The former truck driver who gave the biggest donation in Montana's history

Ash Jurberg

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I love to share inspiring stories with readers.

A good example is that of Mark and Robyn Jones. A former truck driver who became a billionaire and a frustrated wife raising their six children. And thanks to their connection to Montana, they made the biggest donation in Montana history.

Let's take a quick look at their story.

The rise to billionaire status

Mark Jones grew up in Alberta, Canada, and married his high school sweetheart Robyn.

The couple did it tough early on, struggling to pay bills. They had three children, and Mark drove trucks for Robyn's father. Eventually, Mark borrowed money so he could attend Harvard Business School and, after graduating, scored a job with Bain Capital in 1991.

By 2003, Robyn was looking for a change. She felt like a single mother raising their six children alone as Mark worked long hours. So she decided to start a property and casualty insurance agency. The next year, Mark quit his job and joined the business.

The business, called Goosehead, took off, and in 2018 the couple took the company public. Now, the company has $117 million in annual sales and almost 1500 franchises. Thanks to their majority ownership, Mark and Robyn became billionaires in 2020. They have a net worth of $1.5 billion.

And they have decided to help out the people of Montana.

The biggest donation in Montana's history

The couple grew up in Canada across the border from Whitefish, Montana. As children, they would regularly visit Montana on family holidays and have retained a connection with the state.

Last August they gave $101 million to Montana State University’s College of Nursing, the largest philanthropic donation in state history. The gift will help double the number of family nurse practitioners and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners that graduate from MSU.

Whether in our community or our business, we’ve always believed that people come first. Montana holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to working with the MSU College of Nursing to help transform the health care community here and nationwide.” Mark Jones

The couple decided to support the Montana healthcare system after their friend, David Haney, died of cancer in early 2021.

We love the people [in Montana] and it just made us feel right at home. It makes you want to help... They're recruiting bright young people, they're educating them and then those people are serving in their local communities. We're excited to support them.” Mark Jones

The couple purchased nearly 126,000 acres in Montana, which they want their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy.

Readers, what do you think of the donation by Mark and Robyn Jones? What other organizations in Montana would you like to see them support?

Please leave your comments below.

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