BILLINGS — Grace Montessori Academy recently secured nearly $400,000 in contributions, including a $40,000 grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust and a sizeable gift that provides a dollar-for-dollar match for new contributions, according to a press release.
The $400,000 raised is the result of a year-long fundraising effort by the Billings-based Christian Montessori school and will be used to expand the school's STEM education program and scholarship offerings.
"We are overwhelmed by the support of the community and people from all over Montana and beyond," said Pam Purcell, the school's board chair.
"The Murdock grant just confirms that we are providing an innovative and effective education that is earning support from even large, national foundations," she added.
Grace Montessori Academy provides child-centered, hands-on education for over 155 children.
As the school expands its emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. It is also incorporating agricultural studies to give students a Montana-specific STEM experience.
The Murdock grant will fund a new greenhouse for aquaponics- the process of growing plants in water rather than in soil.
Students will grow, harvest and later sell the produce to further support the school.
"At Grace, we never underestimate the potential of our students, our school, or our community," said Bethany Fuqua, the head of the school. "These gifts help us move toward our ultimate goal of becoming a STEM Certified school and removing financial barriers to a quality education."