20 things FMT has already accomplished in 2020

  1. Met with partners in other states to develop a strategic and unified youth vision!
  2. Rested our souls with much-deserved breaks and came back ready to GO this year #RestForRadicals
  3. Hired Voter Registration Organizers in Bozeman, Billings, and Missoula
  4. FMF on Ice! (Registered folx at a local Hockey game)
  5. Marched with thousands of people across Montana in the 2020 Women’s March 
  6. Registered over 140 new voters!
  7. Distributed Census Coasters across the state in Bozeman, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls and Havre.
  8. Worked with campuses across the state to develop their own voter engagement plans!
  9. Hired a High School Program Manager.
  10. Reached our goals for giving at the end of the year!
  11. Recruited a new intern class!
  12. Raised our internship stipends to $1,000
  13. Reserved a lodge in Paradise Valley for our fall 2020 High School Fellows retreat!
  14. Registration for Democracy Days went live.
  15. Published an opinion piece in two major newspapers highlighting the outcomes of the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project Survey
  16. Worked with over 20 community organizations and businesses across the state on the importance of the Census to our state. 
  17. Campaign Skills Training Registration went live — sign up today.
  18. Hosted a debate watch party at Colombos with our friends at New Leaders Council! 
  19. Our Missoula Field Manager, Erin Miller provided public comment at the Climate Council meeting in Missoula
  20. Prepared for our upcoming Missoula office move — see you at our house warming party coming SOON!

Voter Registration Organizers

Because you believe in a Montana that believes in you.

Forward Montana Foundation and Forward Montana (FMT) are dedicated to educating, engaging, and organizing young Montanans to shape their democracy to improve their lives and the lives of their fellow Montanans. We put young people on the front lines of civic engagement statewide, basing our efforts out of our offices in Missoula and Bozeman, and Billings.

We’re hiring Voter Registration Organizers who will lead our voter registration efforts in Bozeman, Missoula, & Billings. We’re looking for a creative field enthusiast ready to conduct voter registration on campus and in the community alike. In addition to coordinating and managing field efforts, Organizers will be responsible for recruiting volunteers, hitting metrics, and process voter registration (eg. data entry & quality control). Applicants should have initiative and be self-reliant and have a passion for making real, tangible change in their communities.


  • Must meet metric goals around both voter registration and issue advocacy in the field.
  • Identify creative locations to gather voter registration that reaches our target constituency, Montanans ages 18-34.
  • Provide proper training and support to interns and volunteers conducting voter registration. This includes, but is not limited to, keeping organized field schedules of volunteers and interns.
  • Manage all parts of processing voter registration from collection to quality control to data entry


Gotta-Have Skill Sets: Must be present for a candidate to move forward in the hiring process.

  • Passion for grassroots organizing and building youth power, especially field work
  • Ability to independently manage and complete multiple tasks and projects accurately and by the deadline
  • Demonstrated perseverance & creativity to hit metric goals

Nice-to-Have Skill Sets: Not required, but having these skills would make a candidate’s transition into the job more seamless for the individual and the organization.

  • Experience, either professional or voluntary, with field work
  • Comfort with frequent change and urgency 
  • Familiarity with your community’s campus & relationships with student groups and organizations

Strong Applicants will be:

  • Enthusiastic
  • A Team Player
  • Badass
  • Self Motivated
  • Funny (broadly defined)
  • Quirky
  • Cool (broadly defined)
  • Focused
  • Flexible

Working Conditions:

  • Shared office with regional field team
  • Comfortable conducting fieldwork, including tabling, canvassing, and street teaming, for up to 4 hours at a time, often in a stationary position
  • Occasional work on nights and weekends
  • Some travel may be required


  • Compensation: $12.00-$14.00 per hour for up to 20 hours per week
  • Contract length: Jan. 10th to May. 10th, 2020
  • Location: Bozeman, Missoula, & Billings

Women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply: please submit a cover letter that addresses why building youth power through voter registration is important & a resume to the appropriate regional Field Manager:

Missoula: Erin Miller, erin@forwardmontana.org

Bozeman: Emma Bode, emma@forwardmontana.org

Billings: Michael Nelson, michaeln@forwardmontana.org

Student Voter Day Wrap-up!

