Amy Allison Thompson: Executive Director
Amy Allison Thompson, LCSW, is the Executive Director of the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana twice, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers Montana Chapter. She also worked as a psychotherapist for the past five years and specializes in issues related to domestic violence, the LGBTQ community, and homelessness. Her most notable accomplishment is the development and implementation of an integrated behavioral health program in a primary care setting at the Northwest Community Health Center in Libby, MT. In addition, she served on the board of directors for the YWCA of Great Falls as President Elect. She was instrumental in the creation and development of the Great Falls LGBTQ Center. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with family and going on adventures in remote corners of Montana on foot and mountain bike.
Kristen Border Patton: Director of Operations
Kristen Patton is the Director of Operations at the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in political science and began working at the Pov in 2009 as the Administrative Assistant. Kristen has completed graduate courses in Human Resource Management, Technical Writing and Non-Profit Management while working at the Pov. In her spare time Kristen enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with her rabbit and husband.
Jesse Jaeger: Director of Development & Advocacy
Jesse Jaeger is the Director of Development & Advocacy for the Poverello Center. Jesse has over 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector working most recently as the Operations Director for Empower Montana. He is a graduate of the University of Montana and has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. As the Director of Development & Advocacy Jesse leads the Poverello Centers fundraising efforts, works to empower voices of the Poverello Center’s clients and staff on policy issues impacting them and helps tell the story of the Poverello Center to the wider community. When not at work you can find Jesse hanging out with his wife and two kids in Montana’s beautiful outdoors, riding his motorcycle on twisty back roads and volunteering with many different community groups in Missoula.
Jill Bonny: Director of Veteran Services
Jill Bonny, MSW is the Director of Veteran Services, supervising the Poverello Center’s programs for veterans including Housing Montana Heroes and Valor House transitional housing programs. Jill earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana. In addition to program supervision, Jill is providing therapy to veterans at the Poverello Center in both individual and group capacities. As the daughter of a veteran, Jill enjoys her work and is honored to give back to those who have sacrificed for our country. Growing up in Montana, Jill has always been involved as a volunteer in hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, local coalitions, and currently is the Vice President of the NASW-MT Board of Directors. Jill joined the Poverello in the fall of 2014 as a practicum student while earning her social work degree. She has also been a Certified Pharmacy Technician since 2004, which she finds excellent knowledge to have in her current role with veteran transitional housing. When she is not working, Jill enjoys spending time with her husband and children on their “little farm” in the Bitterroot Valley.
Elise Watts: Shelter Manager
Elise Watts is the Shelter Manager at the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana with a Sociology degree. It was through her Sociology program that she first started volunteering at the Poverello Center in 2012. The volunteer opportunities lead to a part-time direct care position that she thoroughly enjoyed. Elise eventually took a case management job in North Idaho and lived there for four years before her and her family were fortunate enough to move back to Missoula. Elise is an avid believer in community and feels that providing opportunity for people to engage with one another is necessary for the health of the community and individuals alike. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Jared Bell: Food Programs Manager
Jared Michael Bell is the Food Programs Manager at the Poverello Center. He has been with the Pov since early 2018, starting as the Food Rescue Truck Driver. He strives to provide nutritious and delicious meals to those in need, fighting food insecurity. In his free time he writes and produces music, fishes, hunts, spends time with buddies, and “kicks out the jams”.
Sue Ellerman: Housing Retention Specialist
Sue Ellerman is the Housing Retention Specialist at the Poverello Center. She graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with a BA in psychology and is originally from the Pacific Northwest. Sue has worked in human services in the Missoula area for more than 20 years both as a case manager for severely disabled mentally ill adults and as a sign language interpreter for hearing impaired students. Sue works with chronically homeless folks who are housed in the Missoula community helping them stay successfully housed. She enjoys live music, movies and dog walks.
Gavin Wisdom: Grant Writer & Development Associate
Gavin Wisdom is a Grant Writer and Development Associate at the Poverello. He graduated with his BA in Journalism from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 2011, and began his MSW degree at the University of Montana in the fall of 2019. Between degrees, Gavin spent extensive time working with student groups in Burma where he and his students explored themes based in human rights education, global citizenship and leadership. Gavin now serves on the board of the National Association of Social Workers Montana Chapter as the student representative for UM. His passions include gardening, playing in the outdoors, enjoying time with his family, and being human.
Zac Mauldin: Volunteer Coordinator
Zac Mauldin is originally from Oklahoma City, OK, and has a diverse background in health education, hunger, and volunteerism. In 2015, he spent the majority of the year working in Whitefish, MT and fell in love with sustainable agriculture and local food systems. After working at Meals on Wheels People in Portland, OR for three years he moved back to the Big Sky Country where he now enjoys trail running, eclectic reading and listening, snuggling his dog Volta, and imbibing over a home-cooked meal of local ingredients.
Alena Gostnell: Medical Respite Care Coordinator
Alena Gostnell is the Medical Respite Care Coordinator at the Poverello Center in Missoula, Montana. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Masters in Social Work at the University of Montana. Alena began working at the Poverello Center in August 2017. Before joining the Poverello team, she worked at AWARE and Missoula Developmental Service Cooperation in Missoula. She looks forward to continuing to build collaborations in the community that benefit people experiencing homelessness and medical vulnerability. She enjoys writing, spending time with her husband and children and photography.
Hannah Higgins: Homeless Outreach Team
Hannah Higgins has been with the Poverello since January of 2017. She started her journey here as fill-in staff, where she was promoted to Administrative Assistant, and recently has joined our HOT team. In her role on the Homeless Outreach Team, she most enjoys working with those who are shelter resistant and offering resources to some of Missoula’s most vulnerable populations. Hannah enjoys collaborating with other agencies in our outreach effort to get those unsheltered, the best help they can get. Hannah received her Bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in 2014, majoring in Art practices and Psychology. Hannah is an amazing artist, who enjoys painting, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.