Skip to content


The Mignon Waterman Award

The Mignon Waterman Award recognizes an individual’s innovation, leadership, partnership development, broad impact, and contributions to improving behavioral health in Montana.

We created this award in honor of the late Mignon Waterman’s contributions to strengthening the system of care for people struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders.

Organizations must nominate individuals for the award. The organization employing the awardee will accept the $10,000 award on their behalf. Only Montana-based nonprofit organizations, universities, state or local agencies, or tribal governments can submit a nomination.

Nominations for the 2024 Mignon Waterman Award open on August 1 and close on September 15. Nominees will be contacted regarding the award decision by October 18, and we will issue a public announcement of the awardee in November.

About Mignon Waterman

Mignon Waterman devoted her life to public service. She served as a Montana State Senator for 12 years. During that time, she served on several public and mental health-focused committees and chaired the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee.

Outside her work as a senator, Mignon focused on helping improve behavioral health services for those with mental health needs. She was a founding member of the Helena Local Advisory Council for Mental Health and a Mental Health Oversight Advisory Council member. She was also a member of the Helena Mental Health Crisis Response Partnership Steering Committee and developed a mental health crisis system for Lewis & Clark and the surrounding counties.

Mignon served on several boards throughout her career, including St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, St. Peter’s Hospital Board of Directors Secretary-Treasury, Helena School District No. 1 Board of Trustees Chair, Montana School Boards Association President, the Montana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Montana Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees Secretary.

As one of the Montana Healthcare Foundation’s founding trustees (2013 -2017), Mignon was a passionate and tireless advocate for behavioral health. Her vision, insight, and commitment played an indispensable role in shaping the Foundation’s strategy, investments, and approach to improving the prevention and treatment of behavioral health problems in Montana.

“Throughout her long public service career, Mignon worked diligently to address the needs of those experiencing behavioral health challenges to assure this segment of our community received adequate services. She also worked tirelessly to help erase the stigma these members of our state confront regularly. This award both honors Mignon and awards those with innovative ideas on how to respond to the major health issues that many Montana citizens face.” – Ron Waterman

“Mignon was a passionate and tireless advocate for behavioral health. This award is a perfect way to honor and build on her legacy of working for better care for Montanan’s struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.” – MHCF CEO, Dr. Aaron Wernham

Nominations for the 2024 award cycle open on August 1.

Traits we look for:


Provides innovative solutions to long-standing problems.


Recognized leadership to improve Montana’s behavioral health system.

Partnership Development

Demonstrates commitment to collaboration and solving problems through building strong partnerships.

Broad Impact

The nominee’s work and career have had a broad impact on improving the behavioral health system in Montana.

Progress Towards Behavioral Health Improvement

Has made noticeable contributions to Montana’s progress toward developing an effective behavioral health system.

Past Recipients