HRDC awarded development grant

Six nonprofits snag development grants

By CHARLES S. JOHNSON – IR State Bureau – 08/13/09

Featured in the Helena Independent Record

Six Montana nonprofit groups will divvy up $25,000 in grants to hire consultants to help improve their organizations in what’s billed as breaking new philanthropic ground here.

“At a time when stock market results have hammered grant-making by much of the foundation world for 2009, we are tremendously gratified by the financial support from Montana foundations that have made this new grant program possible,” said Mike Schechtman, executive director of the Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits.

Grants will go through the Montana Nonprofit Connections, administered by the Big Sky Institute. The money is intended to help the recipients more effectively and efficiently manage their internal operations and better serve their clients, supporters and communities.

Schechtman said the groups can use up to 15 percent of the grant for their own costs.

However, they must use at least 85 percent of the grant to hire someone from a pool of 45 Montana nonprofit consultants to advise them on topics ranging from organizational planning, fundraising, financial management and leadership development.

“These grants will help organizations move to their next stage of growth,” Schechtman said.

 These six groups were selected for grants from the dozen that applied:

Big Sky Senior Services, based in Billings. It seeks to enhance the independence and quality of life for the elderly in Yellowstone, Carbon and Stillwater counties through home health services, volunteer friends programs and elder abuse prevention.

Family Support Network, based in Billings. It provides intervention, support and assistance to children and families with mental illness or those at risk for abuse and neglect in Yellowstone, Carbon, Big Horn, Musselshell, Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties.

Fort Peck Fine Arts Council, based in Glasgow. It serves mostly eastern Montana and works to preserve the historic Fort Peck Summer Theater. It educates and entertains people through the performing arts, encourages youth to participate in the arts and provides a forum for local and regional artists.

Human Resource Development Council of District IX Inc., based in Bozeman. It works to support and advance the quality of people’s lives through housing, youth development, energy assistance, Head Start, transportation and volunteer programs for elderly people in Park, Gallatin, Madison and Meagher counties.

Montana SHARES, based in Helena. It is a partnership of Montana nonprofits working together to improve the quality of life in their communities. It promotes the organizations, provides training and support and helps them expand and diversify.

Spring Meadow Resources, based in Helena. It provides ongoing support to more than 100 adults with developmental disabilities through education, residential and supported-living services, recreational activities and assistance so they can make informed choices.

Foundations that have donated money to the Montana Nonprofit Connections for these grants and others are: O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, Luise Hass Fund, Kelley Family Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund, Oro y Plata Foundation, Solid Rock Foundation and Steele-Reese Foundation.

“By investing in nonprofit capacity building on a statewide basis, I truly feel we will be successful in helping to attract more national foundation dollars into our state,” said Laurie Bishop, trustee of Solid Rock Foundation.

For more information, see Big Sky Institute’s Web site at