Making a Difference

Founded in 2001, the Helena Education Foundation has been making a difference in our local public schools since 2002.  As a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit, the Foundation serves all students – K-12 – as well as educators in the Helena School District.   Contributions to the Foundation are used to implement signature programs delivered each year including:

  • Fabulous Firsts gives to all first graders award-winning, hard-cover books to keep and full sets to libraries.
  • Carnival Classic kicks off each school year with a community-wide celebration of public education and enables school groups to raise funds for their activities.
  • Great Ideas Grants award $40,000 annually to educators for innovative projects and opportunities in and out of the classroom.
  • Spark Grants offer more frequent funding for projects of up to $500.
  • Celebration of Excellence honors distinguished graduating scholars, achievers and the educators who most inspired their success – celebrating excellence, drive and leadership.
  • Pen & Ink magazine features the creative works of student writers and artists.
  • Harrison Writing Awards recognize young writers with cash awards.
  • Great Conversations provides a night of thought-provoking, civil conversation about relevant topics to promote life-long learning
  • Let’s Talk About Great Teachers acknowledges, in conjunction with Great Conversations, exceptional educators who make a difference in the lives of students every day.
  • Issues Institutes provide unique learning opportunities on current and emerging topics affecting youth and families as well as relevant topics that elevate our community.
  • Special projects address pressing needs and take advantage of current opportunities. Recent special projects include Manufacturing a Strong Future for Helena made possible through a Boeing grant, Sensory Pathways, Specialists Backpacks. Lights On Helena, and Dancing Classrooms.

Big Impact

Since the Helena Education Foundation was incorporated in 2001:

  • $841,543 invested through Great Ideas Grants and Spark Grants
  • 120,250 youth and families engaged and informed through 52 Issues Institutes
  • 1,000 student and teacher pairs honored at Celebration of Excellence
  • 716 conversations with 5,012 youth and adults at Great Conversations
  • 13,600 books given to first graders and libraries through Fabulous Firsts
  • 938 student works published in Pen & Ink
  • 225 school and business collaborations forged through Trading Places
  • 30,450 enjoyed and celebrated Carnival Classic
  • $18,450 awarded to 71 student authors through Harrison Writing Awards
  • 130 educators recognized through Let’s Talk About Great Teachers

Your generosity ensures we will be able to continue impacting the educational experiences of our 8,000 public school children.

We at HEF are thoughtful, responsible, and efficient stewards of donations we receive and we practice transparency and accountability.

Sponsorship Opportunities

HEF provides sponsorship opportunities to businesses, groups, and individuals for all of our programs and special projects. We strive for excellence in our stewardship of the donations we receive and provide outstanding recognition, promotion and engagement opportunities for our funding partners. Businesses and individuals may sponsor a Great Ideas Grant, Spark Grant, students and teachers at Celebration of Excellence, Great Conversations, books for Fabulous Firsts, Carnival Classic, Pen & Ink magazine, Issues Institutes and special school and community-wide learning institutes.

State Employees

If you are an employee of the state of Montana, you may support the programs of the Helena Education Foundation through the State Employees Charitable Giving Campaign. The state of Montana has created an easy, online form specifically for state employees. You may make a one-time gift, or give through a payroll deduction.

The HEF’s SECGC code is 5128.

For Teachers and Administrators of the Helena School District

If you are an employee of the Helena School District, you may support the programs of the Helena Education Foundation through a payroll deduction using a simple form (HPS Payroll Deduction Form) that you can submit via interoffice mail. You may also make a one-time gift simply using the donate now button on this page.