header 1
header 2
header 3

Michael Schechtman

Profile Updated: October 18, 2010
Michael Schechtman
Residing In:
Helena, MT USA
Holly S. Bander
Executive Director of a Montana Nonprofit
Yes! Attending Reunion


What Was your Hometown While You Were At Northfield Or Mt Hermon?

Leominster, MA

Think about the highlights of your life since you left the hallowed halls of Northfield/Mount Hermon…tell us about yourself. Please write as much as you wish:

1972 – 1973 Executive Director of the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor (MI) Ran community environmental education programs, recycling, organic garden, land use planning programs, etc.

1974 – 1983 Co-founder and staff member of the Illinois South Project, a democratically managed collective that primarily focused on protection of agricultural lands and small rural communities from the ravages of coal mining (both strip mining and underground mining).

1983 – 1992 Executive Director of Northern Rockies Action Group, a regional training, consulting and technical assistance organization, serving activist organizations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming – and from time to time, Alaska. We worked with environmental and conservation organizations, low-income groups, seniors, women's organizations and other social justice constituencies.

1992 – 2000 Founder and owner of Eaglecliff Associates, a small consulting firm working with Montana nonprofits on organizational development and fundraising.

2000 – present Founder and Executive Director of Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits (BSI), a nonprofit that develops infrastructure (new organizations, programs, and resources) to help build the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofits in Montana and other nearby states. Our big national project – the Philanthropic Divide – is a coalition building effort among the 10 states with the least amount of foundation assets to push the national foundation community to increase grant-making to these philanthropically starved states.

It took me 5 years of changing majors to finally graduate from the University of Chicago, but a far ways from having clarity about what I wanted to do with my life..... After U of C, I went into VISTA to “find myself” and avoid the draft, since I was re-classified 1-A during my fifth year – and... despite an array of maladies.... managed to pass my physical with flying colors (where were you Arlo Guthrie when I needed you?). My VISTA experience in rural, black Northern Carolina was mind-numbing (only “safe and noncontroversial activities” were allowed). After being one of several whites in a protest march involving hundreds of blacks faced by riot police with clubs and shields... let's just say that I had a falling out with my supervisor, and had an early departure from VISTA.

Wound up in Boston, unloading trucks (thanks to brother Joe), making “good money” and worrying about getting drafted at any time. As a preventive measure, I enrolled in the Coast Guard, and passed the test to go to their academy for officer training. (Not too smart for a guy known to get sea sick on boats during stormy weather...). In the midst of awaiting my date to start with the Coast Guard, the national lottery was instituted – I got a high number, said goodbye to my coast guard career, and went off to the University of Michigan.

Summer of 1974, at a 50th wedding anniversary party for some relatives from my home town, I met an attorney who turned out to be a member of the local Selective Service Board. So, out of extreme curiosity, I told my story, and asked why it was I was never called for military service. “You owe it to Betty,” he explained. “She was the secretary for the Selective Service Board for years and years and years... and when she died, the secret of her filing system went with her. We could draft newly turned 18-year olds, but everyone else in the system was a mystery....”

Our generation had to deal with the draft and that ugly war. We had to make choices during a time of significant societal upheaval in which our generation questioned authority and the direction of our country in ways that were unimaginable to our parents. Some of us went to Canada; some enlisted, perhaps hoping they would be posted to Europe; some succeeded at getting medical exclusions (valid or not); some pursued the route of C.O.; some went to jail. I was spared the agony of having to make that choice (not sure I really would have gone into the Coast Guard...). So I said my thank you to Betty, scratched my head and wondered who in the cosmos it was that had taken the responsibility to look out over me, said a thanks to who-ever that might be, and then decided to dedicate my life to social activism. The rest is history, and it's been a very rich and satisfying one.

Your Education after N/MH undergraduate Degree (where, when) Any Graduate/Professional Degrees: where, when, what):

U of Chicago – B.A. In Psychology (69)
U of Michigan – M.S. In Natural Resources (74)

Michael's Latest Interactions

Hide Comments
Michael Schechtman added a comment on Profile.
Apr 29, 2020 at 5:17 AM
Apr 11, 2020 at 9:20 AM

Hi there Marty,

Happy birthday to you. Hope you have ways to celebrate that are fun in this brave new world of social distancing, Woke up to a snow storm this morning; not unusual for spring in the Rocky Mountains. I'll have to put on hold my plans to mow the lawn today... Wishing you the very best for the year ahead,
Hugs from Montana's mountains,

Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Apr 12, 2020 at 5:26 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Michael Schechtman added a comment on Profile.
Dec 12, 2019 at 9:18 PM
Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 28, 2019 at 7:48 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Michael Schechtman added a comment on Profile.
Mar 27, 2019 at 1:49 AM
Michael Schechtman posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 21, 2018 at 3:26 AM

