Every year, your generosity helps us build the Community Impact Fund. This fund is used to provide grants to our formal nonprofit partners to support programs that impact our neighbors by helping them thrive. After these partners submit applications, their materials are reviewed by a committee of community members with grant writing and reviewing experience. These volunteers make recommendations to our board of directors, who then have the opportunity to deliberate, review, and approve the grant recommendations.

This process ensures our work is driven by community members like you – defining, responding to, and solving the biggest issues our neighbors face.

Program Administrated by  Rural Dynamics, Inc.

Over 560 people in the Lewis and Clark Area benefit from accessing Tax Help Montana services every year. Low and moderate income residents work with IRS-certified volunteers to prepare and file their taxes for free. The program eliminates the need for clients to pay for tax services, ensures they are receiving the best credits and deductions available to them, and avoids forcing clients to pay fees for advance payment and predatory tax return lenders.

The Tax Help Montana Coalition works to lift families out of poverty through increased access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC helps low-income families supplement low-wage earnings and encouraging employment. It has been proven to be the biggest, most effective anti-poverty program in the nation.

The EITC is often paired with the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Together, these credits improve children’s immediate well-being and are associated with better health, education, and higher earnings in adulthood. This means the Tax Help Montana program impacts our neighbors for years and transforms their lives in the long run.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to donate to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Tax Help Montana is provided by Rural Dynamics, Inc. For more information on this project, please contact Rural Dynamics, Inc.

Program Administrated by Rocky Mountain Development Council

In Montana, 11% of seniors are threatened by hunger, and 26% of seniors live alone. Older adults struggling to put food on the table can compromise their health if they have to choose between buying food, medications, or paying bills, especially when they struggle with issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and other conditions.

This is why Rocky’s Meals on Wheels program serves seniors throughout Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, and Jefferson counties five days per week.

Not only does Meals on Wheels provide a nutritious meal, it provides warm conversation and regular safety checks for seniors in our community. This improves their quality of life and ensures their physical, emotional, and mental health are looked after when they may need it. It fosters independence and helps prevent costly, unnecessary placement in institutions, hospitalization, and hospital readmission.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Meals on Wheels is provided by Rocky. For more information on this project, please contact Rocky.

Program Administrated by Rocky Mountain Development Council

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) develops partnerships in the community and connects them with senior volunteers to support their programs. RSVP recruits, trains, and deploys senior and retired individuals in our community to help over 20 organizations in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater counties. These volunteers perform a variety of duties, such as emergency food distribution, aiding the physically disabled, supporting veterans, rendering senior aid, and other tasks.

RSVP provides volunteers with meaningful community service to help meet their own needs while supporting nonprofits in our community. The long-term goal of this program is to have a pool of stable, trained, senior volunteers who are prepared to support great work in our community.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program sets target goals based on the number of clients served for each program it sends volunteers to support. This year, RSVP estimates that over 16,000 people in its service area will be impacted by its volunteers.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to donate to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about the Retired Senior Volunteer Program is provided by Rocky Mountain Development Council. For more information on this project, please contact Rocky.

Program Administrated by Angel Fund

On average, parents of K-12 students spend $685 on back-to-school apparel. Many families cannot afford to provide their students with the supplies they need for school, including running shoes. Running for Montana’s Future is a program by Angel Fund that has helped over 600 students purchase running shoes since 2010. On average, the program helps 50 students each year, since running shoes are required for physical education and other school activities.

The grant funding provided awarded by United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area will be used to purchase shoes for Helena youth. Referrals made by Angel Fund Coordinators and school officials are directed through School Resource Officers who complete an application with the family and purchase and deliver the shoes.

This year, Angel Fund will expand Running for Montana’s Future to service 80 local students, increasing the number of children impacted by 30.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to donate to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Running for Montana’s Future is provided by Angel Fund. For more information on this project, please contact Angel Fund.

Program Administrated by Lewis and Clark Literacy Council

Book Pals provides struggling elementary school readers with one-to-one before school reading support from community volunteers. Through Book Pals, elementary school students read consistently with a caring adult throughout the school year, increasing their opportunities to close the reading gap with their peers and start the school day with a positive reading experience.

