HELENA - Opportunity Bank of Montana earlier this month announced a $100,000 pledge to the Montana Historical Society for the state’s new Montana Heritage Center. It is one of the largest donations since construction began on the Heritage Center this fall, and Director Molly Kruckenberg said it is a gift for all Montanans.

Opportunity Bank has supported the Montana Heritage Center since the idea originated more than a decade ago,” Kruckenberg said. “We are honored to receive their donation.”

Opportunity Bank President Pete Johnson said that with 22 branches across the Treasure State, the donation by Opportunity Bank represents the wide range of people and communities in Montana. He hopes the bank’s contribution inspires other businesses and individuals to donate.

Preserving Montana’s history is extremely important,” Johnson said. “The Montana Heritage Center will help citizens understand and appreciate our history. It will be a wonderful asset for our state.”

Opportunity Bank is a $1.2 billion community bank, the fourth largest bank headquartered in Montana. Its doors first opened in 1922 as American Building and Loan, becoming Opportunity Bank in 2014.

As the Bank approaches our 100-year anniversary, we have distinct appreciation for stories about how we became who we are,” Johnson said. “At our heart, we are a Montana community bank and strive to make our communities stronger.”

Construction of the $53 million Montana Heritage Center was approved by the Montana State Legislature in 2019. While the bulk of the funding will come from tourism dollars through the Lodging Facility Use Tax – also known as the bed tax – the Montana Historical Society was tasked with raising $10 million for the project. Thus far, MHS has raised close to $5.6 million, including the Opportunity Bank donation. The donation will be used to help fund construction of a new 66,000-square-foot Heritage Center affixed to the north side of the current Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building on the Capitol Campus.

The Memorial Building, which was built in the 1950s and currently houses MHS, will be upgraded. The facilities will expand exhibit and educational spaces and provide a better storage environment for priceless artifacts, paintings and other items held at the Montana Historical Society for the benefit of all Montanans.

For more information or to donate to the project, go online to MontanasMuseum.org.