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Montana nonprofit picks up $50K donation - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana nonprofit picks up $50K donation

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HELENA -

The Montana Conservation Corps has received a $50,000 grant presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana.

The Healthy Kids Healthy Families grant was for MCC's youth program that helps teens from all across the state better enjoy the outdoors and increase confidence in teen lives.

The nonprofit organization thought it was another day of providing hands on help to the community over the weekend when they were surprised with the grant.

MCC President and CEO Jono McKinney -- and Theresa Bushman, the director of development and communications, were shocked to see Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana's blue-bear holding the grant.

"Most importantly is the fact that we are able to continue offering the opportunity for kids to participate in month long service expeditions for free and this kind of support really helps with that to leverage those experiences," McKinney said.

McKinney says some of the first things MCC will do with the grant money is to grow youth programs, increase staffing -- and evaluate what's best about the program.

Jan Lombardi, who is one of Helena's board members says people would be surprised how many Montanans don't take

"MCC provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to get outside, feel what it feels like to be out there and promote them feeling better and healthy and also giving back because when they're out there they are doing things that benefit all Montanans," Lombardi said.

Once the excitement settled down, MCC's participants started on their volunteer work for the day by helping remove weeds from the Helena YMCA's garden.

"There are countless studies that show a direct correlation between more time spent outside and improved health with young people so its a perfect fit for out Healthy Kids Healthy Families initiative, and we look forward to continuing that partnership with the conservation corps," said BCBS Montana Senior Director John Doran.

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