Social & Economic Wellbeing in Montana in Challenging Times: The United States Prosperity Index

The Legatum Institute | June 23, 2020



Webinar Recording


Presentation Slides


Watch the Montana edition of the US Prosperity Index webinar which provides an excellent overview of social and economic trends in the US and Montana. Keynote and local Big Sky guest speakers provide a look at county level Montana data. 

County Profile Data

These 15-page profiles, available for each of the 829 counties in the eight selected states, provide more detailed pillar, element, and indicator information, including rankings and scores, and how these have changed over time.


View Data


Rewriting the Rural Narrative

Benjamin Winchester, Judy LaPan | July 16, 2020 


Webinar Recording
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It seems the rural story has already been told. Small towns keep getting smaller.  Churches, schools, clinics, businesses, and now post offices, have closed their doors as the lucky few migrate out to the big cities. This deficit framework dominates how we discuss and envision our rural communities. However, the story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar. Learn how positive changes around migration, community involvement, economic development, and regional living have been occurring across the rural landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.

Judy LaPan, Retired Director, Richland County Health Department provides her insight from observing and guiding a rural community thorough times of tremendous change and upheaval all while setting the stage for meaningful cross-sector collaboration to improve health across the county.

This session includes presentation and ample Q&A.

Trials, Hope and Opportunity: Learning to use Design Thinking for Building Healthy Communities

Do Tank, Kayla Sanders | July 23, 2020 


Webinar Recording


  • Kristin Juliar, Director, Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center
  • Frankie Schiller, Business Designer & Head of High Impact Events, Do Tank
  • Kayla Sanders, Full-time rancher and Network Director of Healthy Granite County Network 

This webinar is an introduction to the concept of Design Thinking as a tool for creating community based approaches to building and strengthening healthy communities.  It includes small group breakout sessions that will jump start your thinking about your healthy communities journey. This webinar also reviews key factors to designing virtual ground rules for seamless and productive work in a virtual setting including meeting facilitation.

Resident Recruitment in a New Rural America

Benjamin Winchester, Sarah Calhoun | August 13, 2020 


Webinar Recording
Presentation Slides


  • Keynote: Benjamin Winchester, Research Fellow, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota and full-time resident of small town, rural Minnesota
  • Local perspective: Sarah Calhoun, Founding Owner of Red Ants Pants, Executive Director of Red Ants Pants Foundation and Producer of Red Ants Pants Music Festival

Welcoming in new residents is vital to the future of our rural communities. A documented “brain gain”, where people are moving to small towns and rural places since the 1970s, is providing a re-invigoration of social and economic assets.. We expect this trend to continue in high force following the pandemic of 2020 as some key trends have risen, especially the desire for remote living. This way of working in your community incorporates research in community development, economic development, and tourism.

Sarah Calhoun, Founding Owner of Red Ants Pants, Executive Director of Red Ants Pants Foundation and Producer of Red Ants Pants Music Festival provides a local Montana perspective about starting a business in a rural town, as well as the current need for resiliency and creativity during challenging times.

This session includes presentation and ample Q&A.

Do Tank #1 Community Context Assessment

Do Tank, Kayla Sanders | August 20, 2020


Webinar Recording
Do Tank Learning Hub


During this first activity, we explore your community’s needs within its geographic context. This assessment will underpin the 3-month strategic plan you develop in the final activity.

  • Frankie Schiller, Business Designer & Head of High Impact Events, Do Tank
  • Jarrod Lowery, Business Designer, Do Tank 

This is the first activity in a series of four that guides you through developing your community’s strategic plan. During this first activity, we introduce you to a tool that will help you assess your community’s needs and external context. This assessment underpins the strategic plan you develop in the final activity. Individually or in a working group, you learn how to engage in design thinking to strengthen your cross-sector efforts.

Do Tank’s sessions are progressive, where they build upon each other. 

Healthy Design for the Triple Bottom Line

Dan Burden, Mark Fenton | September 10, 2020


Webinar Recording*
Presentation Slides


*Due to a tech glitch, recording of this session started after the presentations. FYI.

  • Dan Burden, Director of Inspiration and Innovation - Blue Zones
  • Mark Fenton, Self-employed Consultant, Author, Activist and Designer for active communities

Mark Fenton and Dan Burden are leading national experts on the built environment, innovation, active communities and transportation. Burden has been recognized by TIME, the White House and others, and Fenton is an active transportation subject matter expert for the CDC. They lead a powerhouse presentation that transforms how you think about where you live. You will never see sidewalks, medians, trees, zoning or growth policies the same and you'll be inspired to incorporate these cost-efficient, economically energizing changes in your own town.

Plus you will see  examples from a wide variety of Rocky Mountain small to medium size towns and cities and and be given access to useful resources. 

