Bigger Sky Kids Inc

Broadening Horizons through Arts Education

Wolf Point, MT   |  biggerskykids.org

Mission

Bigger Sky Kids sponsors after-school, art-based instruction and provides a safe place for children to participate in program activity. By gathering teachers and artists representing a wide range of talent and ensuring they have essential resources, we enable kids in our community to explore and express their creativity through visual arts, music, dance, drama, and more, to experience domestic arts such as cooking and sewing and to acquire computer literacy and other life skills

Ruling year info

2017

President

Charlene Matejovsky

Program Director

Barbara Olson

Main address

Po Box 750

Wolf Point, MT 59201 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-2944941

NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wolf Point, Montana, is a long way away from everywhere. With approximately 2,600 residents, it is the largest town on the Fort Peck Reservation, home to the Assiniboine and Sioux Nations. In 2018, when The Washington Post undertook to find the middle of nowhere—communities in the lower 48 states that are farthest from any metropolitan area of more than 75,000 people—Wolf Point came in third, behind Glasgow and Scobey. All three sit on the wind-swept, high plains of northeastern Montana. Only Wolf Point is on the reservation. In our remote community, there were no youth organizations—no Boys and Girls Club, no YWCA, no YMCA—that offered regular after-school activities for our kids. Cutbacks in funding have severely impacted arts programming in the schools, especially in the lower grades. Even access to the public library is restricted for children aged twelve and under. Simply put, for many young Wolf Pointers, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

drawing, painting, music, dancing, cooking, crocheting, journaling, computer art and more

Located just north of the Missouri River in northeastern Montana, Wolf Point sits on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. In the 2020 census, more than 50% of residents identified as American Indian. Another 36%, some of whom trace their roots back to early homesteaders, identified as White.
Bigger Sky Kids is a 501(c)3 nonprofit for after-school arts education incorporated in 2017 in the state of Montana and launched in 2018. We serve Wolf Point children from grades 4 through 8. B!SK’s program is cost-free to participating families. There are no ethnic, gender, means or other tests for participation.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Multiracial people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of children served at no cost to their families

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

American Indians, Multiracial people, People of European descent

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We work on the academic year. 2021 numbers reflect rebounding enrollments in the 2021-22 academic year. 2109 numbers reflect pre-Covid enrollments in the 2019-20 academic year.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Wolf Point, Montana, sits on the remote Fort Peck Reservation, home to the Assiniboine and Sioux nations. Bigger Sky Kids seeks to ensure that Wolf Point children in grades four through eight have regular, reliable access to after-school activities that evoke their creativity and curiosity. We make it possible for our children to interact with others in a safe, relaxed, well-provisioned environment and in the company of responsible adults. We hope to broaden their horizons through arts education. We look to help our kids acquire skills that will inspire and serve them for a lifetime.

1. Engage local people who know the population and have experience working in the community. Listen to what they have to say.

2. Reach out to parents, community organizations and local businesses. Ensure they know who we are, what we are doing, and what we hope to achieve. Ask for their help.

3. Scour nearby towns for artistic talent not available within the community— Native American artists, piano teachers, potters, weavers, and others. Find ways to bring them into our program.

4. Try to engage artists and volunteers for the long term to ensure as much consistency and constancy for our children as possible.

5. Pay attention to kids’ responses and needs and adapt programs accordingly.

6. Identify children who would benefit, but have not enrolled. Work to include them. Be prepared to spend quality time with them.

7. Secure up-to-date equipment and top-notch supplies so that the kids’ experience is as productive and positive as it can possibly be.

8. Maintain an adequate level of donation income and grant funding so that we don’t fail these kids.

9. Stay focused on our mission. Try not to get distracted. Try not to take on too much. But aim high.

Bigger Sky Kids represents a collaboration by organizers with diverse skill sets. From the very beginning, we envisioned two distinct but complementary portfolios—one to build and then maintain the box; the other to fill it.

Program Director Barbara Olson has assembled a dedicated team of local volunteers (generally about fifteen adults representing a wide variety of skills). They plan activities and run the program, look after community outreach and social networking, and assist our part-time Program Coordinator with logistics.

Char Matejovsky, the President of the Board, leads a volunteer team of former colleagues and other professionals who take responsibility for accounting, fundraising, grant writing, hiring, and reporting, thus leaving Wolf Point staff and volunteers free to do what they do best, without the burden of paperwork that comes with it.

Bigger Sky Kids partners with the local Lutheran church to provide an outstanding venue for program activities. This large, secure space comprises a central auditorium where students can move seamlessly from one activity to another, an alcove for reading and games, a commercial kitchen, and several classrooms for courses in art, music, dance, and computers.

Since we launched Bigger Sky Kids in March 2018, we have

• been awarded grants from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Montana Arts Council, Montana Community Foundation, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Roosevelt County Community Foundation, and Wolf Point Community Organization

• received donations from local churches and businesses

• brought in a working artist to teach visual arts, including painting with oils

• staged annual art exhibits in local venues such as the Roosevelt County Library and Doc'Z gallery

• exhibited kids’ paintings at the Roosevelt County Fair, where they've all won ribbons

• acquired enough musical instruments and computer equipment—laptops, digital pianos, guitars, ukuleles, and the like—to meet student demand

• performed dance routines and musical pieces at the Wolf Point variety show and in school programs

• served more meals, often prepared and served by Bigger Sky kids, than we can count

• added classes in Native American traditional dance

• secured funding to bring our visual artist back for a multiple-year residency

• initiated a track for art students who transition into high school to return as mentors

In 2021-22, sixty-eight kids enrolled in our program

What’s next?

• Expand the range of art classes and acquire relevant equipment as we identify new teachers and find funds to engage them

• Add more Native American art projects, such making and playing hand drums

• Help kids participate in regional programs, such as the Performing Arts Camp at the Summer Theater in Fort Peck, Montana

• Search for Native American artists willing to come to Wolf Point not only to teach but to talk to kids about their journeys

Financials

Bigger Sky Kids Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Bigger Sky Kids Inc

Board of directors
as of 08/20/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Char Matejovsky

Barbara Olson

Pat Stennes

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data