On Tuesday, we hosted Student Voter Day at six different campuses across the state. Through snowstorm after snowstorm, in Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Helena, and Havre, we helped almost 200 young people across the state make a #PlanToVote and handed out upwards of 800 of voter guides — ensuring that students had the opportunity to check out the issues that matter to young people. We chatted with young folks about the upcoming Census, and had tons of students practice filling it out on our new whiteboards. Check out all the highlights on our Forward Montana & Forward Montana Foundation Instagram.

Our field teams are hitting the GOTV hard — making thousands of calls across the state to young Montanans making sure they have a plan to vote. So far we’ve made almost 8,000 calls and have contacted every single young voter in Helena (literally every single one)!

We’re FIVE days away! Our teams will be calling, texting, hosting all the call nights, and distributing all the voter guides. Feel free to reach out to your local Field Manager for volunteer opportunities, to pick up some voter guides, or if you have any questions concerning the upcoming election!

Hannah Pate, Statewide Field Manager  

Welcome Kiersten, new Executive Director!

Our Board of Directors has been on a nationwide search for the next strategic leader to take Forward Montana into 2020 and beyond.

And we have some BIG news to share with you.

On behalf of the Forward Montana and Forward Montana Foundation Boards, we’re excited to introduce you to our incoming Executive Director, Kiersten Iwai.

Welcome Kiersten!

Although Kiersten brings new experiences and expertise in digital communications, climate justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion frameworks that will drive us forward, she is anything but new to Forward Montana! A long-time supporter, Kiersten is a 25 under 25 Awardee, a trainer at the MT Youth Organizing Summit, and a Forward MT Foundation Board Member.

Kiersten Iwai is an advocate, trainer, campaigner, and community organizer. Most recently, she was a Digital and ClimateCampaigner with Stand.earth using international corporate campaigns to fight the climate crisis. She earned her Masters of Public Administration from Montana State University. She also served survivors of domestic violence as a weekend advocate for Haven and co-founded Earthtone Outside MT, an organization dedicated to elevating the visibility of Montana’s diverse outdoor enthusiasts. If not fighting structures of oppression you can find Kiersten exploring in the mountains or dancing in the streets.

We’re incredibly excited to support Kiersten in her new role as she draws on these skills and experiences to launch a new chapter for Forward Montana.

What’s next?

Kiersten will be kicking off her tenure as Executive Director on November 2nd. As Rachel transitions out of the ED role, she will be staying on as an advisor into December to ensure Forward Montana is ready to rock’n’roll in 2020. 

With enthusiasm,

Allie Hay, Chair of Forward Montana’s Board of Directors.

Jeremy Osborn, Chair of Forward Montana Foundation’s Board of Directors.

We’re passing the torch!

Forward Montana is stoked to be announcing an Executive Director search for our next leader to steer us through 2020 and beyond! 

While we’ll miss our current leadership team, Rachel and Kiah, who are transitioning into new phases of their lives within the year, we’re proud that Forward Montana continues to grow strong leaders who go on to share their skills, energy, and talent with organizations and movements all across our state and nation.

Never before have we had such a large, diverse group of young leaders within Forward Montana’s staff, board, and broader network ready to step up and take the reigns of this organization. Making space for new leaders is what Forward Montana does best and we’re excited to announce that Amara, our Bozeman Field Manager, will be taking on a statewide role of Program Director. Amara is a Forward Montana leader through and though — starting as an intern and then moving on to roles as fellow and high school coordinator.

