Payne Family Scholarship

The Payne Family Scholarship was established by Terry and Patt Payne to support Great Falls High graduates who wish to pursue post-secondary education but have encountered economic, mental, and/or physical challenges that make achieving that dream difficult.

Terry Payne describes himself as an average student in high school. The dean of students told him that he had little hope of obtaining scholarships with his C+ average. However, Terry persevered and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Business at the University of Montana graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1963. He found his passion for business in college and embarked on a career in the insurance industry where he thrived.

In 1972, Terry started his own insurance agency, Terry Payne & Co., Inc. and in 2001, he formed Payne Financial Group which developed into PayneWest Insurance, the 33rd largest insurance broker in the United States. PayneWest Insurance was acquired in 2021 by Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, the 7th largest broker in the U.S.

Terry’s story demonstrates that average performance in high school is not a predictor of average performance one’s chosen field of study or profession. His story also illustrates the importance of perseverance and hard work.

Through this scholarship, Terry and Patt wish to support students who have demonstrated perseverance and strong effort in overcoming personal obstacles.

Scholarship Requirements
1. One $2,500 scholarship will be offered at Great Falls High School.
2. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
3. Applicants must attend a college or university in Montana.
4. Applicants must demonstrate financial need through an essay.
5. Applicants must explain how they have overcome significant obstacles.
6. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation.

Donate A One Time Or Ongoing Scholarship For High School Graduates

Setting up an educational scholarship fund can be a meaningful way to give back to your community or to honor a loved one. There are a number of things to consider when planning a scholarship. Please contact the Foundation for assistance, we are happy to help you. Contact Stephanie Schnider at or call 406-268-6021.