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Grants Aim To Improve Health Care For Vulnerable Families In Western Montana

Missoula's Community Medical Center.
Missoula's Community Medical Center.

When Missoula’s not-for-profit Community Hospital was sold to a for-profit company three years ago, by law the proceeds from that sale had to be invested in a community foundation.

That $100 million investment is now starting to spin out grants aimed at improving health care for western Montana’s children and families. Edward O’Brien has more on the new Headwaters Foundation’s funding priorities.

Foundation CEO Brenda Solorzano says it will invest $2.5 million this year to bolster the health and well-being of what she describes as the region’s most vulnerable.

“For us, that is going to be children living in poor or working-poor families across the state. It’s also looking at American Indian communities that have suffered significantly from health disparities relative to the general population.”

Solorzano says the bulk of Headwaters’ $2.5 million investment this year will use a streamlined grant process to focus on local collaboratives.

“Our hope is that we facilitate the process and provide the resources for the community to identify, within that framework, what they want to work on and then develop an action plan they want to move forward, and we are the facilitators.”

Solorzano says Headwaters wants to see its partner communities take a long-term and preventive approach to a variety of health care issues including stubborn ones such as substance abuse.

“We know that in western Montana there are a significant number of children born drug addicted. How do we help parents – pregnant moms – think about having healthy pregnancies? How do they manage a substance abuse problem that they may have in a way that allows them to maybe have a healthier outcome with their children?”

Specific programs and organizations have not yet been selected to participate.

A series of local meeting will start later this month to discuss the Headwaters Foundation plans.

Learn more: https://www.headwatersmt.org

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