. This foundation was established in 1999 with a $500,000 challenge grant from the Chambers Family Fund to the Montana Community Foundation. A $1 million permanent endowment for WFM was established in 2005 from matching funds.
The foundation supports projects that directly boost the ability of women and girls to become successful economically. Areas of interest include financial literacy, business ownership, career planning for high school students, computer robotics workshops, vocational training and wage negotiation programs. All funding benefits Montana women and girls.
In a 16-year period, WFM awarded $729,531 in grants and supported dozens of local organizations. WFN gave about $83,000 in grants in one recent year. It regularly supports systems change efforts like public policies, political participation and increasing women’s leadership skills. The funder also has a strong interest in STEAM education and career training. Equal pay for women, financial education for women and getting Montana women into leadership positions are also interests. The foundation’s PowerHouse Montana initiative is all about connecting women with resources and mentors and providing organizations and companies with a source of Montana women for leadership consideration.
Recent grants have been between $500 and $12,000 each. The typical range is $1,000 to $10,000. A list of past grantees in each year can be found here. WFM doesn't support capital campaigns for building projects, scholarships, business loans, or endowment campaigns. The annual grant cycle typically opens in April. Letters of intent are accepted by email, and select applicants are invited to submit full proposals.
The foundation has an advisory committee composed of Montana women who handle grantmaking duties. You can learn more about each of these members on the Our Team page of the funder’s website.