Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - For the next few weeks, Missoula County will be accepting grant applications for the Substance Abuse Prevention Mill Levy and the Community Assistance Fund.

KGVO News spoke to Sarah Bell, Missoula County Grants Administrator for details on how government and nonprofit organizations can apply for funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

Each Year Community Groups Compete for Limited Funds

Bell provided details about the Substance Abuse Prevention levy.

“The Substance Abuse Prevention mill levy was approved by voters in 2008,” began Bell. “It's a set amount of funds that come from the taxpayer's dollars, and that set fund every year is $368,920. Those funds go directly to programs in Missoula County that support substance use prevention efforts that are specific for youth.”

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Bell said the funds are limited and the applications are competitive for the community and government agencies desiring the money from the levy.

“In order to get those funds, people apply through a competitive funding application, which is what we're advertising today,” she said. “To be available for applicants, those organizations have to have programming that's very specific. They must help educate about the risks and costs of using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs or have a supervised nonschool hour activity that gives young people alternatives to drug use, or that they provide early intervention to help youth and families address alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems.”

There's Never Enough Money to Fund all the Requests

Bell said, unfortunately, there is never enough money in the levy to fund all the groups that apply.

“Every year that need greatly outweighs the funding amount that we have, but we continue to offer it,” she said. “Last fiscal year it provided support to seven different programs throughout Missoula County. We provided support to the Boys and Girls Club’s emotional wellness out-of-school program; the All Nations Health Center has a program called Missoula Healthy Pathways, which is culturally based on substance use prevention and intervention. Empower Montana has a program called ‘Empowering People Inspiring Change’, which is an out-of-school program geared mostly towards high school students.”

One Fund was Established Way Back in 1877 'To Assist the Poor and Infirm'

Bell said the other fund, called the Community Assistance Fund, was originally established in Missoula back in 1877, when the Montana Legislative Assembly of the Montana Territory established a fund ‘to assist the poor and infirm’ of the county.

“The Community Assistance Fund addresses folks that are at risk within the community,” she said. “That's a larger fund that comes from taxpayer dollars also, which are also competitive. Last year they supported 18 different programs ranging from Aging Services to Garden City Harvest the Human Resource Council, the Poverello Center, and the Salvation Army just to name a few, so it's a really broad reach that supports at-risk populations from youth to the elderly in our community.”

Government and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply online before 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 17.

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