April 20, 2020


Karen Ogden
Communications Director
406-449-9173 (o); 406-788-4375 (c)


Over $160,000 in iGraduate Montana funds awarded to Montana organizations
Partnerships will promote high school graduation, college access and workforce development


HELENA— The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education announced today that 18 iGraduate Montana grants have been awarded to community and educational organizations to promote high school graduation and workforce development.

The grants of up to $10,000 will help schools, colleges and non-profits support projects and strategies such as apprenticeships, work-based learning, mentoring, dual enrollment, career fairs and college visits. Awardees will partner with Montana businesses and non-profits to help students explore in-demand careers and gain real-world experience.

“High school graduation, college access and workforce development are inextricably linked,” said Mike Halligan, Executive Director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. “Each of these 18 projects builds community partnerships in these areas, making these grants a community investment in the future of Montana’s youth and our state economy.”

The iGraduate Montana initiative is a partnership of the Montana University System and the Office of Public Instruction, funded by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

“This is the third year of the Montana Challenge Fund program and it’s more relevant than ever given the challenges we now face as a result of COVID-19,” said Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian. “Today’s high school graduates will play a leading role in revitalizing tomorrow’s economy. We need to make sure they’re prepared to compete in an economy and job market that may look quite different, with fewer jobs available for workers who don’t have post-high school education and training.”

Grants range from $5,000 to $10,000.

“The partnerships funded through iGraduateMontana help connect students from middle school to high school with career pathways that will position them for long-term success,” said Elsie Arntzen, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Career and Technical Education (CTE) that the grants will support is now more important than ever to Montana’s future.”  

Awardees are as follows:

Area Health Education Center-UM: $10,000
Big Sky/Ronan/UM: $10,000
Broader Impact Group (Missoula): $10,000
Darby High School: $6,900
Dawson County High School: $7,000
Helena WINS: $10,000
Jefferson High School: $10,000
Libby Middle School/High School: $5,000
Livingston School District & Park High School: $10,000
Polson High School: $10,000
Red Lodge Public School: $5,000
Ronan School District: $10,000
St. Ignatius High School: $10,000
Stone Child Community College: $10,000    
Troy High School: $10,000
United Way of Cascade County: $10,000
Valley Oak Education Resource Center (Hamilton): $10,000
Whitehall School District: $7,850

Additional information can be found at:

OCHE Contact: Angela McLean Director of American Indian and Minority Achievement and K-12 Partnerships 406-449-9131.