Haynes Foundation Establishes $4 Million Endowment

The Haynes Foundation, a charitable foundation founded by Jack Ellis Haynes and Isabel May Haynes in 1958, has established an endowment of just over $4 million with the University of Montana Foundation. The endowment will be used to provide scholarships to undergraduate students who have graduated from a Montana high school.

This remarkable gift demonstrates the 50-plus year commitment of The Haynes Foundation to promoting higher education in the state of Montana and to preparing students for a lifetime of success.

Jack and Isabel Haynes owned and operated The Haynes Picture Shop in Yellowstone National Park, a continuation of the store that Jack Haynes’ father, Frank J. Haynes, opened in 1884. The Haynes family photographs, postcards, guidebooks and souvenirs opened the wonder of Yellowstone National Park to generations worldwide.

Jack and Isabel’s strong work ethic, entrepreneurship and commitment to running the successful family business enabled them to establish the foundation almost sixty years ago.

The endowment will benefit students for many generations to come and will ensure that the goals of The Haynes Foundation continue to be fulfilled in perpetuity.

Ryan Graham-Laughlin: Haynes Scholarship Recipient

RyanUM senior Ryan Graham-Laughlin’s journey to a BA in media arts began when he made the long move from Renton, Washington to Kalispell, Montana as an 11 year old. The move, spurred by his mother’s purchase of a restaurant in the town, was tough for Graham-Laughlin, as it would be for any sixth grader.

“I went from a fairly populated place to a town that, in 1999, wasn’t very huge,” he says. “I didn’t have a whole lot of friends, so I was kind of stuck with myself for a lot of years.”

Graham-Laughlin began working for his father’s drywall business part-time. Once he graduated high school, he worked full-time with his father while also helping his mother with her restaurant. Then, at 20, he enrolled for six months in Entertainment Career Connection, a national apprenticeship program. The program developed his interest in radio, linking him with a radio station DJ in Kalispell who mentored him.

“I went there probably three or four times a week,” says Graham-Laughlin. “He was more about ‘doing it’ than ‘reading about it.’ So, he kind of put me on the spot a lot, but it was fun and a really good time.”

Three years later, Graham-Laughlin began dating the woman who would become his wife. He followed her to Great Falls, Montana where she began nursing school. The experience pushed Graham-Laughlin to pursue his own education. He enrolled in Great Falls College, receiving an AA in the arts program. Wanting to take his training further, he enrolled in the Media Arts program at UM’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“A lot of my friends ended up at UM, and I wanted to be a part of that and see what it was like to be a Griz,” says Graham-Laughlin. “I heard good things about the Media Arts program here, and I liked the fact that UM’s program doesn’t lock you in to one area.”

The program allowed Graham-Laughlin to experiment with media arts, while also teaching him the importance of collaboration.

“The fact that I’ve had to work with so many different students and teachers has really broadened my perspective on working with people and understanding people,” he says.

These opportunities were made possible in part by a Haynes Scholarship. Before he was awarded the scholarship, Graham-Laughlin was working in addition to going to school in order to pay the bills. Now, he can breathe a little easier.

“It made it possible for me to not work as much, and focus more on school. A scholarship doesn’t just help with your education; it helps you get your life, while you’re getting your education. And that is huge.”