Montan Foundation USA is a U.S. non-profit organization – a 501 (c)(3) based in Chicago, IL – and part of the philanthropic platform of the Montan family of Everöd in southern Sweden. The Montan family has supported charitable projects in Sweden and Western Africa for almost two decades. During a trip to the Bay Area, CA, in 2013, founder and chairman Göran Montan met many students and almost none of them had ever been abroad. He later found that it is estimated that only one-third of the US population has a passport and many Americans have never left their home state. These figures troubled him deeply as he saw international travel as the best way increase understanding between people and cultures.
Another Silicon Valley Start-Up
Soon, this experience inspired Göran Montan to launch a scholarship program together with San Jose State University (SJSU) which is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. The scholarship enables top students from underprivileged backgrounds to gain international experience, acquire knowledge about foreign governance and make useful contacts overseas. All in all, he hopes that this humble scholarship will – in its own way – help, maintain and develop the transatlantic link, in addition to strengthening the already excellent relationship between our two countries.
Hence, this scholarship was the beginning of the MILE program – the Montan International Leadership Experience”: Top US students from an underprivileged background are awarded a fact-finding trip arranged by the Foundation. The students are invited to partake in a ten-day program on location in Stockholm, Sweden, where they will meet politicians, civil servants, think tank scholars, business leaders, foreign diplomats, media representatives in the beautiful City of Stockholm and further their personal growth and development.
In that spirit, the foundation and SJSU launched the first pilot trip in 2014 and due to its success, the scholarship was extended and has become one of the most prestigious and attractive scholarships at SJSU.
Following the successful collaboration with SJSU, the MILE Program has established additional cooperation with other schools all over the US aiming at bringing students from all over the USA to come to Sweden as part of our program.