In the past year, we’ve ramped up our work to new heights — sustaining three year round offices in Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings, while winning BIG on education with the 6-Mill Levy, student debt support for young farmers, and a local Billings school levy. We’ve continued to build groundswells of young leaders to make waves on public lands, climate change, affordable housing, and LGBTQ equality. Meanwhile, Forward Montana’s work on voting rights has led to polling locations being monitored and moved, re-shaping our electorate. Young Montanans are leading a culture of civic engagement at our high schools, universities, and workplaces — and it shows. In 2018, Montana had the largest youth voter engagement increase of any state.

Coming off these tidal waves of success, we are thrilled to pass the torch to the next Executive Director who will continue to lead the fight for a government that reflects the diverse voices and vision of our generation.

Help us find our next Executive Director by sharing this job posting far and wide,and stay with our team as we transition into our next phase of life!

PS: As Amara is moving into a new role, we’re also stoked to be hiring for a new Bozeman Field Manager and a temporary Statewide Field Organizer. Help us spread the word!

Allie Hay is Chair of Forward Montana’s Board of Directors.

Jeremy Osborn is Chair of Forward Montana Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Grab your clipboards! Let’s get to work.

One of the things we love most about Forward Montana is working with young people to change our local communities for the better. We know that the combo of passion + conversation + clipboards is unstoppable in creating local and statewide change, and as organizers we’ve seen that change first-hand over the years.

Like when, young people at Forward Montana made phone calls and knocked doors that resulted in the final votes that passed school bonds in Missoula and Yellowstone counties — and when young leaders turned out their friends over and over to pass non-discrimination ordinances in Bozeman and Missoula — and when MSU students demanded voting accessibility and moved a polling location to campus. There are so many local wins because young Montanans turn out time and time again for each other.

But WTF do we do about those really BIG problems like climate change and nationwide student debt? It can feel hella overwhelming to think about how a group in Montana is supposed to impact the country or even the entire globe.

The truth is, sometimes we feel overwhelmed too. But after we re-charge with a little help from our friends via inner tube water polo or belting our favorite karaoke classics we’re ready to shake off those big problem blues through some good old fashioned organizing.

Just last week we had two cool opportunities to make sure young Montanans are taking action now AND looking ahead at the big picture.

With Vice President Mike Pence showing up in Billings and Yellowstone, I joined some friends at Planned Parenthood to stand in protest against the administration’s moves to de-fund Planned Parenthood, break down protections for LGBTQ+ people, and devastate our National Parks and public lands. Chanting, cheering, and gathering with my fellow organizers recharges my spirit and inspires me to take more action at the federal level! — Michael

Leaders from the Alliance for Youth Action, a network of young person-led organizations from all across the country, met in Missoula last week to connect, share lessons, and plan ahead for 2020. How can we make sure our values and needs as a generation are front and center on the national stage as 2020 approaches? How do we grow a movement that uplifts young people from Milwaukee to Montana? I was so excited for Forward Montana to host this amazing group of people in Missoula that will help us build towards greater young person-led power in 2020. — Rachel

We’re not sure what the future holds but we do know that to tackle problems as big as climate change, affordable healthcare, wages, and electoral reform, we need a large network of invested young people in communities all over the globe with fire in their bellies and clipboards in their hands to lead the way.

Are you ready? Now’s the time to:

  1. Sign up to volunteer
  2. Become a monthly Rockstar donor
  3. Apply for our internship

Rachel Huff-Doria is Forward Montana’s Executive Director.

Inside the office, Rachel leads our board and staff in planning efforts by asking heady questions like, “How can we ensure young Montanans’ values are better represented in our government?” and “How do we make sure the coffee pot is turned off when we leave?”. Outside the office, Rachel LOVES frequenting Montana hot spots–hot springs, saunas, bubble baths, sunny spots on the floor.



Michael Nelson is Forward Montana’s Billings Field Manager.

Inside the Office: Michael can be found ugly crying every time our volunteers and interns change the world (even by a little bit). Outside the Office: Michael loves drinking dry cabernets to “improve his French”.

Join the Forward Montana Board!

I have served on Forward Montana’s Board of Directors for years. It’s been exciting to see how this organization has grown, and the many faces of its’ leadership.

