baby walking

Early Childhood Initiative

Our children, our future

When we first began digging into Montana’s health disparities, we heard time and again from people in Western Montana that we should focus on children in their earliest years, getting as far upstream as possible. If we could help provide a stable foundation from the start, we’d prevent future problems. We also heard loud and clear that every community is different in Montana, and in order to achieve real, sustainable impact, the work must be driven locally. Under that direction, Headwaters supports the following efforts:

Zero to Five Montana. Headwaters is the seed funder for the Zero to Five Initiative in Montana. Through this effort, Headwaters funds a select number of locally-driven, multi-sector collaborative groups working to advance opportunities for children ages 0-5 in Western Montana, as well as a statewide resource office. You can learn more about Zero to Five at We currently fund collaborative efforts in Beaverhead, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, and Silverbow counties.

If you are part of a local early childhood coalition effort in one of the other counties in our funding region and want to learn about funding opportunities, please reach out. Additionally, Headwaters will explore funding early childhood projects in communities where a collaborative does not exist. Contact Ashley Shaw, program officer.

Click here to read our full 2021 program plan.