Rose Bender, Director of Research

Rose Bender, Director of Research
Rose oversees MBPC's research team to study and advance economic policies that equitably invest in communities. Her research focus is state fiscal policy, advocating for a fair tax code that supports a robust state budget so Montana is a better place to live and work for everyone. Previously, she worked at the Montana Department of Revenue, serving as an economist/tax policy analyst, estimating impacts to state revenues and researching policy issues. Rose has also spent time as a community organizer in eastern Montana for Northern Plains Resource Council and an economist for Ecosystem Research Group. She holds master's and bachelor's degrees in economics from the University of Montana. Rose grew up in Billings. She lives in Helena with her husband and two children.

Xanna Burg, Director of KIDS COUNT

Xanna Burg, Director of KIDS COUNT
Xanna (she/her) directs the efforts of KIDS COUNT in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. She compiles hundreds of data points related to children’s well-being and provides in-depth research on key topics across the three states. She shares her passion for data with partners to inform recommendations for policy solutions that better support children and families.  She has a background in public health and experience working across various sectors to improve the health of children. She started her career implementing nutrition education programs in communities before pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology and transitioning to research and evaluation. Before joining MBPC, Xanna worked as a Data Analyst for the Colorado WIC program, where she used administrative data to evaluate the impact of WIC for Colorado families. Xanna has a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. Email Xanna Burg

Erica Donohue, Director of Communications

Erica Donohue, Director of Communications
Erica leads the organization’s online presence and designs most of the visual materials. They also provide communications support to partners with grassroots advocacy efforts. Their goal is to expand the awareness of MBPC's work beyond the legislative halls and into the hands of partners and communities across the state.  Erica previously worked at the Parenting Place, a community-based, nonprofit organization preventing child abuse and neglect through strengthening families. They have an extensive background in social media development in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors throughout the Northwest. They have lived in Montana since 2014 with their husband and child. Email Erica Donohue

Hannah Fisher, Office Manager

Hannah Fisher, Office Manager
Hannah oversees the organizational operations, bookkeeping, and office procedures. She utilizes her artistic talents on the communications team to produce and design graphics and other visual materials to help advance the mission of MBPC. Hannah's nonprofit experience stems from years as executive director of The Clay Studio of Missoula. This organization provides affordable studio work facilities, information, resources, and development opportunities for working and aspiring clay artists. She holds a bachelor of arts with an emphasis on Ceramic Art from the Oregon College of Art & Craft in Portland, Oregon. Hannah is originally from western New York and lives in Helena with her partner and two kids. Email Hannah Fisher

Heather O’Loughlin, Executive Director

Heather O’Loughlin, Executive Director
Heather (she/her) leads MBPC's research and policy analysis, collaborating with partners to develop policy solutions backed by concrete data. She works to educate policymakers to influence legislation and advance equitable policies.  Before coming to MBPC, Heather served as the legislative director and policy advisor for Senator Max Baucus, managing the Senator's legislative team. She received her juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law and a bachelor's degree in business finance and economics from the University of Montana. Heather is originally from Great Falls and lives in Helena with her husband and daughter. Email Heather O'Loughlin

Jackie Semmens, Policy Analyst

Jackie Semmens, Policy Analyst
Jackie's primary areas of research focus on food insecurity, health care, and the social safety net. She conducts research to measure the impact of state and federal policies on the people most impacted by them.   After serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, she moved to Montana and earned her master's degree in Medical Anthropology with a Certificate of Public Health from the University of Montana. She received her undergraduate education in Virginia, where she is originally from, at the College of William and Mary. Jackie has worked as a freelance writer, and also enjoys hiking the hills around Helena with her husband, and three kids. Email Jackie Semmens

Jade Bahr, State-Tribal Policy Analyst

Jade Bahr, State-Tribal Policy Analyst
Jade's primary areas of research and outreach focus on Indian Country and the impacts of state policies and budget decisions, including that of criminal justice, economic development, and education. She engages with the community to develop and advocate for equitable public policies.  She is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne (Tsitsistas) tribal nation and Crow (Apsáalooke) descendant. Growing up in a family living on low income in Billings and spending summers on the Crow Reservation gave her a unique understanding of the challenges faced by both communities. These experiences helped shape her voice and inspired her to seek roles serving vulnerable populations. She holds a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Inequalities and Social Justice from the University of MT. She began her career in social services at a foster-care network for American Indian children and then onto group homes & day programs for youth deemed most at-risk. For eight years, she worked serving adults with disabilities in living and employment settings. She was elected to serve in the 66th MT State Legislature representing House District 50. Jade is currently living in Billings with her two cats, Louie & Nanook. Email Jade Bahr

Imani Kindness-Coleman, State-Tribal Policy Research Fellow

Imani Kindness-Coleman, State-Tribal Policy Research Fellow
Imani Kindness-Coleman (she/her) is the state-tribal policy research fellow. She is an enrolled member of the Crow (Apsáalooke) nation and grew up on the Crow Reservation. She primarily focuses her research on education and language policy, working closely with KIDS COUNT in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Imani works to ensure that Native communities' perspectives are being heard and they have the analytical support when exercising their right to self-determination. Prior to joining the MBPC team, she was a fellow at the Newberry Library conducting historical research on Chicago’s urban Indigenous population. Imani has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota. She currently lives in Billings and enjoys playing sports and reading. Email Imani Kindness-Coleman

Gwen Nicholson, Associate Communications Manager

Gwen Nicholson, Associate Communications Manager
Gwen (she/her) helps create the organization's social media posts, data visualizations, and communications strategy. She aims to communicate MBPC's policy work clearly and effectively to partners and communities across Montana. Gwen has a background in journalism and media art background and has had her work in print and television outlets across the state, including the Montana Press Monthly, SWX News, and Montana PBS. Since graduating from the University of Montana's School of Journalism in 2021, she has worked with Lee Enterprises, the Montana Press Monthly, and Word West Revue. She is proud to be a lifelong resident of Missoula and an enrolled member of the Schitsu'umsh (Coeur d'Alene) Tribe. Email Gwen Nicholson

Aubrey Godbey, Policy Analyst

Aubrey Godbey, Policy Analyst
Aubrey’s (she/her) primary area of research focuses on housing security. She conducts research to measure the impact of state and federal policies on those who are most impacted. Aubrey earned her Bachelor’s degree in Community and Public Health from the University of Montana. With her degree, she has spent her career serving marginalized communities and fighting for basic human rights, like food and shelter. Aubrey previously worked at the Montana Food Bank Network helping to elevate the voices of lived experts to help create policy change. She looks forward to engaging even more with lived experts at MBPC. Aubrey currently lives in Missoula and will often be found seeing a movie at The Roxy Theater or enjoying live music downtown. Email Aubrey Godbey
Montana Budget & Policy Center

Shaping policy for a stronger Montana.

MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.