As BYEP’s marketing and outreach director Joe Schadt explained, BYEP's relationship with Big Sky Resort is essential to making a large part of what BYEP does possible. This year alone, Big Sky Resort donated roughly $140,000 in lift tickets, making it possible for BYEP to take its 120 participants skiing and riding 10 times in the winter season. The BYEP winter program starts in mid-January, so watch for their smiling faces on the slopes of Big Sky Resort sometime after that.

Big Sky Youth Empowerment readies to expand

Bozeman based nonprofit Big Sky Youth Empowerment has raised over $1.8 million in expansion funding from a small group of generous donors to address the growing demand for its compelling programs. Targeting Gallatin Valley’s most vulnerable teenagers, BYEP creates opportunities for young adults to experience success through compelling life skills curricula and outdoor adventures.

Now 17 years old, BYEP currently serves 128 youth, and routinely has a waitlist for its 100 percent scholarship-based program. The expansion funding will allow the organization to increase the total number of youth served to 200 by the year 2021. Not only will the total number of youth served increase, but so will the number of hours that youth can access BYEP’s programs. 

Currently, youth can engage in BYEP programming two times per week (averaging 10 hours per week) for 36 weeks out of the year. The expansion will allow youth to engage in programs up to five times per week with annual program hours growing from 46,000 to a projected 83,000 hours. 

The organization, with support from Montana State University, will expand tutoring to four nights per week during the school year and will also provide ongoing elective workshops, which will include book discussions, art workshops, and mindfulness and wellness training. BYEP also will expand on its job skills training, placement and independent living workshops for older participants and alumni. This is an incredible commitment to the community’s adolescent population, and the realization of a long-held dream of BYEP’s founder and current executive director, Pete MacFadyen.

In order to realize this expansion, the organization will be increasing its approximate 3,000 square foot footprint in its existing location (225 East Mendenhall) to 9,000 square feet by occupying adjacent space to the north and west via a long-term lease. BYEP’s operating budget is expected to grow to an annual run-rate of $1.5 million, which places it in the top tier of nonprofits based in Bozeman, and establishes the nonprofit at a long-term sustainable size.

With a solid plan in place to expand programming and impact, MacFadyen has decided to pass the leadership torch and will be stepping down as BYEP’s ED in July of 2019. Pete will continue to pursue his personal mission of “making the world a better place” and will remain an integral part of BYEP by taking a seat on its board of directors. 

BYEP would like to thank this incredibly supportive community, from the bottom of our hearts, for believing in today’s youth and their ability to grow and contribute. It is truly life-saving work, and we are only able to do it with your support. 

If you would like more information about the organization and its expansion, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit or call (406) 551-9660. 




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