The Lewis & Clark Literacy Council facilitates this program by coordinating relationships with school staff, recruiting and orienting community volunteers, managing volunteer scheduling, and providing family activities in conjunction with school staff.

Thanks to the generosity of people like you, Book Pals is expanding from two elementary schools to four elementary schools in 2019, increasing the number of children who will improve their reading skills.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Book Pals is provided by the Lewis and Clark Literacy Council. For more information on this project, please contact the Lewis and Clark Literacy Council.

Program Administrated by Helena Food Share

Helena Food Share works with every grocery store in Helena and East Helena to rescue edible food that grocers cannot sell because of sell by and expiration dates. This partnership accounts for 50% of the food distributed to our community and is keeps over 900,000 thousand pounds of food from landfills each year. Grocery Rescue gives this food another life, preventing waste and providing sustenance for those who need it most in our community.

Helena Food Share already runs one to two trucks, five days a week, to each of our community’s grocery stores. However, there is more food available than can be picked up, stored, and safely distributed in one week. Although Helena Food Share cannot increase its cooler and freezer space at present, its team can still rescue the available food from waste, distribute what it can from the pantry, and then share the abundance with its partners across the community.

Through this grant, Helena Food Share will be able to rescue more food and share it with more people experiencing hunger in our community. This will increase the number of pounds of food rescued from the landfill to over 1,000,000. This goal will be achieved through strategic partnerships with other agencies throughout the area that serve those who could benefit from Grocery Rescue.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Grocery Rescue is provided by Helena Food Share. For more information on this project, please contact Helena Food Share.

Program Administrated by Broadwater County Social Services Committee

An important need in Broadwater County is an increased focus on programs for early childhood education. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library will address the community need for building literacy in its young people to prepare them for elementary school and beyond. While the local library offers story hours and reading programs and Head Start and pre-school are available, there are many children and families who do not participate in any of these programs.

Building Broadwater’s Kids would serve the children not participating in local programs by expanding services to all children from 0-5 years of age by introducing them to the Imagination Library, a program supported by the Dolly Parton Foundation. This program has been successfully implemented in several Montana towns, and local early childhood advocates are excited to create their own chapter in Townsend.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is provided by Broadwater County Social Services Committee. For more information on this project, please contact BCSSC.

Program Administrated by Family Promise of Greater Helena and Helena Area Habitat for Humanity

The mission of Family Promise of Greater Helena is to support families with children as they overcome homelessness and become sustainably independent. Helena Area Habitat for Humanity provides affordable home ownership programs through supported financial packages, along with a sweat equity component. They are partnering to initiate the New Beginnings—Steps to Independence program that allows those who are homeless, transitioning or working toward financial stability to progress toward financial independence and home ownership. This program is a perfect precursor to the First Time Home Buyers practical course in attaining home ownership.

Our clients, referred from our own and other programs within the area, will learn sound financial planning habits, build credit, create a budget, resolve old debt and establish long-term saving habits. It is a combination of group course work, one-on-one counseling and proven tools that, together, will offer a road map allow families and individuals to attain greater stability and wider access to housing options, regardless of their stage of financial literacy.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about New Beginnings – Steps to Independence is provided by Family Promise and Helena Area Habitat for Humanity. For more information on this project, please contact Family Promise of Greater Helena or Helena Area Habitat for Humanity.

Program Administrated by Rocky Mountain Development Council

Rocky’s Head Start team currently serves 236 children, 3-5 years of age, in Helena, East Helena, Townsend, Boulder and Whitehall. Although there are some limited resources to support the mental, social and emotional health of Head Start students and their families in some of these areas, other locations have no resources available.

Early intervention is key to addressing developmental problems, which is why Rocky is using United Way Community Impact Grant funds to provide a Mental Health Consultant who will assist staff in supporting students and their families.

This program will provide on-site professional development for Head Start staff, support individual children, and ensure low-income families participating in Head Start will be able to meet their mental health needs. It will remove barriers for families and provide strategies for teachers to use to help every child have a bright future.

The grant provided to support this program is made possible by community members like you who choose to give to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. Thank you for your generous partnership!

Information about Mental Health Services Enhancement is provided by Rocky. For more information on this project, please contact Rocky.