As part of its strategic plan for 2020-2025, Reach Higher Montana implemented a new grant program to fund communities to support more students pursuing education after high school. Priority is given to smaller Montana communities (defined as high school class A, B, or C).
Grants Are Awarded in Two Steps:
Step One – Planning Grants: Eligible grantees are invited to apply for up to $1,500 to convene a local steering group and complete a local asset map related to increasing the number of students in the community who pursue education after high school. The local steering committee must include representation from the local school district, although the school district is not required to be the grant applicant.
Step One Deliverables:
- Commitment from local steering committee members to work collaboratively to increase the number of students pursuing education after high school.
- Completed community asset map.
- Identification of funding needs and priorities.
Step Two – Action Grants: Upon completion of Step One deliverables, the community can apply for additional grant funding to address specific needs and opportunities determined by the local steering committee group from their asset-mapping work. A pool of funds will be available for allocation among grantees, totaling $25,000 to $40,000 annually.
Step Two Deliverables:
- Complete proposal for funding to address needs and priorities formulated in Step One.
- Identification of specific goals and timelines for completion.
- Ongoing progress reports, including identifying technical assistance needs.
- Completed final report at the end of the grant period.
- Commitment to engage in sharing best practices and lessons learned with fellow grantees and through Reach Higher Montana’s marketing and communication efforts.
The grantee organization will be the lead entity coordinating local efforts and responsible for fiscal management and reporting on use of grant funds. Grants are intended to help Montana’s smaller communities, and priority will be given to applicants serving communities with high schools classified as A, B, or C.
- School districts
- Not-for-profit organizations, including Chambers of Commerce and Community Based Organizations
- State or local government entities
- Higher education institutions
Use of Funds:
- Step One grant funds ($1,500) may be used for personnel costs to complete grant activities, convening expenses, and facilitation. Funds cannot be used for lobbying activities or partisan political activities.
- The intention of the Step One funds is to provide sufficient support for convening the steering committee and completing the asset mapping work. Therefore, Reach Higher Montana will be flexible in approving the use of funds for these purposes. Funds cannot be used for lobbying activities or partisan political activities.
- Step Two grant funds can be used to address specific needs and opportunities determined by the steering committee in their asset mapping work. Likewise, funding will be flexible to allow communities to address their specific needs.
- Step One grant applications opens March 2.
- Step One grant applications are due by May 1.
- Step One grants will be awarded by June 1.
- Step One grant deliverables will be due by September 1.
- Step Two grant applications are due by October 15.
- Step Two grant applications will be awarded by December 1.
- Step Two grant deliverables will be determined on a project-by-project basis.
For more information about Community Grants, contact Executive Director Kelly Cresswell at (406) 422-1275 x 804 or kcresswell@ReachHigherMontana.org.