People & Place

Looking to find a new career path and don’t know where to start? Trying to find a grant for a new organization of your own? Need some scholarship help in your education? The great state of Montana is full of amazing nonprofit organizations that benefit women. Here are examples of education- and employment-focused organizations that aim to help women achieve all that they are capable of.

WORD, Inc. (Women’s Opportunity and Resource Development), Missoula. Founded in 1986, WORD, Inc. focuses their efforts on women’s independence and active participation. With programs like Futures, which was designed to help young parents of Missoula with their education and work needs, WORD, Inc. puts a large emphasis on family. Visit them for education and job readiness counseling, leadership training, support groups, and much more.

Women’s Foundation of Montana, Helena. The Women’s Foundation of Montana strives to “create a brighter future for women and girls.” This organization believes that the lack of targeted education and job training, along with other factors, leads to a lack of women’s self-sufficiency. Their focus is on raising money to provide grants to Montana companies that fulfill their mission in creating this self-sufficiency and brighter futures for girls and women. Since 1999, the Women’s Foundation of Montana has provided over $460,000 in grants to almost 30 organizations.

Red Ants Pants Foundation, White Sulphur Springs. For years, working women were stuck wearing men’s work pants for their durability when working outdoors. Red Ants Pants wanted to change that. They have fashioned durable work pants made for women. The Foundation seeks to expand women’s leadership roles while preserving family farms and ranches in Montana. They also encourage and build self-reliance, especially in women, and to educate the public on maintaining the traditional work skills of farming and ranching. In addition to the ever-popular pants, Red Ants Pants has also started a music festival held each summer. Some of the proceeds of this growing festival also go back to the Red Ants Pants Foundation.

Women In Action, Big Sky. Founded in 2005, Women In Action serves the rural resort area of Big Sky. The organization works to provide affordable and accessible programs to women in the Big Sky area. With the high cost of living including healthcare, childcare, food and housing, Women In Action focuses their efforts on making Big Sky a place for women to raise their children while keeping their families and themselves healthy. One program in particular grants scholarships to fee-based camps in the summer and winter for kids of the area. They also run a counseling program to support women in all areas of need including work and academic concerns. In addition, Women In Action strives to inform, educate, and empower women on existing services in the area.

Dress For Success, Billings. As a local branch of a national nonprofit, Dress For Success offers interview and employment clothes to disadvantaged women to provide them with the first step in gaining independence. This service works by offering women in the area with a scheduled interview the chance to look the part and have a successful interview. After an interview, women can also exchange their clothes for a workday outfit as well. This provides them with a start to their new career on their way to becoming self-sufficient.

Montana Business and Professionals Foundation. With a mission of educating and empowering women, the Montana Business and Professionals Foundation aims to support Montana women to build their developing potential. Their main program, “Shooting Star”, subtitled “Montana Women: Rising to the Challenge,” provides grants to women to pursue their educational and professional goals. The program is supported through donations and support from Montana Business and Professional Women and others in the area. The Foundation itself supports women in areas such as professional development, personal fulfillment, education and training in starting a business and leadership development.

Soroptimist, Multiple locations. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls around the world. They offer scholarship opportunities and awards. The Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards, for example, assists women by giving them resources to improve their education and job prospects.

~Each of these organizations offer something special to the communities they serve: a chance for women to explore their potential in education and future employment. The hard work provided by the leaders of these groups goes a long way toward nurturing self-sufficient Montana women.