Chambers Family Fund partnered with the Montana Community Foundation to create Montana’s only women’s fund in 2000. The Women’s Foundation of Montana promotes economic self-sufficiency for women and works to create a brighter future for girls and women in Montana.
Poverty, lack of education and job training, teen pregnancy and isolation all perpetuate the insecurities of women’s lives and girls’ futures in Montana. The Women’s Foundation of Montana is committed to overcoming these barriers and empowering women and girls to realize their potential. To date, the organization has made grants of nearly $500,000, thereby significantly increasing the resources available to organizations supporting women and girls in Montana.
The Women’s Foundation of Montana led a payday lending reform ballot initiative in 2010 and allocated $25,000 to support the effort. Under Montana law, lenders could charge up to 650% annual interest on payday loans and 300% annual interest on car title loans. Between 2005 and 2008, more than $35 million was paid in interest and fees to predatory lenders in Montana. In November 2010, the initiative passed, capping the annual interest rate on payday and car title loans at 36%.
Montana has one of the highest rates of children living in poverty in the United States, most of whom are in single parent households, headed primarily by women.