GREAT FALLS — KRTV’s Shannon Newth created the Five Under 35 initiative as a way to recognize young adults in Great Falls whose attitudes and actions are making our community an even better place to live. This is the seventh year recognizing young adults in the Great Falls community. Out of about 50 nominations this year, the final five have been selected.
This year's second honoree is Jami Wald, who was nominated by four people, who described her as “an amazing asset” and “someone who will continue to be a big part of building and caring for the Great Falls community” in her nomination forms.
The 31-year-old has a passion for helping others and being involved with nonprofit organizations. Her passion is rooted in the memory of her cousin Tyson. “I have a cousin who when I was younger, he did pass away from cancer. I was only in third grade when that happened, but it has always stuck with me,” explained Wald.
After his passing in the mid 90’s, money was donated in Tyson’s honor to help other kids, and their families, battling illnesses. “I just knew. This is where it came full circle for me,” said Wald.
Wald is the Senior Director of Development for the Benefis Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that raises money to help patients who may never be able to pay their bills. It also benefits new buildings and technology. The foundation also has the Angel Fund that gives assistance to families of children going through serious medical problems. Wald has been in that role since 2018.
She was born and raised in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School in 2006. Wald attended Montana State University. She stayed in Bozeman after graduation and began a career with Special Olympics Montana.
She still worked for Special Olympics when she moved back to Great Falls in 2017. Since then, Wald has poured her time and energy in causes she believes in like Make-A-Wish Montana. “It’s exactly my calling,” Wald described. She’s also involved in Get Fit Great Falls.
“I think we’re at a good place here, we have a good community and we’re on our way to exploding,” Wald said.
As part of the Five Under 35 program, each honoree is asked two questions, meant to put conversation and thought in our community. Those two questions are:
- What does Great Falls have going for it?
- How can Great Falls improve?
Wald said she is encouraged by the young adults who have chosen to stay or come back to Great Falls to make it their home.
“These organizations I’ve gotten involved with and the people I’ve worked with and seen the passion they have to grow this community, it’s outstanding. And I think that everywhere you turn there’s a new nonprofit and group of people working to improve Great Falls,” Wald explained.
She thinks Great Falls can improve by young professionals learning and understanding how their dollars and volunteer hours can impact and grow the community.