Bridging the Rural–Urban Divide

One Montana's mission is to create a vibrant Montana by connecting rural and urban communities

One Montana is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Bozeman, Montana, dedicated to moving Montana forward and ensuring a positive future for both rural and urban communities – helping them work together toward success.

We embrace collaboration as the most promising way, perhaps the only way, to address the difficult issues of our time. Our goal is to change the way we think and act about rural and urban communities from divide to connect.

Why is this important? As our country has become more and more divided it has become increasingly difficult to address serious problems and find creative solutions. And the division between rural and urban has become one of the widest we face. Rural and urban populations feel disconnected from one another – unacknowledged, irrelevant. The “rural-urban divide” is a real barrier to a healthy future for our state and our country. Action is needed to help us understand our vital connection. We must have tools to enable us to recognize each other’s unique challenges and to work together to solve them. This is One Montana

We convene people who may have different viewpoints but need to work together to address common challenges. It was started by former Republican Senator Jim Peterson of Buffalo and Bill Bryan, who is known as a democrat and founder of Off the Beaten Path in Bozeman. One Montana is now a unique collection of very diverse Montanans whose purpose is to take on multiple projects and difficult issues to help bring rural and urban interests together.

We are currently accomplishing our mission with the following collaborative projects:

Common Ground – An initiative to build trust and better working relationships between landowners and sportsmen in Montana. 

Montana Teenpreneur Challenge – An annual statewide contest open to all innovative Montana high school students. It is designed to celebrate their skills as business developers, real-world problem solvers, and persuasive communicators.

Resilient Montana: A Water, Agriculture and Climate Program – An inclusive and robust dialogue about climate impacts and measurable adaptation strategies.

Mental Health – An initiative with MSU’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery to develop a viable base for rural mental health prevention programs addressing the issues of depression and suicide in Montana.

Ranch Management Undergraduate Degree Program – Over eight years ago, One Montana developed a ranch management undergraduate major for a rural land grant university in the West. That initial approach is now the seed of work undertaken by MSU’s College of Agriculture, with One Montana holding a leadership role within the committee.    

Rural-Urban Student and Entrepreneur Exchange – A hands-on program for high school students that develops entrepreneurial spirit, skills, and forges long-lasting connections for economic development.

Montana Way – A communications initiative that helps maintain community stability and reduce potential conflicts among current and new landowners when the often unspoken Montana land stewardship best practices are not understood.

Meat Processing Facility Feasibility Study – One Montana undertook a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a new multispecies meat processing facility in Montana.  The overall outcome is that it is feasible. The final report delineates the steps and critical factors that must be enacted.