One of the best things about Forward Montana is that we are a cooperative organization: our Board of Directors is made up of and elected by Forward Montana members each year. Applications are due by June 14th, and will be voted on by our membership starting June 17th.  You are strongly encouraged to campaign for your board position, but only votes by Forward Montana members will be counted.

Apply to be on Forward Montana’s 2019 board today!

What are Forward Montana members? To be a member, you have given $10 (either one-time or as a Rockstar monthly donor) or volunteered two hours in the last year. If you aren’t sure about the status of your membership, email Sarah Korn.

Jess Grennan was a founder of Forward Montana and has served on the board for over 6 years helping to steward the organization into the strategic, political power building, grassroots leader it is today.

I’m back!

By Rachel Huff-Doria, Executive Director

Transitions always bring new opportunities and new leaders to the forefront. While I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve been inspired by our staff, interns, and volunteers who have been making waves across the state.

Week after week, Forward Montana leaders continued to make headlines and BIG changes for our community:

Montana see big increase in young voters

Billings passes first high school levy in 12 years

New Montana law creates farmer-rancher student debt assistance

There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of your first win as a young organizer — the realization that your passion and your hard work via phone calls, door knocks, and testimony have created change in your community.

What was really cool for me about these wins was getting to hear more about the leadership growth of so many young people I already knew. Michael, our Billings Field Manager, told me about Isabelle and Clara, two former Billings interns, who made sure high school students’ voices were front and center during the Billings levy campaign. Kiah, our Deputy Director, told me how Rachel, a leader at Carroll College who has hosted National Voter Registration Day events with us, advocated for farmer-rancher student debt assistance, as a young person growing up on a family farm.

Our staff also told me about new leaders involved — interns and volunteers who made their first phone call to a legislator, carried their first clipboard, and got their first dose of democracy.  

While I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve had the unique opportunity to reset and reflect on what Forward Montana does best — investing in new leaders for the long haul. I’m excited to be back and continue to give space and opportunity to these voices.

Rachel Huff-Doria is Forward Montana’s Executive Director.

Inside the office, Rachel leads our board and staff in planning efforts by asking heady questions like, “How can we ensure young Montanans’ values are better represented in our government?” and “How do we make sure the coffee pot is turned off when we leave?”. Outside the office, Rachel LOVES frequenting Montana hot spots–hot springs, saunas, bubble baths, sunny spots on the floor.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Conservation

Public Lands

SB 24 will increase funding for trails and outdoor recreation generating roughly $1.8 million for trails, state parks, and fishing access sites! It does this by increasing the voluntary motor vehicle registration donation from $6 to $9, and it’s the only funding increase for public lands to make it through the legislature this session.

Climate Justice

Two bills will help the Colstrip community transition away from depending on coal. SB 191 will allow local governments to establish trust funds from their coal-related revenue to pay for that future transition. And, SB 201 will require coal mining companies to cover worker pensions even if the company goes bankrupt.

We can also celebrate a truly dumbass bill that died! HB 418, sponsored by Rep. Joe Read, would have literally enshrined climate change denial into state law and encouraged teaching it to children. Read’s logic, by the way, was that all climate scientists who believe in climate change have a misunderstanding of physics. A hearty goodbye to this bill! I’m going to try to be a good sport and not dance on its grave too hard. Maybe just a little jig. 

Plus, we are FINALLY free from stressing over coal bailouts in all their iterations. SB 331 is dead and gone, and no last-minute compromises were pulled together to replace it. That means NorthWestern won’t be able to pass the consequences of investing in Colstrip off to ratepayers — at least not this session!

There are still some big opportunities to hold Northwestern Energy and the Public Service Commission accountable. You can learn more in this blog by Caitlin Piserchia, FMF’s Conservation Outreach Fellow.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Economic Justice

Medicaid Expansion

Let’s quickly recap the ups and downs of Medicaid expansion this session. In the beginning, we were huge supporters of HB 425, which was Rep. Mary Caferro’s bill to continue expansion without adding any new hoops for enrollees to jump through. But that bill was killed by the House and Human Services committee on March 26, which left us with just one chance to continue the program: Rep. Ed Buttrey’s HB 658.

