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Mar 1, 2024

Celebrating Western Montana Women Nonprofit Leaders

March is Women’s History Month – a time dedicated to honoring and celebrating the contributions of women throughout history. We are seizing the moment to recognize the leadership of women in the nonprofit sphere. Women, who make up 73% of the nonprofit workforce according to Nonprofit Quarterly, are shaping the sector with their dedication and passion, and driving positive change for the health of communities across Western Montana.

In this blog, we spotlight some of the nonprofit heroines of Western Montana. Featuring 3 extraordinary women whose organizations we proudly partner with, we explore their leadership motivations by asking the question, “What drives your leadership for your organization and cause?” Their responses inspire us and amplify the vital role that women play in sparking meaningful change through nonprofits.

Ronnie Jo Horse (she/her), Executive Director of Western Native Voice

“My leadership is driven by a commitment deeply rooted in the rights of my People and all Tribal Nations. I strive to inspire and empower Native leadership for our Native communities’ prosperity. Western Native Voice provides essential resources for citizens to voice their concerns and shape decisions. Through our leadership, education, advocacy, and civic engagement programs, we work tirelessly to safeguard Native American rights and promote justice.”

Brittany Palmer (she/her), Executive Director of North Missoula Community Development Corporation (NMCDC)

“My personal experience with economic and housing inequity is my main motivation for leading the North Missoula Community Development Corporation in building community power, thriving neighborhoods, and affordable homes. The great thing about building community, though, is that when you get to know your neighbors you find that many of them are also dealing with the same large, systemic issues. Working together with community members, including our fantastic and driven staff, board members, and neighbors, to solve complex problems is both professionally and personally fulfilling!”

Kristina Lucero (Wsikem/she/her), Director of American Indian Governance and Policy Institute

“My Coast Salish heritage has instilled in me a sincere connection to spirituality, community, land, water, and animals. As my Tribe is located on an island, a lot of our interactions required different levels of diplomacy – from family representation at community meetings to engaging in trade with other Bands and non-Indigenous people. As the new Director of AIGPI, I am enthusiastic to draw on the Coast Salish practice of diplomacy to build relationships with Montana Tribal leaders and communities and utilize my advocacy background to support Tribal communities in achieving self-governance and reclaiming Indigenous perspectives within colonial structures.”

Ariella Fabra (she/they), Executive Director of Bitterroot Early Learning Network

“My leadership is driven by a profound belief in the transformative power of early childhood education. I am inspired by the potential to create a positive impact on children’s lives, families, and the community at large. Every child deserves a nurturing environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive. This belief propels me to advocate for accessible, high-quality childcare and educational programs. I am motivated by the dedicated team at Bitterroot Early Learning Network and the unwavering support of our community. Together, we strive to bridge educational gaps and foster a sense of community that enhances the lives of all we serve.”

Thank you to Ronnie Jo, Brittany, Kristina, Ariella and all the women making a difference through nonprofits across our state and our world. This Women’s History Month, join us in amplifying the women in our communities and celebrating their achievements!

Last year, we talked with Liz Moore, Executive Director of Montana Nonprofit Association about women’s leadership in the nonprofit sector. Read her interview here.