GREAT FALLS, Mont.—Resident-owned communities in Montana are using pandemic grant funding to make life during the pandemic a little easier for their Members.
The 14 ROCs in Montana received a combined $243,099 through state and private grants to support community needs and provide stability in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
Funding was provided by the State of Montana Coronavirus Relief Funds to ROCs that have 501c3 funding. NeighborWorks Montana received grant funds for pandemic response from Wells Fargo and issued $7,000 grants to ROCs that have not yet obtained 501c3 status from the IRS.
“All of the communities’ boards worked with their community members to provide input on the best use of the funds and the needs of the membership. The grants were used to help residents respond to the crisis and proved just how resilient our resident owned communities are,” said NeighborWorks Montana ROC Program Director Maiden.
The ROCs worked with their technical assistance provider to apply for the funds.
“Most of the communities used the funds to bolster technology for meetings and buy supplies for mailings to Members during the pandemic,” added Maiden.
In Morning Star Cooperative in Kalispell and River Acres in Missoula, funds went to provide laptops, printers and copiers for board members so the ROC could continue to operate without needing to make contact with one another during the pandemic. At Northwood Community in Pablo, the community used funds to renovate an abandoned home into a community center, where a computer with internet and a printer/scanner will be available to residents, along with community WiFi for personal devices.
At Mountain Springs Villa in Red Lodge, the community purchased an outdoor message board for communication during the pandemic.
A few communities purchased one-time gift cards for every household. At C&C Community in Billings, funds were used to build gift bags for each resident that included hand sanitizer, masks, and gift cards.
Playgrounds were also a popular investment – with children home from school and spending more time in the community during the pandemic, three ROCs – Crossroads Cooperative, River Acres, and Country Court – purchased and installed new playground equipment.
“Working with the leaders of Montana ROCs to deploy the grant funds they received reminded me to look for the best in all situations,” said Maiden.
The complete list of grant projects completed by the Montana ROCs is available on the NeighborWorks Montana website.