List of Resources Mentioned During Webinar

How to Plan for the Future When Everything’s Up in the Air

Rebecca Ryan | September 17, 2020


Webinar Recording
Presentation Slides
Scenario Planning Blog


  • Rebecca Ryan, Founder - NEXT Generation Consulting

When you have no idea what your future will be, how can you plan? Futurist Rebecca Ryan leads you through a 6-step process to get clear and get ready by using tried-and-true techniques that the US Military, NATO, Fortune 500 companies, the World Bank, and others use to navigate disruption. 

Do Tank #2 Vision for the Future

Do Tank, Kayla Sanders | October 1, 2020


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Webinar Recording



Do Tank continues to work with participants in using design thinking to develop a strategic vision for local community healthy communities plans.

We create a compelling future state that is inspiring and that resonates with the needs of the people that you serve. When imagining your vision for the future, you will consider specific metrics and measurable outcomes you want to achieve.

Bike Walk Montana Summit

October 8, 2020


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Recording: Keynote


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Recording: Focus Session 1


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Recording: Focus Session 2


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Recording: Focus Session 3



9:30 – 10:30 am KEYNOTE

Dan Burden, Director of Inspiration and Innovation, Blue Zones.

  • 10:30 – 11 am Q&A with Mark Fenton and Dan Burden.
  • 11:00 – 11:30 am BREAK


11:30 – 12:00 pm FOCUS SESSION

Being an Effective Change Agent – intended for citizens –  Bicyclists, walkers, trail users, parents, advocates, non-profits, NGO’s. etc.

  • 12:00-12:30 pm Lightening round of local speakers
  • 12:30 – 1 pm Q&A with Mark Fenton and Dan Burden.
  • 1:00 – 1:30 pm BREAK


1:30 – 2:00 pm FOCUS SESSION

Leading for Change – intended for elected and appointed officials and boards, mayors, clerks, Chambers, etc.

  • 2:00-2:30 pm Lightening round of local speakers
  • 2:30 – 3 pm Q&A with Mark Fenton and Dan Burden.
  • 3:00 – 3:30 pm BREAK


3:30 – 4:00 pm FOCUS SESSION

Best Practices in Cost Efficient Design and Implementation – intended for engineers, planners, developers, public works, realtors, etc.

  • 4:00-4:30 pm Lightening round of local speakers
  • 4:30 – 5 pm Q&A with Mark Fenton and Dan Burden.
  • 5:00 pm END



Consider sharing a success, challenge, idea, or inspirational message. We will allow 4 slides or 1 video, limited to a total of two minutes. If you are interested, please email Doug with: (1) a short description, (2) which focus session you prefer to be a part of, and (3) whether you will have any slides or a video. We will limit the lightning rounds to 10 entries. We would like a wide variety of ideas within the general focus topic and we’d like to fill these up soon! If you know anyone that might want to participate, please email

Montana Resources & Success Stories

Local Montana Speakers | October 15, 2020 


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Webinar Recording



Presentation #1



Presentation #2



Local Montana speakers discuss how cross-sector collaboration allowed them to identify a community issue, strategically address the it and what success looked like. Other experts share relevant resources that you can use in your own town. 

  • Creating Housing Opportunities Montana Residents Can Afford, Katie Biggs, Marketing and Resource Development Manager, NeighborWorks Montana 
  • Public/Private partnership bringing accessible play and recreation to our community, J.P. Gallagher, Director, City-County of Butte-Silver Bow Parks & Recreation 
  • Montana PAX, Carol Ewen, MA, EdS, Director of School Mental Health Programs, Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development at the UM College of Health 

Do Tank #3 Resource Mapping

Do Tank, Kayla Sanders | October 22, 2020


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Webinar Recording


During this session, you build on the context you analyzed earlier and choose which community need(s) you want to improve. Then you will consider what resources are available to you and the resources that don’t exist that need to be created. 

Do Tank Canvas #4 Strategic Planning

Do Tank, Kayla Sanders | November 5, 2020



Webinar Recording


We build a plan for HOW we hope to achieve the vision that we have designed. We want to clearly articulate the critical next steps that will drive this work to action so you know exactly what needs to get done when you return to your community.

Finale with Local Montana Sucess Stories

November, 19 2020



Webinar Recording


Hear from a variety of Montana speakers as they discuss how cross-sector collaboration allowed them to identify a community issue, strategically address the issue and their success. They also share relevant resources that you can use in your own town. 

  • From Industrial Railroad to Urban Trail: Re-building a City for the Next 100 Years, Katharine King, Assistant Director, Community and Economic Development, City of Kalispell and Mark Rohweder, Professional Engineer, KLJ – Kalispell 
  • Messengers for Health: Improving the Health and Well-being of Crow Families, Alma McCormick, Executive Director, Messengers for Health Program, Apsáalooke (Crow) Reservation 
  • Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program and School Based Health Clinic, Kenneth Smoker Jr., Health Programs Specialist, Fort Peck Tribes