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Give Big Gallatin Valley raises $1.38 million for nonprofits

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Big Sky Discovery Academy students pose during the school’s Give Big Gallatin Valley kick-off party on May 2. The 24-hour fundraiser gathered $105,000 for the school, which will be put toward a remodel, a school bus, and scholarships, among more. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG SKY DISCOVERY ACADEMY

Big Sky Discovery Academy receives $109,500

By Bay Stephens EBS LOCAL EDITOR

BIG SKY – Give Big Gallatin Valley, a 24-hour celebration of giving hosted by the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, raised nearly $1.39 million dollars for nonprofits in Gallatin Valley and Big Sky between May 2-3. During the event, $109,500 was raised for Big Sky Discovery Academy, the second most raised for any single organization after Eagle Mount Bozeman.

Give Big raised $102,000 more than the previous year, according to Maggie Crum, the program and events manager for the Bozeman Area Community Foundation. Since 2015, the event has raised more than $4 million for Gallatin County nonprofits.

“As Gallatin County grows, the needs of our nonprofits will continue to grow as they try to meet increasing demands on their services. We are humbled by the outpouring of generosity from our community to support these organizations and their critical work,” said Bridget Wilkinson, Executive Director for the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, in a press release.

Big Sky Discovery Academy, a Montessori school in Big Sky Town Center, has experiences rapid growth over the past five years. Since the 2014-2015 school year, enrollment leaped 571 percent from seven students to 47. In the same time period, the number of instructors has increased from two to 17 and the school’s facility space has grown from 1,000 to 4,750 square feet, according to the school’s donor page.

Discovery began offering high school classes online through University of Nebraska this year, dedicating one of their few rooms as a space for high school students. As a result, flexibility in terms of space has been a challenge, according to Alvin.

For example, a roughly 7-by-7-foot space serves as the school’s room for staff and parent meetings, piano lessons, voice lessons, art storage—and Head of School Nettie Breuner’s office.

However, a $30,000 donation from the Stephen A. and Diana L. Goldberg Foundation is earmarked for a remodel of the school’s space, adding more rooms and soundproofing while also creating a functional outdoor play space and administrative offices.

Another donation is tagged for a 15-passenger school bus that will allow more flexibility of transport than the public transportation the school has used for its offsite activities.

Funding will also be set aside for scholarships.

“Right now, 42 percent of our student body is on some sort of financial assistance, and our goal is to raise that,” Alvin said. “We want Discovery to be accessible to all students [and] families that want it.”

Breuner, her staff, and the school’s board were excited and grateful.

“The Give Big response from our families, friends and supporters of Discovery was overwhelming,” Breuner said. “Our success in Give Big further strengthens our commitment to providing educational options and community enrichment programs for the community of Big Sky. Our growth is a team effort; we take the lead from our school and greater community as to how we can best provide alternatives and choices.”

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