HELENA – Monica Lindeen says she was looking for a new chance to serve the community when she heard about an open leadership position at YWCA Helena.

“I really wanted to do something that was closer to the ground in terms of advocating and helping out others, in particular women and children,” she said.

Now, the former state auditor is the group’s newest executive director. Her first day on the job was last week.

Lindeen said her initial goals are making sure YWCA provides a safe environment for the women and children living there and looking at the organization’s fundraising efforts to be sure they stay strong. She said budget limitations are always a major challenge for nonprofits like YWCA, especially in a political environment like today’s.

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“We’re really going to be looking at not only the money that we get in from donors here in the community, but the grants that we have as well, and whether or not those grants are going to continue over time,” she said.

Lindeen also wants to talk to people in the community to share information about what the YWCA does. She says the group’s mission can bring benefits for local economic development.

“We are helping these women go out into the public and become real benefits to this community – and good taxpayers as well,” she said.

YWCA Helena’s building on North Park Avenue downtown is turning 100 years old in 2018.

Lindeen said the organization is working on ways to use that centennial to bring attention to what it has accomplished and the needs it still has.

“The community here in Helena is so important to this organization,” she said. “We could not do what we do without them, and in particular their generosity.”

Lindeen served as Montana state auditor from 2009 to 2016. She was also a four-term state House member and former Democratic candidate for U.S. House and Montana Secretary of State.

She is replacing former YWCA executive director Kellie McBride, who took a new position as Lewis and Clark County’s Director of Restorative Justice and Court Services.