The MFEC is proud to promote local efforts to expand financial education across Montana. Mini-grants are intended to help support activities in local communities that are rooted in Financial Literacy Awareness. The MFEC places an emphasis on applications which target high-needs populations and that create a best-practice or tool that is replicable. Mini-grants may be used to augment existing activities or to implement a new strategy or program. Click here to read the MFEC Mini-Grant Policy.
Mini-grant recipients are required to submit a Grant Performance Report by December 31st. This report allows the MFEC to track the impact that the program or event had on the local community in which the mini-grant was awarded. This also includes the submission of photos taken at events or programs which have in part been enabled by the mini-grant. These photos may be used by the MFEC on its website or other promotional materials.
Past Mini-Grant Projects
Through the generosity of our partners, the MFEC awarded five mini-grants in 2019 totaling nearly $3,500 in support of projects serving a broad range of populations across Montana.
YouthBuild – Helena
YouthBuild Helena is an employ-ability program dedicated to helping young adults achieve their high school equivalency, attain pre-apprenticeship certificates, serve the Helena Community, and build life skills. Financial literacy is a life skill taught at YouthBuild, however YouthBuild currently lacks a specific financial literacy curriculum. The goal is to implement a curriculum that will last several years. The target population is current and future YouthBuild students ages 16-24. Each year YouthBuild recruits 31 students from Jefferson, Broadwater, and Lewis and Clark Counties. Every YouthBuild student must be eligible for the YouthBuild program by having a barrier to employment. The current Case Manager has a Master’s in Business Administration and is well suited to deliver the financial literacy program because of his education and background knowledge in finance. Grant funds will be used to purchase books that will be part of the curriculum.
MSU-Exention – Hill County
Summer reading book club of the book the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey in July/August in Havre. The goal is to equip participants with skills they can use to reduce their debt. The target population will be Hill County residents (will be open to 20 persons). Participants will read the book and complete activities in the workbook. They will meet four times and will discuss skills they are learning. Grant funds to be used for books/workbook, printing costs to promo the program, and incentives for participants to complete the book club.
MSU-Extension – Ravalli Country
StoryWalk is the concept of building early literacy, physical activity and family time. Pages of a book are laminated and mounted on a garden stake, then placed strategically throughout a public place, such as a park of farmers market. Through the assistance of the Bitterroot Public Library, Bitterroot Financial Education Coalition and MSU Extension, we are piloting the concept of StoryWalk using books focused on financial education in May 2019.Families with young children in the towns of Hamilton, Darby and Stevensville will be served with this project. In the month of May, we will be piloting the concept in Hamilton to receive data and feedback regarding the project to help build interest in the other communities. The Bitterroot Public Library will be hosting Toddler Story. Time at the park to promote the program. We plan to serve at least 150 individuals. Grant funds to be used for books, signage supplies and participation incentives.
NACDC Financial Services – Browning
NACDC Financial Services (NACDCFS) is a non-profit Native CDFI that was founded by Elouise Cobell in 2010. As a part of this mission, NACDCFS administers a youth savings program in Browning, MT schools and compliments this with financial literacy training whenever possible. For the last 2 years, an NACDCFS trainer has taught a 4-part financial literacy class in the local high school to all graduating seniors. If funded, this project would combine the 4-part class into a single day that would include lunch, 2 guest speakers, more time to develop a budget and other financial skills. The 1-day class would take place on Saturday December 7th and would be a requirement for all graduating seniors. The target population is graduating seniors at Browning Public High School. The school is located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Approximately 38% of households on the reservation are below the poverty line. All graduating seniors are required to take this class to graduate. The class is timed so that it is not at the same time as major sports or other extra-curricular activities. Approximately 100 students graduate from Browning Public High School annually. The grant funds would be used for speaker honorariums and lunch for the event.
Rural Dynamics, Inc.
Tax Help Montana (THM) is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program made up of a coalition of community partners that provide free individual income tax preparation for low- to-moderate income and elderly individuals and families across Montana. The grant will support the training and implementation of a Financial Fitness project with the potential to reach up to 5,000 homes in Montana. RDI volunteer tax preparers prepare 5,000 state and federal returns annually within at least 15 Montana counties as well as 2 Native American Reservations. RDI has a traveling team that takes tax preparation services to the people allowing us to truly reach the under-served areas of the state and our most vulnerable populations. Training for the VITA/TCE volunteers is provided by the Tax Help MT Program Manager. Due to the scope of RDI’s operations and programs, the Program Manager would be able to partner with the Financial Fitness for Life Coordinator to provide quality, in depth training to the volunteers on how to have these conversations with the taxpayers as well as educating them on what financial resources are available and how to refer them to the appropriate agencies. Grant funds would be used in part to help cover a portion of supplies, technology, equipment, program management salary, and office space.
Through the generosity of our partners, the MFEC awarded five mini-grants in 2018 totaling nearly $4,000 in support of projects serving a broad range of populations across Montana.
Montana Family, Career and Community Leaders of America – Bozeman
The FCCLA incorporated adviser training on Financial Fitness at their annual fall Leadership Rally held at MSU. The grant supported the training and implementation of a Financial Fitness project with the potential to reach up to 225 middle and high school students.
MSU Extension – Lewis and Clark County – Helena
This grant funded two projects: Money Habitudes and Solid Finances, with the potential to reach up to 80 low-income residents. Money Habitudes allowed participants to explore their spending habits and move in the direction of improving their financial behaviors. Solid Finances offered “Cool Your Spending: Financial Education Webinar Series” at libraries over the noon hour during the summer.
MSU Extension – Richland County – Sidney
The grant funded a one-day estate planning workshop that helped residents address financial and family issues surrounding estate planning. The workshop reached about 20 Richland County residents.
Montana Youth Homes – Helena
This grant provided basic budgeting skills and other financial life-skills to eight residents of Montana Youth Homes. The training provided practical financial skills the residents can use to help them live independently when they leave the youth home.
Park City School District 5 – Laurel
Park City School offered a Personal Finance Presentation Day for 26 senior class students. The presentation consisted of eight speakers and focused on personal financial topics for students preparing to leave home. One presentation was held in the evening and open to the public, with the potential to reach up to 50 people.