Women’s Foundation of Montana announces nearly $60K in grants

The Women’s Foundation of Montana, a project of the Montana Community Foundation, has made significant strides toward its goal of investing $100,000 for Montana women with the announcement of nearly $60,000 in new grants to organizations serving women and girls across the state.

The grants made include:

  • Hopa Mountain, Bozeman, statewide: $10,000.
  • CodeMontana, Bozeman, statewide: $10,000.
  • Montana State University Billings, Women’s Economic Research, Billings: $5,900.
  • Bitterroot Economic Development District (BREDD), Missoula: $5,000.
  • Montana Women Vote, Missoula, statewide: $5,000.
  • Women’s Resource Center, Dillon: 5,000.
  • Girl Scouts of Montana, Billings, statewide: $5,000.
  • Girls Using Their Strengths (GUTS!), Missoula: $4,704.
  • AAUW Start Smart Trainings, statewide: $4,000.
  • Montana Girls STEM Collaborative, Bozeman, statewide: $2,000.
  • Montana GEMS, Butte: $2,000.

“We are incredibly excited about the potential for advancement for Montana women represented by this substantial and strategic investment of nearly $60,000 in fine programs across the state,” said Jen Euell, Women’s Foundation program director. “We can’t wait to see the positive impact generated by our investment.”

The new grant funding is focused on creating systemic change to improve the economic status of women, supporting initiatives that give girls the tools to be financially successful, and programs that improve women’s economic security and equalize the pay gap.

The foundation advisory board gave preference to programs that showed innovation, collaboration and tangible, measurable results. The end result will be new opportunities for hundreds of Montana women and girls in financial education, leadership, entrepreneurship, wage-negotiation training and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming.

The $100,000 for Women Initiative aims to leverage these new grants through a matching gift challenge to double the impact of the funds, investing more than $100,000 in Montana women in this 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the state. This grant cycle is the largest investment of funds the Women’s Foundation of Montana has ever made in a single year.

For more information visit wfmontana.org.

Study: Montana’s beer and wine distributors boost economy

Montana’s beer and wine distributors support more than 2,000 jobs, with average earnings of nearly $54,000, according to a recent study by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The study, commissioned by the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association, found that distributors increase the number of jobs, levels of household income and tax revenues across the state.

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“We found that distributors make Montana’s economy larger, more prosperous and more populous,” said Colin Sorenson, a BBER research economist who conducted the study along with BBER Director Patrick Barkey.

BBER’s study found that Montana’s 22 beer and wine distributors have the following economic impacts:

  • An average of 2,048 additional permanent, year-round jobs in the state.
  • More than $120 million received by Montana households.
  • Disposable income of more than $100 million.
  • Nearly $200 million in sales from businesses and organizations based in Montana.
  • Tax and non-tax revenues, not including property taxes, of more than $36 million.

Distributor activity sustains nearly 1,200 jobs in wholesale trade and more than 800 additional jobs in manufacturing, state and local government, construction and other private-sector industries, the study found.

“A lot of our work is behind the scenes, so people may not realize the pivotal role we play in getting products to customers,” said Mike Markovich, a Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association board member. “For example, it would be pretty hard to get many of your favorite Montana craft beers in your local store without distributors to help make it happen. We are able to transport the beer of even small Montana breweries in our trucks alongside the nationally known beers, which provides a great diversity in products offered by Montana retailers.”

Missoula company’s mobile app reports record quarter growth

Goomzee, a Missoula-based provider of mobile technology services to real estate agents, brokers and Multiple Listing Services, announced sales of its Mobile MLS Apps have exceeded early expectations. When technology committees and executives compared Goomzee’s product to other alternatives, Goomzee was selected, and a record five MLS markets signed multi-year site license agreements with the company last quarter alone, according to CEO Mike Sparr.

“We first provided web-based Mobile MLS solutions for over 60,000 agents in 2009, and then completely redesigned our infrastructure before we publicly offered our native Mobile MLS Apps,” Sparr said. “MLS staff cite the reasons they select Goomzee is because we ‘get it,’ our solution is ‘insanely fast,’ and our commitment to data accuracy and rules compliance is second to none. Last quarter was very exciting and we quadrupled our profits from first quarter, increased our agent users over 30 percent, and our Mobile MLS App contract monthly revenue just surpassed our lead capture product revenue for the first time.”

The Goomzee Mobile MLS App supports iPhone, iPad and Android devices and is available in the respective app stores. It enables users to research real estate properties, share and collaborate with others, and even manage transactions and listings from mobile devices. The service can be configured on a per-market basis to offer public access or agent access or even invite-only public access.

To begin using the apps, agents log in to authenticate against their own MLS system or security vendor without any complex approval or registration process. The apps also include a “Demo Mode” so users or perspective MLSs can try it out.

Goomzee celebrated its 11th year in business in 2014. For more information, go to goomzee.com.

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Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@missoulian.com.

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