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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Hopa Mountain Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Education, Educational Services, Environment

Mission: Hopa Mountain invests in rural and tribal citizen leaders, adults and youth, who are working to improve education, ecological health, and economic development.

Results: We have solid evaluation efforts in place to analyze and document the impact of Hopa Mountain's programs in rural and tribal communities throughout the Northern Rocky Mountain region.

Target demographics: Adult and youths in rural and tribal communities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 15,000

Geographic areas served: The Northern Rocky Mountain Region

Programs: Hopa Mountain's StoryMakers Program Youth Leadership Programs Native Science Field Centers Native Science Fellows Indigenous Scholars of Promise Citizen Leaders Workshops Strengthening the Circle Imagine Montana

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer is a caring and bright leader of Hopa, and, their outreach programs, to community programs help so many address issues in their tribal environments. Hopa is alway there to consult and work with you. I do suicide prevention among Native American youth, and we all hurt, sometime, and we're all in this together.

Jess24

Former staff

Rating: 5

Great non profit that helps teen learn leadership skills through nature! They are committed to the communities they serve and help those community members obtain their ultimate successes.

Donor

Rating: 5

HOPA helps so many. They put books in the hands of those who would not have them; they put high school scholars on the path to college admission; they help make GREAT leaders out of already good ones; and they provide leadership skills to the youth of Bozeman and surrounding areas. My husband and I help support HOPA because we know they are making a difference....that what they are doing works not only for now, but for generations to come.

artheart

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain and its premier program, Indigenous Scholars of Promise, for the past two years has supported and helped several Native American high-achieving high school students search for and connect with top colleges and universities! As a mentor organization, Hopa Mountain and ISP are making a huge difference in the lives of these mostly-rural youth who don't usually have an opportunity to know about college opportunities! Our twin daughters were two of the first four graduates through ISP and benefited immensely from the support and encouragement! And I know that Hopa Mountain is involved in many other community endeavors that are making a huge impact in rural Montana communities!

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain has been a transformational influence through its constant support for the conception and continuance of a program begun in October, 2011, Indigenous Scholars of Promise. Indigenous Scholars of Promise is a real and concrete support for the very highest-achieving Crow and Northern Cheyenne high school juniors and seniors who live on these reservations in Southeastern Montana, in a very remote part of the state. Many have traveled thousands of miles over long distances just to receive their educations and have already persevered through many obstacles and difficult situations in order to earn the distinction of top students, However, these students still are in need of support in terms of awareness of higher education opportunities, college application requirements and deadlines, and a general overview of the entire process of the college quest. Coming from rural areas with high poverty rates, these students have gained immeasurable benefits from the care and support of Hopa Mountain and Indigenous Scholars of Promise. Our twin daughters were two of the first four graduating senior ISPs and have gone on to study at a highly-regarded liberal arts college. ISP continues to support them and they will in turn stay involved in the program in order to support the other students who are coming up. The program continues to evolve and improve, gaining more depth and breadth. In June, 2012, the upcoming seniors were able to take a life-changing trip to visit several Ivy League colleges on the East Coast! Hopa Mountain and Indigenous Scholars of Promise is impacting the futures of these young scholars, their families, their tribes and their communities! Hopa Mountain is impacting eternity!

DeborahG

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have worked for non-profits and served on non-profit boards for almost forty years. Without hesitation I can tell you that I have never experienced a nonprofit with a compassionate heart and soul such as Hopa Mountain. This is a tough time to work in the nonprofit world, in this country, when many fingers - some very few rightfully so - point to the waste or enabling some nonprofits are responsible for. This is not the case with Hopa Mountain. Hopa Mountain gives 100% to give nonprofits in service to the neediest populations the tools and resources they need to help their people. The compassion they have for their communities and their clients is palpable, and their services are delivered with respect and humility. This nonprofit is human-scale, human-based and makes a difference - a REAL difference - at the grass roots. Hopa clients become like a family, and we are all encouraged to succeed and help others succeed. It is an incredible organization, and I am so glad they exist - they make the world a better place.

1 Jodi R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain is totally community oriented organization offering a wide array of services. I particularly appreciate the work being done to strengthen Native non-profit organizations, the one entity we need more of Indian Country. Hopa Mountain makes free training available to anyone who would like to participate via a number of webinars. Hopa has developed a great social media outreach campaign to keep the Native community up to date on Hopa activities. In addition, Hopa Mountain has several strong programs geared towards developing indigenous scientists. For example, Hopa is bringing a well known professor of environmental and forest biology, Dr. Robin Kimmerer, to the University of Montana in late February 2012. Kimmerer, director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, will present to a UM campus-wide audience. She will also work with Native students and discuss indigenous models in science application. What I write represents just a sliver of the great work being done at Hopa. When asked to join the Hopa Mountain board of directors in 2012-- I said, yes. I knew I would be working with a great team.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year, Hopa Mountain helped Chief Joseph Middle School celebrate Human Rights Day. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, talked about "Building Bridges Across Cultures." Through her experience, she showed the children that commitment to hope, community, and social responsibility can be interesting as well as fun.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain has played a large role in my life. I became involved with the organization right out of college and was quickly captivated by Bonnie (the organization's founder) and the entire Hopa team. Hopa is one of the most genuine and self-reflective organizations that I have had the pleasure to be a part of. The staff and amazing group of partners are committed to their work in a deep and meaningful way. I have spent time with many different non-profits and have found few with such conviction and contagious energy. I look forward to seeing how this organization continues to grow and impact the lives of those it touches.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Hopa Mountain for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and it was an absolutely transformative experience. The positive energy that this organization brings to their work, their willingness to listen, and the respect they have for the communities they work with sets them apart. I really believe that Hopa Mountain has found a uniquely beautiful yet effective approach to creating positive change from the community level up. As a VISTA volunteer, I grew tremendously both personally and professionally from my time with them. I am grateful for what they did for me, and what they work tirelessly to do for folks living in the Northern Rockies.

