HELENA — Montana State Fund is making a donation to an organization that provides scholarships for students whose parents are severely injured or killed on the job.
On Monday, State Fund leaders presented a $25,000 check to Kids’ Chance of Montana.
“A gift of $25,000 will go a long way,” said Peter Van Nice, Kids’ Chance of Montana’s president. “We really appreciate that; it’s a gracious gift.”
Kids’ Chance of Montana was founded in 2017, as an affiliate of Kids’ Chance of America. Since then, it has awarded 11 scholarships of between $2,500 and $3,500 to children of injured workers.
“We know we’re filling a niche; we know there’s a place for us, as the State Fund or the Kids’ Chance organization, to really fill a need that’s out there,” Van Nice said. “We feel that we can identify certain individuals that fit that criteria, that their life has been disrupted, and we can come in and help as much as we can.”
State Fund president and CEO Laurence Hubbard said their biggest goal is to prevent workplace accidents, but when accidents do happen, it’s important to support the families involved.
“Montana families have headwinds to fight all alone anyway – let alone if they’re injured on the job catastrophically,” he said. “Kids’ Chance is just one more mechanism to help young people get a start on their lives and their careers, through a decent education.”
In attendance for Monday’s presentation was Madison Haagenson, a civil engineering student at Montana State University and a 2018 and 2019 recipient of a Kids’ Chance scholarship. Her father was placed on permanent disability in 2017, after receiving back injuries when a truck grille guard fell on him.
“We’re adjusting to our ‘new normal,’ as we like to call it,” she said.
Haagenson said she’s grateful that Kids’ Chance was there to help students like her.
“It helps me not have to worry about financial issues, and I can worry more about my academic worries and passing my classes,” she said.
Kids’ Chance of Montana is one of 47 chapters of the national Kids’ Chance organization. You can find more information about the organization at their website .
This is the first year State Fund has contributed to Kids’ Chance. Hubbard said the fund previously had its own scholarship program specifically for children of workers killed on the job. The Kids’ Chance scholarships are available to more students.