With Forward Montana and Forward MT Foundation’s Thanking Tuesday coming up — a day we get to celebrate all of the amazing people who make our work a success — I’m feeling all sorts of gratitude for the amazing staff, board, volunteers, members, and donors I get to work with every day. I’m not sure if it’s all the hormones from being pregnant or just the fact that y’all are amazing but as this day approaches, I’ve been feeling extra cheesy grateful.

Why? Here are three ways the people I work with and for ROCK:

  1. This year, we had our biggest staff ever, with remote team members all over the state and an entirely full office in Billings.  What’s even cooler, is that when we did our exit interviews with our temporary team members, they told us they felt connected to our team across the state and given the resources to grow as leaders at Forward Montana.
  2. Our community organizing internship program is thriving in Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings with 40 leaders graduating from our program and moving on to work with us in new ways, or continue their activism with other organizations or political campaigns. I attended our Missoula internship graduation this Monday and was overwhelmed by the positive feedback from Erin’s interns — from their enthusiasm of making GOTV calls to their new understanding of how organizations work to their connection to all of the other leaders in the program.
  3. Our high school program has reached new heights this year, with distinctive programs like our statewide Democracy Days voter registration drive, our Underage Democracy civics templates, and our fellowship program that graduated our inaugural class of five leaders! My favorite part is that these programs are all guided and led by high school students. We know that civic leadership starts early —  high school students don’t need to wait until they’re of voting age to impact their community.

In 2018, we’ve been able to work with more young leaders than ever before because of the incredible supporters we have, who continue to offer us guidance and financial support, in and out of election years. These supporters include foundations who are willing to believe in the power of young people, individual donors who want to see Montana thrive, and our young leaders, themselves who are making their first philanthropic or membership investment.

Thanks for helping us surpass our ambitious goals this year!

While I’m beyond proud of our team’s largest GOTV effort ever in Forward Montana history that led to a record-breaking youth turnout for a midterm, what really makes me tear up a bit is knowing how many amazing people have led to that success.

Thank YOU!

Rachel Huff-Doria has served as Forward Montana & Forward Montana Foundation’s Executive Director since 2015. When she’s not serving as the organization’s fearless leader, she’s looking for new hot springs to explore across Montana.