UM to handle statewide side of new $16.7M initiative to promote healthy children

Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 18:49:29-05

MISSOULA – On Thursday in Missoula, an organization announced their first initiative focused on bettering the lives and futures of Montana children ages 0-5.

The Headwaters Foundation in Missoula announced the $16.7 million multi-year initiative Thursday morning.

Headwaters will collaborate with three organizations to focus on resilient parenting, healthy pregnancy and school readiness in 16 Montana communities.

The initiative will invest $5.2 million of the $16 million to establish a program office anchored at the University of Montana.

While the local organizations work on the local level the UM office will deal with statewide partners and deal with policy, data, research and technical assistance.

CEO Brenda Solorzano says UM’s involvement is crucial to the future success of the program.

“The hope is that it becomes a go-to resource for anyone that cares about 0-5. Whether you are a nonprofit leader, a provider, a policy maker, a media person,” Solorzano said. “You want to know what’s going on in western Montana 0-5, they’re the resource. And the idea is to eventually create a symbiotic relations ship between what’s happening at the local level and what’s happening at the state level, because they need to be working in tandem if you’re actually going to achieve the change we want to see for children in Montana.”

Missoula, Flathead, Lewis and Clark and Silver Bow counties will be the first four communities focused on followed by Lincoln and Mineral until all 16 are up and running.

— Story by Jack Ginsburg – MTN News