Originally, HB 658 contained some completely unpalatable work and reporting requirements that would cause up to half of Medicaid enrollees to lose coverage. I was Super Not Psyched©.

But, the bill saw a lot of amendments and compromises that made it a LOT better — like exempting a majority of Montanans, including students, from work requirements automatically, instead of making them fill out endless paperwork to prove their exemptions.

It was a HUGE fight to get this thing through the legislature. Ultimately, Medicaid Expansion passed because 1000s of Montanans reached out to legislators throughout the session.

Did you show up to the Capitol or reach out to your legislators on this issue? Give yourself two pats on the back! One from yourself as a congratulations for being awesome, and one as a thanks from me, a #BrokeAF 22-year-old who gets to keep her health insurance.

Student Issues

In other successes that will change the lives of young Montanans: Young farmer and rancher student debt assistance passed through the legislature! HB 431 will use the existing Growth Through Agriculture fund to help farmers and ranchers pay off up to 50 percent of their student debt. This bill will support young folks entering the aging ag industry and create economic sustainability in Montana’s rural communities.

The legislature also passed an infrastructure bill, and it finally includes funding for Montana State’s ancient Romney Hall! MSU has outgrown its campus and needs to add new classroom space — and a $25 million renovation to add 19 classrooms to Romney will help with overcrowding. Congrats to all the people that worked on this, especially the student lobbyists, for winning this years-long fight for their school, and HELLO to a new veterans’ center, disabilities center and writing center!

In slightly more bummer news, a bill to make the 6 Mill Levy funding for the Montana University System permanent died in a house committee. This means that unless permanency passes in a future session, in 2028 students and their allies will have to spend countless hours and likely millions of dollars campaigning during a presidential election year. Hard pass. Keep this in mind for 2021, friends!

Student lobbyists worked hard to restore the $5 million in state financial aid for Montana University System students that has been cut from the budget since 2015. Funding for need-based aid was part of the Governor’s original budget, but lawmakers cut it down to $2 million. An amendment was brought to the House floor to bring it back to $5 million, but this failed almost along party lines.

Last but not least, Sen. Pat Flowers proposed an interim study (that’s a study done between legislative sessions, with the goal of helping lawmakers be better informed) on student debt. It would’ve not only looked at the causes and historical context of the student debt crisis, but also have involved key stakeholders, like the Montana Associated Students, in looking at possible solutions. This bill passed the Senate, but then stalled in the House Education Committee without a hearing.

Tenants’ Rights

As always, the legislature had some landlords (*cough* Sen. Roger & Rep. Peggy Webb *cough*) who brought bills that could do some serious harm to tenants. One of the more egregious was SB 184, which would have not only expanded the definition of “damages” to allow landlords to charge their tenants for almost anything, but also let the landlords send their tenants’ bills to collections without a court order affirming there’s actually a debt.

A lot of young people aren’t aware that getting sent to collections can straight up ruin your credit, making it harder to get loans or even find a place to live in the future! Landlords should absolutely not have that much authority without a court making sure it’s legit. Luckily, this bill was killed in the Senate, but it’s still frustrating that landlords (*COUGH* SEN. ROGER & REP PEGGY WEBB *COUGH*) can bring this kind of legislation with zero consequences.

On the other side of things, Rep. Emma Kerr-Carpenter (whom FMT Voter Fund endorsed in the 2018 elections — not to brag or anything) introduced HB 380, which would have introduced a penalty for landlords who wrongfully withhold security deposits. Instead of simply having to return the deposit, they’d have to pay double. The tenant would still have to take the landlord to court — it would simply disincentivize wrongfully withholding and punish bad landlords. This was actually part of Montana law until 1993. HB 380 was tabled in the House Judiciary Committee, but hopefully we’ll see it again next session.