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Culbertson’s Leno Earns Rankin Grant

Culbertson’s Leno  Earns Rankin Grant
Nicole Leno
Culbertson’s Leno  Earns Rankin Grant
Nicole Leno

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation has awarded three $2,500 National Scholar Grants to Nicole Leno from Culbertson, Brenda Valerio from Helena and Ahwahne Williams from Ronan. Created at the bequest of America’s first congresswoman and Montana native, Jeannette Rankin, the foundation has furthered the legacy of its namesake by granting more than $4 million since 1976 to women 35 and older pursuing their first associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

“This grant will help open the path to my future. I am drawn to school and love being a student. This means the world to me and my little family,” said Nicole Leno of Culbertson, who is a single mother, business operations manager at a tribally owned company and holds associate’s degrees in business administration and business tech. She is currently studying business at Montana State University.

“The Jeannette Rankin Foundation is thrilled to welcome Nicole, Brenda and Ahwahne to our sisterhood of Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholars,” said Karen Sterk, CEO of JRF. “In their roles as single mothers, first-generation college students, Tribal members and community volunteers these women have already demonstrated much grit and determination. We know they have what it takes to make it across the graduation stage. Our grants and support system provide an extra lift to help get them there.”

Different from traditional scholarships, JRF’s grants may be used toward books, supplies, transportation, childcare and other living expenses as well as tuition and fees. Grant awards may be renewable for up to five years. As part of the award, grant recipients also have access to coaching, case management and the support of foundation alumnae. As a result of this multi-faceted support, JRF Scholars far exceed the national average in continuing their education and earning degrees, with 87 percent of grant recipients either graduating or continuing their studies, compared to the demographic average of 8–31 percent, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation provides unrestricted Scholar Grants to students who identify as women or nonbinary, are 35 and older and demonstrate financial need.

The foundation starts accepting National Scholar Grant applications every November. To learn more about their eligibility criteria and the application process, or to support the next generation of Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholars, visit rankinfoundation. org.

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