Big Brothers and Sisters of Big Sky Country

Defending Potential

aka Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country   |   Bozeman, MT   |


Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Ruling year info



Lander Bachert

Main address

15 S. 8th Ave

Bozeman, MT 59715 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County



NTEE code info

Big Brothers, Big Sisters (O31)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

When children don't have someone to look up to, confide in, and trust, their growth and development are stunted. Big Brothers Big Sisters works to provide children with another caring adult in their lives -- someone to encourage and help guide them.

In short, we are helping develop youth who are the best versions of themselves.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Community Based Program

Community-Based Program:
In the Community-Based program, we match volunteer mentors ("Bigs") with youth ("Littles"). These matches typically meet independently once a week. During these outings, they cultivate relationships that provide children with skills to manage everyday challenges.

We serve any child in our service area who wants or needs a positive adult role model. A volunteer Big becomes a friend to the child and the relationship is supported by professional staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Through simple friendship, Bigs experience the joy of helping children discover a world of possibilities and opportunities and Littles gain a stronger sense of self, resilience, and more.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

In our Site-Based programs, volunteers are matched with Littles in a supervised setting in elementary and middle schools, typically once a week during the academic year. Depending on the program, Littles range from Elementary school to High school aged and Bigs can be older students in Middle or High School or adults from the community. As their friendships evolve, volunteers and children discover ways to make school and learning fun.

The School-Based programs range from a STEM Sisters program that matches 8th grade girls with Kindergarten and 1st grade girls to work on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects, to a Beyond School program that matches local professionals with high school juniors and seniors to work on skills and knowledge that they will need upon graduation like writing resumes, interviewing, and budgeting which includes planning for student loans.

Site-Based programs are currently in Big Sky, Ennis, and Livingston.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

- provide children facing adversity with caring, long-term mentors (and we know ALL children can face adversity from time to time)
- help children achieve success in life, knowing that "success" looks different for each child because each child has distinct needs
- build our community
- offer caring, responsible adults in the community a way to support and encourage local children
- help "Bigs" and "Littles" (volunteers and children) have some fun!

To change kids' lives, we recruit, enroll, match, and support.

RECRUIT: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County reaches folks in the community and invites them to participate in our program. We make presentations to businesses, churches, organizations, and clubs; we conduct deliberate social media outreach, create PSAs and advertisements with radio and television stations, and of course rely in part on word-of-mouth.

In short, we invite adult volunteers and children (and high-school aged volunteers for our site-based programs) to join our program and have their lives changed.

ENROLL: We conduct thorough interviews with each potential "Big." Questions are purposeful and focus in part on child safety. We conduct background checks on each interviewed potential "Big" as well, and speak to at least 3 references. For children enrolling in the program, we conduct equally thorough interviews. We learn about potential participants' interests, personalities, lives, and goals. With this information, we move to the next step (MATCH).

MATCH: We make careful matches, not simply ANY match. We pair "Bigs" with "Littles" based on common interests and compatibility. Our goal is that matches last for 12-18 months, so we invest a lot of time and energy into proposing matches. When all parties agree on a match, we conduct an introductory in-person match meeting during which we facilitate all parties getting to know one another.

SUPPORT: Once Bigs and Littles are matched, our office professionally supports the relationship; they aren't simply "on their own"! We call or meet with Bigs, Littles, and Parents/Guardians regularly, monitoring the developing relationships' strength and troubleshooting when necessary. Child safety is our top priority, so these regular check-ins help ensure that kids in our programs are safe.

When Littles and Bigs are matched, they spend around 2 hours per week together. Some community-based matches enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, and playing soccer; others go to Arts on Fire, Laser Dash, and Wii Wednesday at the Bozeman Public Library. Matches may bake cookies, visit Museum of the Rockies and the Children's Museum, attend art classes, and play bingo. Site-based matches spend around one hour per week together and play games, talk, read together, and maybe even do homework. In short, Bigs and Littles spend quality time together each week, time that transforms both of them and particularly encourages the Little to become his or her best self. Quality time with someone who is invested in a child's present and future is the magic formula that inspires, reassures, and motivates children.

With Standards of Practice and guidelines from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, as well as a conscientious Board of Directors, we operate in a smart and lean way to offer an excellent service to the community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County's staff are bright, hard-working, professional, empathetic, and discerning people who deeply understand our mission.

We have 4 full-time staff members, 3 part-time staff members, 120+ volunteer "Bigs," and dozens of volunteer committee and event members.

Key personnel include:


Over the years, we have matched hundreds of local children and helped them grow and develop as a result of mentorship.

Our 2016 Youth Outcomes Survey demonstrates:
- 73.9% of kids in our program maintained or improved their educational expectations (aspirations for finishing high school, attending and completing college)
- 86.9% of kids in our program maintained or improved their reading/language arts scores at school. While reading/language arts are not a specific focus of our program, and indeed we do not encourage our mentors to conduct rigorous academic tutoring with their Littles, this finding nonetheless suggests that children in our program are gaining comprehension skills perhaps by way of quality conversations with their Bigs.
- 73.9% of kids in our program maintained or improved their feelings of "parental trust", one factor in their relationships with their parents/guardians. Again, while our program focuses on high-quality relationships between children and their MENTORS, this suggests that having another caring adult in a child's life helps improve the child's relationship with his or her parent/guardian, as well.

We've accomplished a lot in the 40+ years we've been part of this community. Continuing to change kids' lives is the work we'll continue to do.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,


Big Brothers and Sisters of Big Sky Country

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Big Brothers and Sisters of Big Sky Country

Board of directors
as of 08/02/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Devin Jones

ProForma Gateway Solutions and IV4 Wellness

Term: 2022 - 2023

Kendra Farrar

Stockman Bank

Brent Nagy


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Carl Nystuen

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Mckenzie Langner

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Bethany Cordell

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Sheryl Wambsgans

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Bobby Bachman


Dan Gibbons

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Nick Shull


Mike Maltaverne

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Sheryl Wambsgans

Element Law Group

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/2/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/26/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.