Youth Development

Big Brothers and Sisters of Gallatin County

Defending Potential

aka Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County

Bozeman, MT


Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Ruling Year



Lander Bachert

Main Address

15 S. 8th Ave

Bozeman, MT 59716 USA


Youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gallatin County, Madison County, Belgrade, Bozeman, Mentoring





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

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 + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Community Based Program

Site Based Programs

Where we workNew!

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?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

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?

- 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: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Lander Bachert

One of the simplest, most straight-forward evaluations toward progress is watching the number of children matched with a mentor grow. We track monthly inquiry, interview, and match numbers. But the number of children matched tells only part of the story. How do we know we're facilitating HIGH QUALITY, life-changing matches?

To ensure the quality of our program, we track how long matches last on average, reasons for match closures, the strength of individual relationships (through monthly support and through yearly "Strength of Relationship" surveys), and youth outcomes.

We track youth outcomes in two ways:
1) Anecdotally. While data-driven movements are quick to dismiss anecdotes and stories, we believe they are still important. Personal stories from children, their parents/guardians, and their mentors tell us a lot about the progress we're making. A child who tries something new or achieves a major milestone because of his or her relationship with a mentor speaks volumes about the power of mentoring.
2) With data, via our annual Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS). This survey asks children in our program about their attitudes toward school, thoughts on and likelihood of participation in risky behaviors, quality of their relationships with peers and parents/guardians, and level of confidence, among other things.

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.

External Reviews


Big Brothers and Sisters of Gallatin County

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

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?

Not Applicable


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

Not Applicable


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

Not Applicable


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

Not Applicable


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

Not Applicable