Making our world a little better by promoting life-long learning, engagement, and excellence in the Billings, Montana area.
In our culture, most people tend to achieve their highest levels of learning and engagement with others in their childhood years. But why should that be? Jack Pelham founded We, Montana! to play a role in turning this around. Our goal is to use our Great Room in Billings to facilitate life-long learning and engagement in various ways, as well as to sponsor the occasional event in larger venues. Here are some quick bullets that highlight various projects we have in mind, as well as various overall goals. Please note that while we are starting with several homeschool-related projects, it is not our ultimate aim to restrict our efforts only to the homeschooling community. We have simply started “where we are”, and will grow from here.
- Facilitating Local Homeschooling Efforts. Our goal is to facilitate some things that are typically difficult for homeschoolers or homeschool co-ops to do excellently on a small scale. We have a “big tent” philosophy aimed at getting lots of people working together to provide the support that excellent programs really need. There’s no telling how much this idea might grow, but click here to see what we’ve got going on so far.
- Sing, Montana! We are ready to provide a permanent home for this fledgling choral organization, which is our own project, directed by We, Montana! Executive Director, Jack Pelham. The ensemble began in Spring of 2018, but failed to find enough singers to be viable. It is now on hiatus while we ponder how to reach more men. Meanwhile, we are taking the long view and training male singers in our homeschool/community chorus. The goal is to build a large men’s chorus for singers from age 13 to 120, and could build a similar group for women in the future. Membership in the group will be free, though we’ll expect members to be active in fundraising efforts. And part of that will be participating in paid concerts throughout the year. Website. Facebook page.
- Lectures, Seminars, Speeches. As we get more and more evolved, we’d like to use our facility as a community meeting space for special events.
FINDING A BUILDING
Done! We rented a modest space in November 2018, and began to remodel it to suit our needs. Perhaps we can make do in this space for a couple of years before we outgrow it. Our Great Room location is detailed here.
How do we plan to pay for all of this? With all our instruction being done pro bono at this time, we currently have an annual budget of about $17,000, which is being covered by donations so far, with a view toward becoming self-supporting. Our classes are free, but come Fall 2019, we’ll have decided on a “recommended donation” for those participating in our classes. But having high participation is more important to us than having high revenues, so we’ll encourage participation even from those who can’t afford to donate.
Regardless, the donations from students is not expected to meet more than half the budget. Meanwhile, about a third of it, we believe, can be gathered by local corporate donations, once we are granted federal tax-exempt status. And for most of the remaining part, we want to try some fundraising efforts–namely raffles. Then, as we continue to grow and become more sophisticated, we’ll learn to “sing for our supper”, raising money from ticket sales to certain high-quality performances that are worthy of a public audience.
As of May 2019, we are just about to seat a Board of Directors and to form a Montana nonprofit corporation, which will apply for Federal Tax-Exempt status.
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