Montana Horizons Program: Transforming Communities from Striving to Thriving
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This report has descriptions of the sixteen communities stretching from Scobey to Anaconda. These sixteen communities successfully completed the Horizons II program during 2007-08 which provide just a small example of their achievements. The smallest town had 139 residents, the largest, 4,089. Poverty rates ranged from 11% to 41%. As examples throughout this report attest, the challenges in rural communities are signiﬁcant but not insurmountable and opportunities abound. When community members focus on a speciﬁc outcome, join hands with collaborating partners and keep their eye on the future, the possibilities are never-ending. A new spirit and passion for community involvement is created when a common goal is identiﬁed and shared broadly.
Launched in 2003, Horizons is funded by the NWAF, whose mission is to help reduce poverty in eight states including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Also participating are towns in Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota. In 2004, Montana State University Extension began a partnership with the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) and communities across the state to address the growing concern of rural poverty in Montana. The general premise that directed this endeavor was if a delivery organization (MSU Extension) worked closely with a funding partner (the NWAF) in collaboration with local communities to identify and address issues of poverty, then positive results could be accomplished. This partnership was designed a six-year partnership that was designed to create community dialog, develop local leadership, build on community assets, and move a community to visioning and action. As of 2010, more than 35 communities have completed the 18-month Horizons program, with several additional communities participating in some elements of community dialog, leadership development and action planning.
Lachapelle, P.R. and C. Flaherty. 2009. Montana Horizons Program: Transforming Communities from Striving to Thriving. Bozeman, MT: MSU Extension 21 pages.