Arts, Culture, and Humanities


Missoula, MT


VISION Humanities Montana will enrich the lives of all Montanans by fostering inquiry and stimulating civil and informed conversations about the human experience.


Humanities Montana believes in the capacity of the humanities—history, literature, philosophy, religious studies, ethics, and more—to

Stimulate reflection
Create knowledge
Resolve problems
Inspire delight.

We provide and support public programs that

Explore issues of enduring and contemporary concern
Encourage critical thinking
Examine civic issues
Deepen our understanding of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

Notes from the Nonprofit

We believe in the humanities and their impact on our state. We believe in communities coming together, in critical thinking, and in reflection. We believe in continuing to learn outside the walls of schools, about our neighbors, our past, and our world. We believe in supporting our libraries, museums, and community centers. We believe that the humanities bring people together from all walks of life, that they connect us and are the common ground beneath us.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Dr. Ken Egan

Main Address

311 Brantly

Missoula, MT 59812 USA


humanities grants speakers youth programs





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Humanities Organizations (A70)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Montana Conversations

Speakers in the Schools

Community Conversations


Hometown Humanities

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Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

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What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

By providing programs and grants on history, literature, Native American Studies, current affairs, and more all across the state, Humanities Montana will build communities, nurture families, and sustain Montana's vital cultural institutions.

1. Demonstrate the importance of humanities in everyday life
Humanities Montana has the unique mission of infusing Montana communities with public humanities programs of high quality. These programs show the value of humanistic studies such as literature, history, Native American Studies, philosophy, and more. They encourage Montanans to learn and reflect together.
a) Build Speakers Bureau and Speakers in the Schools into elite programs by focusing on high-quality programs with diverse topics and diversified funding base.
b) Determine viability and appeal of Montana Center for the Book programs, Letters About Literature and Montana Authors Project.
c) Discontinue sponsorship of Montana Festival of the Book.
d) Continue to improve evaluation of programs to enable Humanities Montana to demonstrate value to constituents, funders, and government agencies.
e) Expand Humanities Montana's resource base by increasing funding through private, foundation, and governmental support and building partnerships with humanities and other organizations.
f) Add staff strategically to assure Humanities Montana can deliver high-quality programs and provide staff assistance to nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the state.
g) Review number of board members and the ideal make-up of members to determine optimal board for advancing the organization's goals.
h) Strategically shape board committees and advisory groups to diversify and expand sources of funding and other resources to build a strong base of operations.

2. Bring Montanans together to promote community vitality
As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a 45-year commitment to public affairs programs, Humanities Montana is uniquely positioned to promote community vitality through hosting and funding civil and civic gatherings.
a) Build Hometown Humanities into a signature program by dedicating more resources, including funds and staff time, and planning for ongoing engagement with each host community after the Hometown Humanities year has ended.
b) Rebrand and expand funding for Reflect: Community Readings and Conversations to assure widest possible use.
c) Offer reading and discussion programs of high quality on an occasional basis, such as "Muslim Journeys" and “Standing Together Montana," a veterans' initiative.
d) Promote Opportunity Grants as an accessible means to support home-grown initiatives.

3. Montana Matters!: Exploring where we have been, where we are, and where we are going
Humanities Montana is ideally situated to encourage Montanans to share and learn more about their past, present, and future. In addition to the programs listed above, we can provide direct support through grants and special offerings—as well as staff guidance—for a wide range of initiatives exploring our state's story.
a) Organize occasional special events.
b) Simplify grant review calendar to enable equitable distribution of funds.
c) Continue Opportunity, Regular, 3-Year Sustaining, and Film grants.

We have a superb staff and dedicated, talented board. We are especially committed to understanding and meeting the needs of Montanans where they live. Toward that goal we are in constant performance improvement mode, as well as adapting our program offerings to current interests and concerns.

Our program team--Kim Anderson and Sarah Kahn--are experienced, savvy, responsive program developers and advocates. Kim has worked with Humanities Montana since 2000, first organizing the Montana Festival Book, then assuming a leadership role as Director of Programs and Grants. She excels at grant counseling and program development, such as Hometown Humanities.

Sarah Kahn brings experience building her own cultural nonprofit to Humanities Montana's programming efforts. She excels at understanding interests among millennials, as well as cutting-edge issues such as immigration and economic challenges.

Jason Neal serves as Humanities Montana's digital communications specialist. He brings experience as both a management consultant and gifted creative writer to the task. His web and marketing designs are inventive, fresh, and easily navigated.

Ken Egan, executive director, provides overall leadership to Humanities Montana. He manages the day-to-day operations, works extensively with the board of directors, maintains close working relationships with regional and national partners, and leads the ever-more effective fundraising efforts.

Humanities Montana's board of directors includes 18 top-flight volunteers from diverse backgrounds and regions. The board brings an array of gifts for strategic thinking, legal analysis, nonprofit experience, legislative know-how, academic expertise, and more.

We measure our success against the goals stated in our strategies above.

More than that, we constantly assess success through evaluations of all programs and grants. We have a rich set of data through evaluations provided by program sponsors, humanities presenters, program attendees, board and staff members who attend our funded events, and detailed grant final reports.

We will also use that essential measure: Are we able to provide ever more humanities opportunities for all Montanans? In other words, can we steadily increase the number of programs and grants awarded and increase audience numbers and participation? We have shown steady growth for the past five years and anticipate extending that trend line.

We pay close attention to what our partners and constituents share with us through surveys and more informal conversations. As part of our quality improvement efforts, we conduct constituent surveys every two-three years, then board and staff carefully review those results and consider changes to our strategies.

Finally, most difficult to gauge but so critical: Are we changing the cultures of Montana for the better? Are Montanans communicating with each other in more civil ways? Are difficult but vital ideas circulating in more communities? Are citizens applying more critical thinking to these ideas? In short, do more Montanans learn and reflect together in meaningful ways?

We have completed many of the concrete goals set forth in our strategies. For example, Hometown Humanities is truly a signature program for us and in fact received a national award in 2015!

Our grants are more accessible than in the past, with a user-friendly Opportunity Grant (our lowest level of funding) serving as a gateway to more complex projects. We are especially gratified to see more applications from smaller communities.

We have increased outreach to Montana's indigenous communities and will launch an American Indian Initiative in the next year that will make funding available for more projects in Indian Country.

Citizens commend us for encouraging more civil conversations about difficult issues for Montana communities. If anything, we would like to do more of these.

Still, as the funding needs indicate, we could do so much more with more funding. We could increase the number of Montana Conversations and Speakers in the Schools programs, and we could offer many more grants that enable Montanans to develop their own compelling programs.

We must continue to expand our base of funding through increased private and foundation giving.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
The board has created a member matrix that values diversity in all its forms. When staff positions become available, we seek every opportunity to diversify the staff.