May 28, 2021
An Interview with Dana Grant of Safe Harbor
Dana Grant has been the SAFE Harbor Director of Development for the past decade. SAFE Harbor serves Lake County and the Flathead Reservation to provide shelter, safety, nurturing, advocacy, financial support, and healing to the survivors of domestic violence and those in need.
In addition to his work with SAFE Harbor, Dana is the President of Lake County Community Housing Board of Directors. He was the Director of Development at Salish Kootenai College, the advisor for the National American Indian Higher Education Consortium Student Congress, on the founding board for Nwkusm-the Salish Language Immersion School, a co-founder of the Flathead Reservation Boys and Girls Club, and is a grant writer and evaluator for numerous local agencies.
Tell us something about the work you’re doing that you’re especially proud of?
Conversations around change, community development, social justice, and prevention have been particularly inspiring during the pandemic. Even with limitations on interaction, our team has continued to build relationships with people of all ages, from across the valley. I believe these relationships are the key to systemic changes that can improve the quality of life for all people. The dynamics of violence cross nearly all service areas and connect with so many other societal challenges we are facing. By developing healthy, supportive, and engaged relationships, collaborations can evolve, supporting important work and leading to meaningful change. And in times of crisis, those relationships, as we have witnessed in the last year, bring people together to share the journey.
What is something you want people to know about the communities you work with?
We have so many wonderful people doing amazing work every day, that is often taken for granted or undervalued. Within the community, even with the differences we face, there is a beautiful sense of caring. I’m often overwhelmed by the demonstration of support I see, whether it is donating time as a volunteer, providing resources or contributing financial assistance. Last week, a lady in her 80’s stopped by to donate some household supplies and canned goods. She had a difficult time walking. I ran out to meet her in the parking lot and she gestured to the back seat. I brought in her two boxes. “I can’t get around and help like I use to, but I see you coming and going, so I figured you must be doing something to help others. Keep doing it,” she said. As she backed out, I momentarily ponder her driving, as I wiped a tear from my cheek.
What is the hardest part of moving the needle on outcomes in your community and what would support for the difficult parts look like?
Helping people move forward without fear is the greatest obstacle. They have seen failures. They have known loss. They have been betrayed. All of their experiences have given them so much fear and so little trust. Shifting their vision and building their confidence could really help us to overcome the impasse and achieve real change
What makes you hopeful?
Seeing new programs find success, with whatever work they are doing, fills me with great hope, because it reminds me that we don’t have to accept broken systems or faulty structures or inadequate services. The possibility is always there for something better. Several local groups have flourished in the last year, modeling fortitude, calm, and community spirit, as they pressed on in their work, helping others, and never looking back. These programs came into existence because a few people chose to make a commitment to change. Driving by their office and seeing the hub of activity is without question inspiring and heartwarming.