Montana State University

MSU Leadership Institute supports Montana classrooms

December 31, 2013

Students from the MSU Leadership Institute were inspired by Charles Best, founder and CEO of, when Best lectured at MSU last spring to donate $2,000 to K-12 projects in Montana. The students selected projects in Hamilton, Helena, Laurel and Great Falls who were listed on the philanthropic website. Photo courtesy of MSU Leadership Institute.   High-Res Available

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Inspired by the example of one of its speakers, the Montana State University Leadership Institute has donated $2,000 to help school projects in Hamilton, Helena, Laurel and Great Falls.

The donation was inspired by Charles Best, founder and CEO of, who lectured at MSU last spring. Each audience member attending the lecture went home with a $50 gift card to give to the project of his or her choice.  The MSU Leadership Institute, sponsor of the lecture, received $2,000 to distribute to projects listed on the philanthropic website.

The student members of the MSU Leadership Institutes selected projects in Hamilton, Helena, Laurel and Great Falls based on need, demonstration of an ability to help enhance and enrich learning environments as well as ability to provide diverse, engaging experiences for the students in the classrooms. According to Carmen McSpadden, director of the Leadership Institute, the students selected from Montana projects listed on, public K-12 school projects that were also located in high poverty areas.

"Having grown up in Montana, it was humbling to see how many projects hit so close to home," said Maddie Cebuhar, a student associate at the institute and a senior studying business from Billings.

"By showing our support for K-12 classroom learning and growth, we hope to positively impact the future of the young minds across our state.”

DonorsChoose is a charity that enables philanthropists to put their money directly into educational projects of his or her choice. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the website, and donors can give any amount to the project that most inspires them. DonorsChoose offers philanthropists an opportunity to see where their contributions have gone while offering students also see where their funding originates.

Best's lecture detailed his life story from teaching in the inner city Bronx to creating a program that has impacted more than 6.6 million students with over $165 million in donations.

Additional information about DonorsChoose can be found at

For more information on the MSU Leadership Institute, call (406) 994-7275 or visit, or Twitter @MSU_Leadership.


Carmen McSpadden (406) 994-7667,