Award Details

The Mignon Waterman Award is an annual $10,000 award that recognizes an individual’s innovation, leadership, and partnership development in the behavioral health field. Organizations must nominate individuals and will accept the award on their behalf. Nomination submissions open in the fall of each year.

We created this award in honor of the late Mignon Waterman’s contributions to strengthening the system of care for people struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders. Nominees must show exceptional innovation, leadership, partnership development, and progress in improving behavioral health and health care in Montana. Previous awardees include

About Mignon Waterman

Mignon devoted herself to public service with a strong emphasis on public health and, particularly, mental health. She served as a Montana State Senator for 12 years. While in the Senate, she was a member of the Public Health, Welfare and Safety Subcommittee and the Mental Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. She chaired the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee. Outside the Senate, Mignon devoted herself to assisting those with mental health needs. She was a founding member of the Helena Local Advisory Council on Mental Health and served on that Council for 11 years. She was a member of the Mental Health Oversight Advisory Council for four years. She was also a member of the Helena Mental Health Crisis Response Partnership Steering Committee and worked to develop a mental health crisis system for Lewis & Clark and surrounding counties. Her service has been recognized with numerous awards. Additionally, Mignon was Secretary-Treasury of St. Peter’s Hospital Board of Directors and was a member of St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. Mignon’s other public service includes Chair of the Helena School District No. 1 Board of Trustees, President of the Montana School Boards Association, and member of the Montana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Mignon was one of the Montana Healthcare Foundation’s founding trustees and served as Secretary from 2013 to 2017. As a Trustee, Mignon was a passionate and tireless advocate for behavioral health. Her vision, insight, and commitment played an indispensable role in shaping the Foundation’s strategy, investments, and approach to improving the prevention and treatment of behavioral health problems (mental illness and substance use disorders) in Montana.

“Mignon was a passionate and tireless advocate for behavioral health,” said Dr. Aaron Wernham, MHCF CEO. “This award is a perfect way to honor and build on her legacy of working for better care for Montanan’s struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.”

“Throughout her long public service career, Mignon worked diligently to address the needs of those experiencing behavioral health challenges, to assure this segment of our community received adequate services,” said Ron Waterman, Mignon’s husband. “She also worked tirelessly to help erase the stigma these members of our state confront on a regular basis. This award both honors Mignon and awards those with innovative ideas on how to respond to the major health issues that many Montana citizens face.”

“Our beloved colleague and friend has left us far too soon,” said Joanne Pieper, MHCF Board Chair. “This award honors her dedication to the Montana Healthcare Foundation and to the citizens of the State of Montana whose lives she touched and cared so deeply for.”