Jodi Rave: Native center at UM raises enough money
"Native students at the University of Montana needed a hefty multimillion-dollar donation before any would witness a Native American Center built on campus - and as of Wednesday, the long wait is over.

“It feels awesome to be able to see a place coming together for the Native students,” said UM junior Nikki Johnson, a Gros Ventre from Montana's Fort Belknap Reservation. “The facilities we have are so small. When we get all the students together, it's crowded.”

Last October, UM Foundation representatives said construction on the center couldn't begin until the university raised at least $4 million to $5 million. A foundation spokesperson announced this week that the university could start building the center within the next 10 months.

“The commitments we have received, including another significant gift from lead donor Terry Payne, make us confident that we will be able to break ground next spring,” UM Foundation fundraiser Julia Horn said Wednesday.

Payne, chairman of Payne Financial Group - one of the country's most successful privately owned insurance agencies - is filling a monumental financial void left gaping since architectural plans for the center were made public nearly three years ago.

“I've always felt this was a vital project for the community, state and the nation,” said Payne on Wednesday from his Missoula office. “It's a universal project that transcends the university.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: UM Indian center pulls in donations (The Missoulian 7/19)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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