A Short History

The MA Foundation was established in 1999 to provide a means for Montana Academy parents, MA alumni, and other friends and supporters of the school to make charitable gifts in support of the Foundation’s three-fold mission: supporting research on problems and treatments associated with disruptions and/or delays in adolescent development;  increasing public understanding of these problems and their remedies; and providing emergency financial assistance to current MA families who experience an unforeseen financial crisis.

Because the Foundation began operations at the outset of the dot-com crash of 2000-2002, the members of the founding Board became focused first upon emergency assistance for families whose unexpected financial reverses left them unable to afford the completion of their children’s treatment. Over the years, and for a number of families, this urgently needed financial aid has made the difference between a student’s completing treatment or not.  Click here for more information about this dimension of the MAF’s mission.

The Montana Academy Foundation’s commitment to supporting research in the field of adolescent development and behavioral health has been a priority since the Foundation’s inception.  By 2006, this commitment began to produce notable results.  In the years that followed, an effort spearheaded by John McKinnon, MD, a founder of Montana Academy, explored in depth the recognition that many dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes in adolescents were the result of interrupted or delayed maturation.  Click here to read more about the Montana Adolescent Maturity Assessment (MAMA), a diagnostic tool developed and progressively refined by clinicians at Montana Academy.

Since 2001, the Foundation has published and distributed Sky Lines, a newsletter devoted to reporting on the Foundation’s activities and to furthering a national discussion on character development and on the challenges posed by delayed or interrupted maturity in adolescents.  In October, 2017, in Whitefish, MT, the Foundation sponsored a two-day conference focused specifically on attachment issues within an over-arching conference theme of Immaturity, Character Development, and Treatment of Adolescents. More than seventy psychologists, therapists, counselors, and educational consultants attended the two-day conference.

The Board of Directors of MAF continues to pursue opportunities to participate in–and influence–the growing national conversation on character development, maturity, and social/emotional learning.