Private Sector and State Team Up for Lewis and Clark Grants - 3/7/00
Gov. Marc Racicot, Rick Hays, vice president of U.S. WEST Montana, and Clint Blackwood, executive director of the Montana Lewis and Clark Commission, held a news conference Monday to unveil a joint public/private sector program to provide grants at the local level to help pay for Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events and other projects.
"Much of what has been done so far to prepare Montana to play its role in the national Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration has been planning," Clint Blackwood, executive director of the Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission said. "We are excited to take the next step toward finding ways to help local groups secure necessary funding."
U.S. WEST contributed $50,000 toward the grant program that was matched with $50,000 from the state Lewis and Clark Commission with funds designated for the program from the state accommodation tax, which is administered by Travel Montana. The total available for the Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial/U.S. WEST Grants Program this year is $100,000.
"We are very appreciative of the generosity of U.S. WEST, which has helped us create this program. It will enable many of our communities to better prepare for commemorations of the historic journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We thank U.S. WEST for its contribution, and encourage eligible groups to apply for these grants," Racicot said.
Hays praised the work of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission and said, "U.S. WEST and its 650 Montana employees are pleased to be able to help local organizations prepare for this celebration."
The grants will be available to qualified non-profit organizations at the local level. In addition to local private non-profit organizations, tribal, city and county governments as well as state and federal agencies can qualify for grants, Blackwood said.
The minimum grant will be $2,500 and the maximum $25,000. Those who receive grants must match every $2 in Lewis and Clark grants with $1 in cash or in-kind services such as labor and supplies.
The grant requests will be reviewed under scoring and selection procedures by a committee made up of two representatives from U.S. WEST, two state Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commissioners, a representative of the Montana Historical Society, and Blackwood.
"The Montana Historical Society's role on the state Bicentennial Commission has helped us stay involved in the important work of making sure that commemoration events accurately reflect the actual history of the expedition," Society Director Arnold Olsen said. "We are pleased that Montanans are taking pride in telling this important story of our heritage."
The grants are available for projects including construction or remodeling and preservation of existing structures, historical sites or artifacts related to Lewis and Clark second and last add, lewis and clark grants activities; purchase of structures, Lewis and Clark attractions, historical sites or artifacts; purchase of equipment for a specific Lewis and Clark project; design and construction of interpretive and directional signs; support services for events with an educational value historically accurate to Lewis and Clark; land conservation, preservation, access or protection of Lewis and Clark related sites; educational programs such as symposiums, curriculum development and exhibits.
Grant applications must be postmarked no later than April 14, Blackwood said, and grants awards will be announced in June. Grant applications are available through regional Bicentennial planning organizations or from the Bicentennial Commission office in Helena. Call 443-2109 for more information.
Taking part in the press conference in addition to Racicot, Hays, Blackwood and Olsen were Matthew Cohn head of Travel Montana, and State Parks Administrator Doug Monger, who are state representatvies on the Lewis and Clark Commission.