1 Art W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been following the growth and development of Hopa Mountain for the past six years, and have been a donor on several occasions. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer and her staff are an inspiration to many as they work with students and communities in the tribal and rural areas of the northern plains on the educational and environmental challenges that go with the territory. An added bonus is the teaching of best practices for non-profit management that Hopa Mountain offers to community organizations - something that is building stronger organizations in a region that sorely needs them. My family and I will definitely support Hopa Mountain in the future, because they truly epitomize the spirit that will save and revitalize communities and individuals in MT, ND, SD, and WY!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Hopa Mountain for the last seven years from a founding board member, to Americore Vista, and now a volunteer. I have witnessed the amazing work that Hopa does supporting locally and across the state with young leaders, families and people that are making a difference in their communities. Myself have become more heart centered being involved with Hopa Mountain and the incredible people we invite and are invited to have conversations with to listen and share. I continue to volunteer to be involved with Hopa and am honored to be connected with such vision, dedication and integrity. Laura Robin

1 Anne62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain has been making a positive difference in communities in Montana for years. They are at the forefront of combining the promotion of early literacy skills with native languages and culturally responsive methods, through their Story Makers program. They are investing in youth leadership: advancing native science practices through their Native Science Field Centers, while incorporating additional subjects, such as math and technology. Hopa Mountain's Strengthening the Circle supports Native non-profit start-ups through ongoing education and networking. Hopa Mountain has a knack for building community, connecting people, delivering quality advice, and generally working very well towards meeting their mission. Their staff is knowledgable, friendly and truely supportive. Hopa is a GREAT non-profit that really does impart hope to everyone they touch. May their circle continue to grow.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

It has been my privilege and pleasure to work with the wonderful folks at Hopa Mountain since its inception. Their programs have powerful and lasting impact in the rural and Native communities they serve. Hopa Mountain listens to the desires of the people and helps them develop the resources they need to fulfill the dreams thay have for their communities. As a mentor in the Strengthening the Circle program, I have enjoyed helping Native nonprofits to develop and implement marketing, community relations and media relations strategies to help "get the word out" about the work they each do in their respective communities.

1 April24

Client Served

Rating: 4

The executive director and I, as chairman of the board of a local non profit in Cheyenne country, were chosen as part of the first Circle gathering. What a great training to have so many diverse groups stepping up to help natives do good work in their communities. We have continued those relationships and have greatly benefitted. As with many other organizations, we would have never been able to afford their services. For me personally it was gratifying that when something was suggested- Hopa Mtn and crew listened and then took action to make it happen. They ask, how can we help and then DO it!! If you ever get the chance to meet Bonnie you will know exactly what I mean. If you want to start a non profit-here is a great place to start and with great people.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hopa Mountain is an agent of change in the rural and American Indian communities in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota. Its programs are carefully crafted to promote the well being of these communities. Using a bottom-up approach, in which people's voices take precedent, Hopa Mountain implements programs focusing on: the development of toddlers' early literacy (Story Makers), middle school students (Native Science Field Centers), high school students (Indigenous Scholars of Promise), American Indian college students with interest in STEM areas (Native Science Fellows), promotes future leaders with interest in developing Native non-profit organizations (Strengthening the Circle), and offers many community leadership programs and support to emerging non-profits organizations. Hopa's work is inspirational and vital to achieve a better tomorrow.

1 Dulaney C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The HOPA MOUNTAIN team is a compassionate and vibrant organization working with Native Americans, in particular youth to build character and leadership. We are indeed lucky to have them in the community. Whether its their "Story Makers " program, Youth Leadership or Seventh Generation Native American event, they deliver thoughtful and engaging programs that build stronger and better communities. Indeed, I'm proud to donate to HOPA., privileged to call their Executive Director, a friend. And honored to have delivered a virtual seminar on Grassroots Advocacy vs. Lobbying earlier this year. HOPA MOUNTAIN is a welcome part of our community that leads with vision, implementing a collaborative strategy. Thank you Bonnie and the HOPA MT team!

1 Pamela25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Bonnie Sawyer, the director for several years and have been impressed with how effectively she advocates for rural communities, in particular the Native American community. After being referred by Bonnie, I spent two days working with the Chippewa-Cree Nations on Rocky Boy Reservation. Many people there appreciate Hopa's work, particularly their work in leadership development and higher education for Native American students, a crucial need.

1 Evelyn D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I serve on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Unangax Culture (NWUC). Our Board President found Hopa Mountain while searching for a way to learn more about applying for grants. She applied for us to attend their Strengthening the Circle seminar and we were accepted. We went there not really knowing what to expect. What we encountered were the most helpful people and the most professionally run seminar. Clearly careful thought and preparation were put into this event. There were numerous classes on grant writing, marketing, strengthening Boards of Directors and more... everything that we needed to know to become better and enable us to do more in our communities were part of this event. Our needs for comfort, sleep and food were met as well. I went into that seminar knowing I did not have the skills to accomplish the things I wanted to do, I left there feeling as if I could do anything. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer is a powerhouse with endless energy, ideas and a willingness to help. Under her supervision and with her incredible staff, Hopa Mountain is doing so much to help so many. I am very grateful for the help they gave us. Evelyn Dye-Garcia