February 2023

Dear WFM Supporters,


I’m writing to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! This Valentine’s Robot was drawn just for you by my niece, Parker (age 6). The Valentine’s Robot was built to show love and to thank you for having such a big heart!

As a supporter of the Women’s Foundation of Montana, your generosity helps create a brighter future for women and girls. Your commitment to expanding opportunities for girls and to creating an economy that truly works for women is changing lives across our state.


From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything you do. 



Grantee Highlights

The Mountain | Plains Regional Native CDFI Coalition -

Was Highlighted for Reimagining Local and Regional Economies from the Ground Up. 

The Northwest Area Foundation recently published a blog post about how the Mountain | Plains Regional Native CDFI Coalition (the Coalition), alongside other Native CDFIs, is reimagining local and regional economies by innovating collective strategies to better serve their communities.

“The Coalition, like most Native CDFIs, flips the usual male-centered leadership model found in traditional financial institutions. Seven of the nine Coalition institutions are led by women. And they’re cultivating new approaches like trauma-infused training for staff members, onsite daycare, and deeply collaborative leadership.”

Learn more about how the Coalition’s collaborative approach draws on Native cultural strengths here.

(Sharon Small (left), Executive Director of People’s Partner for Community Development in Lame Deer, MT, and Angie Main (right), Executive Director of NACDC Financial Services in Browning, MT, share smiles during an in-person strategy session with the Coalition in New York City.)

Montana Women Vote brings together people from across the state to build community, discuss policy issues, and gain skills.

Last week, Montana Women Vote (MWV) hosted their 17th Annual Women’s Policy Leadership Institute (WPLI) in Helena. WPLI is held annually in February and features a lobby day in years that the legislature is in session. Attendees at this year’s WPLI came from all over the state to build community, learn about policy, and meet with legislators.


WFM is proud to have supported this impactful event for the past several years. We encourage you to keep an eye out for next year’s save the date and join Montana Women Vote at the 18th annual WPLI in 2024. 

Ashlie Wise talking with Rep. Courtney Sprunger (HD 7) and Rep. Tony Brockman (HD9) about housing affordability during WPLI’s Lobby Day on Feb. 10.)

WFM New Advisory Committee Members

WFM welcomes three new Advisory Committee Members: Erica McKeon-Hanson (Havre), Barbara Stiffarm (Harlem), and Ashlie Wise (Kalispell).


Meet Our New Advisory Committee Members: 

Erica McKeon-Hanson resides in Havre and is a fourth-generation Montanan, born and raised in the rural community of Malta. She spent the better part of her career working in two tribal communities as a tribal college faculty member. It was during that time she learned about community-based participatory research and was able to work with her students using these principles to address health needs identified by their community. Erica and her family enjoy spending time at the lake. When they’re not working or at the lake, they like to spend time at home, where they share two acres with three dogs and two cats.

Barbara Stiffarm joined Opportunity Link as Development Director in August 2006 and became Executive Director in 2009. Barb is also the Program Director for Vibrant Futures. She has an extensive background in community advocacy and economic development services to native and non-native communities. Barb is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe and has resided in Harlem, Montana since 1982. She and her husband have three children.

Ashlie Wise became engaged in the houselessness landscape to give back to the community after experiencing homelessness as a young adult. Her unique experience, paired with raising two children in rural Kalispell, Montana, has prepared her to become the Montana Youth Action Board Chair. As the Chair, she is given the opportunity to lead a diverse group of young adults in assisting agencies across Montana in implementing innovative solutions for engagement, outreach, and improving services for houseless youth and young adults in need of help. In her spare time, she finds herself traveling, skiing, working full-time in film & photography, as well as exploring Montana’s landscape through the eyes of her children.

Stay Up to Date

Follow our Advocacy Updates on our website, Facebook, and through our monthly eNewsletter as we follow the Montana Legislative Session.

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