The funding data below highlight totals in Montana from grants of at least $5,000 for democratic activities. This funding summary compares data from three-year periods at two different time points: 2012-2014 and 2015-2017. The data include funding coming from outside of and within the state. Additional data and charts on voter participation and candidate demographics range from 2012 to 2019.
Read how Montana’s grantmakers have created a stronger civic infrastructure in these Bright Spot articles.
If you are a funder interested in highlighting your democracy work, please email our policy team to share your story.
Democracy Funding to Grantees in Montana
Key points from the data include:
- Compared to 2012-2014, funding declined in 2015-2017. However, the statistics are skewed by over half of the funding going toward the National Institute on Money and State Politics in Montana, which is why most democracy grantmaking came from out-of-state philanthropies.
- Around 3% of Montana’s funders continued to give to democracy causes in 2015-2017.
|Funding||$8.1 million||$6.6 million|
|Median Grant Amount||$31,380||$25,000|
|Portion of Funding in Montana*||3.8%||1.1%|
|Portion of Total Funders||4%||2.9%|
|Portion of Funding from In-State Funders||4%||8%|
|Funding per Resident||$7.96||$6.31|
*Excludes federal grants and relies on two datasets (Foundation Maps and Democracy Maps) updated at different frequencies.
- In 2017, the Montana Healthcare Foundation granted $50,000 to the Montana Budget and Policy Center to analyze Medicaid policy, as well as provide general operating support.
- Media: The Lee and Donna Metcalf Charitable Trust in Helena provided nearly $7,000 to the University of Montana Foundation in 2018. This funding supported journalism scholarships for University of Montana students.
Public Participation in DemocracyDemocracy grants provide members of the public with services to
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Elections Performance Index ranked Montana’s election performance 25th out of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. in 2016. This score, lower than its 2014 rank, is based on 17 election performance metrics, showing average rates in Montana on election participation and accessibility. Voter registration is not increasing but remains high while turnout is consistently above the national average. Turnout was especially strong in the 2018 midterms, with participation hardly dropping off from the previous presidential election.
Demographics of Candidates
Political candidacy is also a way to ensure that democracy is reflective of the public good, but not all demographic groups are equally likely to run for office in Montana. People of color were 14% of the population but 5% of total county, state and federal representatives in 2019. White males are the most elected demographic group, and in 2019, all three of its federal legislators were white males.
Candidate demographics in the 2014 and 2018 elections are like those of officeholders in 2015 and 2019, though men of color were a slightly smaller portion of the candidate pools in the 2014 and 2018 elections. Overall, people of color are not often running for office in Montana but are similarly likely to win as others. See our Bright Spot on Developing Young People’s Skills to Find Policy Solutions to learn how one Montana funder is fostering young people’s leadership skills around policy issues.