About the Program
The Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls commits $25 million to fund organizations creating pathways to prosperity for women and girls. This is an open call for applications, and selected charitable initiatives will receive up to $2 million, as well as opportunities for mentorship and additional support from Google. Native Women Launch, a W.E.L.L. program based out of MonTEC, was one of 34 organizations selected out of over 8,000 applicants globally.
The “Native Women Launch” project provides relevant and tribally diverse online courses focused on business ownership and personal finance. Courses will feature case studies of Montana native women and will be distributed through the existing channels of University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College, Blackfoot Community College, and the W.E.L.L. Women’s Business Center whose charge is to support urban, rural, and indigenous women across the state of Montana. Throughout the course of the grant, Native Women Launch hopes to develop further opportunities to deliver curriculum through tribal, economic development organizations, additional tribal colleges, and libraries.
The purpose of Blackfeet Community College is to provide the Blackfeet Nation and our “universal community” access to quality educational programs that prepare students for achievement in higher education, meaningful employment, basic skills instruction, and community education, while integrating the Blackfeet culture and language.
WELL supports Montana women in order to create more equitable, prosperous, and collaborative futures for all.
Montana Technology Enterprise Center is a high growth, technology-focused business incubator and serves as University of Montana’s startup hub and workforce development vehicle. WELL hosts programming both at MonTEC and at UM.
Meet the Team
Marlene Doney has owned and run an operational ranch, overseen procurement management for the Blackfeet Tribe, served as the Director of the Blackfeet Tribal Credit Program overseeing six people and the loan program, and is a native woman landowner in Browning, Montana. Currently, Marlene is the Chair of the Business and Information Technology Division at Blackfeet Community College. She graduated with an A.S. Business Management from Blackfeet Community 2005 with Honors, then went on to University of Montana where she earned a B.S. Business Administration and BA in Native American Studies 2009, and then finished her esteemed academic career at Jones International University graduating with a Business Administration and Accounting Masters with Cum Laude Honors 2015
Dacia: SKC business faculty, Dacia Whitworth, was a Native American woman entrepreneur whose work is committed to improving economic opportunities for Native entrepreneurs. Native American Woman, single mother, high school dropout with a master's degree, who is driven by her commitment to help others reach their full potential. In addition, she has successfully launched multiple businesses and has worked for successful tribal corporations and is known in her community as a leader.
Makenzi Skellengeris a recent graduate of Salish Kootenai College (SKC) and lives and works on the Confederated Salish Kootenai Reservation. She is a recent graduate of SKC’s Business Administration Program and is completing her MBA in American Indian Entrepreneurship at Gonzaga University.