Posted on: Apr 12, 2018 at 11:39 PM

Hi Marty (a.k.a. Mary Ann),

I'm a day late, but in the right ballpark. Hope you had a fine birthday with many celebratory messages that warmed your spirit and brought you smiles... and that you also had some just plain old fun. We are living the Chinese blessing (curse?) -- may you live in interesting times. My work in the nonprofit world has dramatically intensified due to federal budget cuts and the Trump Tax Reform Act. Because of these cuts, we have a fabulous organization here in Helena, MT that serves some 900 individuals with with developmental disabilities in 5 communities... that is closing its doors on April 13th. A real tragedy. And we have a lot of other organizations that are now at risk. So there is plenty for me to do that keeps me off the streets -- but not necessarily out of trouble.

Best wishes for the year ahead -- good health, much joy, and a multitude of rewarding experiences that nourish your heart and soul.

Warm regards,

Brian Farrell posted a message on Michael Schechtman's Profile. New comment added.
Apr 12, 2018 at 11:44 PM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2018 at 12:58 PM

Happy Birthday, Mike! It was great to see you at the 50th. Hope all is well.

Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 28, 2018 at 8:50 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2018 at 4:33 AM

Michael Schechtman posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 17, 2017 at 4:54 PM

Posted on: Apr 11, 2017 at 4:01 PM

Hi Mary Ann (although you'll always be Marty to me!),

Well, for 2 short weeks we were both 70 -- but as of today, you're now listed as older than I am! I hope all is well with you, and that you are celebrating your birthday in fun ways.

Plans have changed, and I'll be staying in Montana for the foreseeable future. Hard to believe that I've been here in this beautiful landscape for nearly half of my life. Still working full-time, and as long as my health holds out, and i don't lose too many marbles -- I'll keep working in the nonprofit sector as a social change activist.

Hugs to you on your special day.

Warm regards,
Mike Schechtman

Mar 29, 2017 at 12:03 AM

Hey, John.... I had sent you birthday wishes last week -- but obviously, I did something wrong, because the message did not appear here. Some days technology is not my friend Hope all is well with you, and I hope you had a great birthday. Take good care, Mike Schechtman.

Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 28, 2017 at 9:10 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2017 at 4:33 AM

Michael Schechtman added a comment on Profile.
Mar 19, 2017 at 6:10 AM
Michael Schechtman added a comment on Profile.
May 22, 2016 at 10:33 PM
Michael Schechtman posted a message. New comment added.
Jun 07, 2016 at 9:44 AM

Posted on: Apr 12, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Hi Marty,

Well, I'm a day late.... but I'm in the right ballpark. Hope you had a wonderful birthday, and that all is well with you.
i'm still here in the mountains of Montana, but it looks like I'll be relocating to the Boston area by year-end so my wife Holly and I will be living together once again. (She's been living and working in the Boston area since January of 2015).

Best wishes for a healthy, happy and quite excellent year.

Mike Schechtman

Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 29, 2016 at 1:49 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2016 at 4:33 AM

Mar 21, 2016 at 12:20 AM

Hi John,

Happy Birthday!!! Glad to see that you are still working and doing your bit to keep the economy going. I'm in the midst of a transition plan to keep working, but at some point.... fewer hours and less responsibilities. If all goes according to plan, I'll relocate to the Boston area by the end of this year, work remotely from my wife's apartment, and periodically fly back to Montana to work on-site. That means I should be able to improve my attendance record for class reunions (1 for 50 through our first half-century of reunions), and be able to see you while we both have some hair left on our heads

Have a great birthday!!

Best regards,
Mike Schechtman.

Michael Schechtman posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 12, 2016 at 4:52 PM

Posted on: Apr 11, 2015 at 10:50 PM

Hi Marty,

Sending you my best wishes for a happy birthday..... all the way from the mountains of Montana, across this vast country, over the Atlantic... to London. Missed you at the 50th reunion, but I know it's a long way to swim.... I was in the Boston area in late March and early April to visit my wife Holly, who relocated there to help with her dad (he's 88, in a nursing home on Long Island, challenged by dementia and hearing loss, and generally going down hill) and her aunt (who lives in western Mass, and is developmentally disabled, and Holly is the legal guardian). A complicated period of family transitions. Not clear yet whether I'll move East, or be the wandering Jew, traveling back and forth. One step at a time.

I hope this quick note finds you doing well. Wishing you a wonderful next year, with good health and much joy in every day.

Warm regards,

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Happy Birthday! It was great to see you at reunion. Hope all is well. Brian

Michael Schechtman has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar 28, 2015 at 7:58 AM

Posted on: Mar 28, 2015 at 4:34 AM