Ford Foundation Sends Butte to South Africa

photo by lindsey gordon

photo by lindsey gordon

The Butte America Foundation has received a grant of $15,000.00 from the Ford Foundation to support a six-week cultural and professional exchange between local Butte FM radio station KBMF-LP 102.5 and South African station Nongoma-FM 88.3.

In the fall of 2016, KBMF 102.5 began receiving online missives from South African radio station Nongoma-FM 88.3. Founder Prince Sbo Zulu had discovered the rural Montana station streaming online and soon learned that the two stations share a common mission—furthering the ideals of social justice through local journalism, community education, and non-mainstream entertainment programming. In keeping with the new relationship, Prince Sbo and two Zulu associates spent the summer of 2017 in Butte as guests of KBMF. The South African trio were regular presenters on the Montana station, even launching a weekly show, "Let's Talk Butte," which has continued production despite the Zulu team’s departure in August.

Prince Sbo has invited KBMF to continue the cultural and professional exchange by inviting four representatives from the Montana station to Nongoma, South Africa. During their month-long stay, the KBMF delegation will not only work alongside the Nongoma-FM 88.3 team, but will visit other community radio stations in South Africa in the hope of expanding the rural radio network.

In addition to these activities, KBMF and Nongoma-FM teams will plan and launch a charitable program called “Butte & Beyond” which will work with disadvantaged high school students from both Nongoma and Butte. These students will learn the basics of local journalism through volunteer service at their local station; in addition, they will be be enrolled in a scholarship program that will provide information about applying to various universities and pay admissions fees.

The Ford Foundation has provided funding to support travel to and from Nongoma, and to launch the “Butte & Beyond” program. Representatives from the Butte America Foundation, Clark Grant, Matt Boyle, Dark Sevier, and Suzanne Stefanac, depart for South Africa in early December and return in the New Year.

To learn more about the delegation and support their mission, please visit: www.butteamericaradio.org/nongoma

About the Butte America Foundation delegation:
Clark Grant - KBMF Station Manager

Clark is a graduate of the University of Montana (BA French 2014) and currently the General Manager of KBMF 102.5FM. He has 10 years experience in non-commercial broadcasting, including 4 years as station manager.

Matt Boyle - Board Member, Butte America Foundation
Matt comes from a Butte family well-known for their community involvement. He is founder of the Original Festival, a youth-centric music festival held annually in Butte. Matt looks forward to collaborating with Nongoma FM on event development, as well as collaborating on UMOYA Music Festival taking place December 29th.

Dark Sevier - KBMF Music Director
Long time photographer and broadcaster Dark Sevier is KBMF's Music Director. The initial point of contact with Prince Sbo Zulu, he worked tirelessly to ensure our Zulu colleagues had a comfortable and educational stay during their time in Montana

Suzanne Stefanac - Secretary, Butte America Foundation
Suzanne is a Butte native who returned home after a career in journalism that included serving as executive producer for the hour-long, nightly program "The Site" on MSNBC and as director of the American Film Institute's Digital Content Lab.

About the Butte America Foundation:

The Butte America Foundation is a 501(C)3 non profit organization based in Butte, Montana, whose mission is to educate the public by providing information and tools to uphold the tenets of social justice. BAmF is the licensee of low power FM (LPFM) community radio station KBMF 102.5FM. Effective 2017, BAmF began producing the annual St. Patrick's Day and Fourth of July Parades. The organization also leads renovation efforts for the historic Carpenters Union Hall, the oldest operating labor building of its kind in the state of Montana. To learn more, visit: www.butteamericafoundation.org

About the Ford Foundation:
We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. In addressing this reality, we are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. To learn more, visit: www.fordfoundation.org