Small Town Solution: Grantmaking from the Dubois/Crowheart Local Board

In Wyoming, we take great pride in our small towns and want to see them do well. Many of the places you and I call home are small in numbers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big needs.

In a town of just under 1,000 people, Dubois area nonprofits play an important role in this small community. Afterschool programs, senior services and community building organizations all add to the town’s vitality. But these nonprofits’ needs aren’t always met. They don’t always stay afloat and often struggle to make ends meet.

“Shortly after I moved here in 1983, I began to see a need,” Jim Rice a member of the Dubois/Crowheart Local Board said.  “Living in a small town can be difficult and raising money in a small town with a limited population is difficult. After serving a couple of terms on the state board of WYCF, I could see that we needed something to generate dollars locally to help the nonprofits.”

This is why the Dubois/Crowheart Area Local Board was created in 2007, and the volunteers on this board help tackle these problems. Jim is one of the longest-standing volunteers on the board.

Over the years, the community has rallied to help too.

Every fall the town participates in the Dubois Challenge. Something the local board members are proud to see their community rally around. It’s a fundraiser that receives matching grants from members of the local board, community members, and the Wyoming Community Foundation state board. Currently, for every dollar raised locally it is matched 4 -to- 1 up to a 10,000 total match. This match comes from  local individuals and foundations along with a contribution from the WYCF state board. This money is given back to Dubois/Crowheart nonprofits through the local board’s grant process

“We know we’re doing some good by helping raise money that will be granted out. It indicates a huge level of support, if we can quadruple the money for them it has a big impact.”

The Boys & Girls Club, the Volunteer Fire Department, and High-Country Senior Citizens are just a few nonprofits who applied and received grants from the local board.

Giving More Than Grants

“We are really good about having more accountability in Dubois than when we first started,” Jim says.
“As a local board we feel it’s our obligation to demand accountability, have them fill out a good application, current financials, and a good final report.”

The local board is giving these nonprofits in a small town more than just money, they are giving them tools to be accountable. Many of the other nonprofits see that the local board has high expectations, and it makes a big difference. To encourage more participation, the local board has also offered grant writing workshops for nonprofits in the Dubois/Crowheart area.

“Retaining a cushion in our local board account at WYCF means we’ll be able to continue to help even in the hard years.”