United Way announces $1 million in community investments

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United Way invests in nonprofits, community impact

United Way of Cascade County announced that it will invest $1,072,789 to advance bold goals in education, financial stability and health.

Thanks to last fall’s campaign, United Way will help 23,278 people in the coming year through the local programs receiving grants alone. And its community impact work – initiatives like Graduation Matters – touches everyone living in Cascade County.

The annual United Way campaign aims to make it easy for people and businesses to build our entire community. Most give through a workplace campaign and deduct small amounts from each paycheck.

“Our generous community continues to step up their support of our efforts,” United Way President Gary Owen said. “Because of their support, United Way is able to bring together community resources to tackle some of our community’s biggest challenges.”

To broaden United Way of Cascade County’s impact in our community, the nonprofit is dedicating $471,385 to community initiatives in the coming year. That includes supporting efforts like Graduation Matters, the Healthy Lives Vibrant Futures initiative and managing the federally funded Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

Employees can designate their donations to specific nonprofits that are close to their hearts. This year, donors designated $201,618 to 106 nonprofits.

For money that isn’t designated, a volunteer committee decides which programs best advance United Way’s goals of helping children achieve their potential and graduate on time, promoting financial stability and independence and improving people’s health.

A team of 40 volunteers spent hours reviewing written proposals and listening to presentations before allocating $399,786 to fund 34 nonprofit programs, including six new to United Way.

Many nonprofits, including Meals on Wheels, St. Vincent de Paul’s food pantry and Opportunities Inc.’s housing assistance program, had increased needs because of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent closures. Many other nonprofits requesting grants had increased costs as they scrambled to safely offer support to students, seniors and people with disabilities.

“Each year, our volunteers face the challenge of being able to fund half of what is requested of United Way,” Owen said. “This year, they faced the new challenge of trying to meet the additional community needs because of COVID-19.”

Broken down in to United Way’s focus areas of education, income and health, which includes protecting vulnerable populations, here are the 34 programs that will be funded this year:


Education -- $91,930

  • Alliance for Youth (youth resource center) – $23,302
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – $3,750
  • Boys & Girls Club -- $20,00
  • Family Connections -- $1,000
  • Foster Grandparents -- $5,000
  • GFPS Early Learning Center -- $12,500
  • GFPS Raising Readers program – $5,000
  • LGBTQ -- $2,000
  • Young Parents Education Center -- $19,378


Income -- $83,936

  • Cascade County Law Clinic -- $11,000
  • Conservatory ALS Northwest -- $2,000
  • Habitat for Humanity -- $10,000
  • NeighborWorks Great Falls -- $7,500
  • Opportunities, Inc. (housing)-- $24,500
  • St. Vincent de Paul (Vet mentoring, homeless outreach programs) -- $28,936


Health -- $223,920

  • Alliance for Youth (parenting classes & support for recovering addicts) -- $37,000
  • Alluvion Health Care -- $3,000
  • Eagle Mount -- $8,000
  • Get Fit Great Falls -- $2,500
  • Great Falls Children’s Receiving Home -- $8,500
  • Great Falls Senior Center -- $8,000
  • Juvenile Drug Court -- $20,220
  • Kairos Youth Services -- $19,000
  • Meals on Wheels -- $17,000
  • Peace Place Respite Care – $9,000
  • St. Vincent de Paul food program -- $12,000
  • Sunburst Unlimited -- $2,000
  • Toby’s House -- $5,000
  • Veterans’ Treatment Court -- $40,200
  • Voices of Hope (crisis line & 2-1-1 information line) -- $17,500
  • YWCA Mercy Home -- $15,000