Mar 27, 2023
GO! Ravalli County: Grantees in Action
Western Montanans face an array of obstacles on the road to good health. Our neighbors in rural areas face twofold barriers due to their isolated geography, which reduces access to resources, services and opportunities. This extends to rural nonprofits, who move mountains with minimal budgets. Headwaters Foundation is proud to fund organizations in every corner of Western Montana that are crafting and carrying out creative solutions to improve the health of our communities.
We launched our GO! Grants Program in 2018 to make funding accessible to nonprofits serving kids and families in rural areas through a simple, quick-turnaround process. Funds can be used in any way organizations see fit, so projects are varied and unique. Grants have been used to teach kids about conservation, media arts and farming, support youth and families with special needs, protect and advocate for children who have experienced abuse, and much more.
Below, we highlight some of our partners in Ravalli County who show how rural leaders are collaborating and innovating to support kids and families.
Cultivating Connection’s work is about ‘building community through food.’ This group is truly living up to their name, bridging gaps between kids, teens, and adults in their community. Starting as an experiment in organic farming, they evolved into a farm classroom that brings people together with a goal of growing food while sharing knowledge, empowering youth, fostering wellbeing and providing mentorship and job training. A program we love is their ‘Soups or Salads for Seniors’ Program that teaches (and employs) high school students to farm, prepare food and give back by helping elders in their community.
Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources (B.E.A.R.) inspires youth to connect to their own potential, their community and the landscape through experiential and outdoor adventure programs. They offer mentoring, summer camps and group activities that help kids simultaneously build soft (communication) skills and hard (outdoor) skills. Their Venture ED program brings activities into schools to build leadership and teamwork while decreasing bullying and substance abuse. Their programming also includes enrichment experiences that educate students on Tribal history and Native issues in Montana.
HEARTism (Healing Arts for Autism and All Abilities) is a certified autism center that serves children and young adults with neurodivergence. They offer afterschool programs, special weekend events and summer camps that include opportunities for artistic expression, life skills-building and outdoor experiences in safe, sensory-friendly spaces for exploration. They partner with Cultivating Connections for farm tours and B.E.A.R for outdoor learning (we love to see our partners working together)! They also provide kits to emergency responders that help them better serve individuals who have unique sensory needs during emergencies.
MAPS Media Institute is led by an incredible team of storytellers, artists, filmmakers and media professionals who are passionate about empowering, inspiring and preparing Montana’s next generation for future success through professional media arts instruction, community service and mentoring. We partner with MAPS (beyond their GO! Grant) to tell the stories of other Headwaters grantees – check out these videos the students created last year for Montana Women Vote.
Emma’s House is a children’s advocacy center that works within a multidisciplinary network of professionals to provide compassionate care to children who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. This includes sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect as well as drug endangerment. One of the many things we love about Emma’s House is their therapy dog named Twyla who provides comfort to kids and families as they heal.
Thank you to all of these organizations for the important services they provide; Western Montana wouldn’t be the supportive community that it is without you! We encourage you to check out their websites, follow them on social media and support them with your time and treasure.