RLACF lauded for a year of hard work

By: 
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter

Photo by Chelsea Ditmore - Merv Coleman (left) presented the Volunteer Awards. Standing left to right: Award recipients Kate Belinda, Kim Haman, Anna Drew, Rebekah Easter, Saige Okken, Chuck Aurand with RLACF Executive Director Tracy Timmons.

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation (RLACF) held its annual meeting on Thursday, March 22, at the Old Roosevelt School. Over 60 people attended to hear about its enormous and diverse efforts over the past year. "We had an excellent 2017!” said Executive Director Tracy Timmons enthusiastically. “Together, our mission impact was greatly expanded by working together with over 300 dedicated volunteers to ensure that the community foundation is working on opportunities that the community deems most important. There is no way that we could have completed everything in this report without volunteers. We look like the community because we are driven by it." RLACF currently has 41 programs in the community heavily supported by volunteers. Merv Coleman emceed a special presentation of the 2017 Volunteer Champions, with photos, plaques and roses. The awards were as follows: Rebekah Easter for Mental Health-Resilient Community; Anna Drew for Fun Run: Thriving Nonprofits; Saige Okken for Youth Volunteer-Connected Youth; Pat Thomson for Old Roosevelt-Robust Arts, Culture and Environment; Ann Winning for Early Childhood Development-Connected Youth; Kate Belinda for Green Fund-Thriving Nonprofits; Chuck Aurand for Healthy Community-Resilient Community and Kim Haman for Workforce Housing-Resilient Community. Also honored was the life of volunteer Amy Hetland and the time she dedicated to the community foundation. Hetland passed earlier this year. The Workforce Housing program will create its first permanently affordable home this spring. Some of RLACF’s accomplishments in this past year include: VISTAS provided 5,200 hours of service. Eighty-four grants awarded for Girls in Motion, Arts Education Fund, Senior Ark and the Youth Enrichment Fund. Over $525,000 in grants were awarded to local people and organizations to strengthen the community. RLACF invested $200,814 in purchasing Old Roosevelt School and $155,972 received for its redevelopment as a community center. Nine programs have been added to address identified needs such as mental health, aging in the community and support for families. Timmons stated, “We are ecstatic that 55 percent of our funding was granted to nonprofits and people in need! We have an excellent relationship with donors. We connect their time, and their funds, to exactly what they want them dedicated to.” Another 40 percent of funding was invested into programming, such as the initiation of an active rural transportation plan, the process of building a more permanently affordable home for a family, the support for the community care team, renewed focus on mental health issues, and the support systems being built around early childhood and youth internship programs. Only 5 percent of the funding was allocated to management and fundraising expenses. Timmons said, “As we continue to focus on long term sustainability, we are focusing to address unrestricted funding needs for all nonprofits in our area.” There were successes and challenges. Timmons noted that AmeriCorps VISTA workers are no longer available to Red Lodge. RLCF and the community has extensively benefited from them over the past eight years where they have provided 60,320 hours of service. The Fun Run resulted in $222,638 being awarded to 56 charities. She noted, "The purchase of Old Roosevelt has engaged us in new ways. We are actively collaborating with, and building capacity for, existing organizations, along with supporting the creation of new ones.” Twenty-three events are already scheduled for the next quarter including theater, concerts, dance, and fairs. Future plans include a walkable, downtown performance space that will seat over 300 people. It is hoped to increase the capacity of the Arts Guild by providing them with additional display space. According to the annual report, a rural transit plan is “within our reach.” The Pro Cut Green Fund has funded 14 projects and awarded more than $12,000 in cash. Timmons said that the redevelopment of Old Roosevelt is designed to build a "bigger pie" for every business, in some way. “We want to ensure that our community can have as many full time, year round jobs as possible, especially during the slow shoulder seasons, by enticing people to come to Red Lodge as often as possible, and for as long as possible.” She sees the ongoing efforts between RLACF and the community as a landmark point in Red Lodge’s history: “This focus to bring together all types of arts and culture, to create an active collaborative arts statement, and a centralized, affordable place to engage and build upon one another.” Timmons added, “I deeply appreciate the community's active support of our efforts to connect people and build community."

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Monday, November 19, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.