Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia, said “I believe that investing in our children’s development from the earliest age is the single most important contribution we can make.”
For the past eight years, Adam Jespersen has dedicated himself to investing in the care and healing of struggling children in the Helena area through his work at Intermountain.
A 2009 graduate of Carroll College, Jespersen landed his first job out of school as an administrative assistant for the development department of Intermountain, an adolescent mental health center that provides both residential and community based mental health services.
“Adam immediately made himself indispensable in the department—keeping track of donor records, organizing meetings, streamlining processes, and helping with events,” said Glenna Wortman-Obie, director of communications and marketing at Intermountain. “He was so helpful and knowledgeable, he was dubbed ‘Adam Mountain.’”
It wasn’t long before Jespersen was promoted and assumed more responsibilities. He was also given a secondary position as project manager in the construction of two new residential cottages on Intermountain’s Helena campus location in 2014. The $2.5 million project gave Jespersen the opportunity to truly see the fruits of his fundraising efforts.
“We’re literally building new homes for the children we serve,” said Jespersen.
Jespersen remarked that it was inspiring to not only see the cottages take form but to see the efforts put in to build them.
“The architects and contractors and everyone involved realized it wasn’t just another office building they were building,” said Jespersen. “A lot of heart went into the construction as they truly understood the impact of the project. They put their best work into it.”
For Jespersen, the most truly rewarding moment of the project, though, was seeing the children’s faces light up when they first stepped inside their new home.
Jespersen also helped oversee construction of Providence Home, Intermountain’s therapeutic group home located just north of Flathead Lake near Somers, Montana. The $1.4 million, 5,500-square-foot facility mirrors the new cottages built in Helena and now provides intensive therapeutic care to up to eight children at a time.
Thanks to all of his dedicated efforts, Jespersen eventually earned himself the position of associate director of development at Intermountain. In that role, Jespersen has provided leadership and management of all fundraising activities for Intermountain, as well as offered expertise in grant writing and grant administration. Jespersen has also had continued opportunities to spend time interacting with community members — some who already contribute to Intermountain and others who are potential future supporters.
“It’s rewarding to be able to connect Intermountain’s mission to the community and help people better understand what our kids and families are facing and how they can help respond to it,” said Jespersen.
“To see how sacrificially this community supports our work is very humbling for me,” said Jespersen. “We are very committed to stretching that support as far as possible to make a lasting impact for kids and families.”
Over the course of the last decade, contributions from donors have assisted in doubling the size of Intermountain. From their residential program to a variety of community based programs now housed under one roof in their community services center, all the way to their continually expanding services in the Kalispell area, Intermountain only continues to compete in the field of adolescent mental health.
“Intermountain’s been in this community for more than a century, but it’s not just the campus on the hill anymore,” joked Jespersen.
According to Jespersen, Intermountain’s 200-plus employees currently serve approximately 700-800 children and families every single day.
“People light up when they realize how many kids and families we serve,” remarked Jespersen. “But it’s our obligation to serve as many kids and families as we can. The need is still so great.”
“We keep getting better at the work we do and are constantly making sure our services are addressing community needs and making an impact,” said Jespersen. “I’m excited to see where that leads over time.”
One of the greater challenges for Intermountain is the way in which their services get funded.
“We’re smack dab in the middle of all that is happening right now with health care, which is very turbulent,” said Jespersen. “But we are fortunate to have such broad community support behind us.”
In between serving in his role as associate director of development, Jespersen has also been hard at work earning a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana to expand his skill set in order and continue helping move Intermountain forward.
In October, Jespersen will assume his next role as chief operations officer of Intermountain, where he will oversees the day-to-day operations of all Intermountain services.
“Through all of his transitions, he has remained calm, congenial, extremely competent, organized and humble,” said Wortman-Obie. “He is certainly destined to be a leader in the Helena community for years to come.”
“I feel a sense of calling in this work,” said Jespersen. “My faith is an important part of who I am and my work at Intermountain gives me the chance to live that out every day.”
“I’ll be here until I’m told to go somewhere else,” said Jespersen, smiling.