MISSOULA — The Missoula Downtown Association honors the community’s most impactful citizens and businesses for their dedication to Missoula at the end of each year.
The most prestigious honor given is the Dan Cederberg Downtowner of the Year, and this year, that award carried even more honor than usual considering the endless challenges our community faced.
On the organizational front, the United Way of Missoula County kicked it into gear when the pandemic panic set in last March. Taking the lead for the United Way was impact director Eric Legvold.
“When we saw the pandemic kind of setting in, we knew it was time to really move forward and develop the private donation resources for a proper response,” said Legvold.
Along with his team, Legvold went to work, collaborating with the Human Resource Council to develop a financial assistance fund for service industry and gig workers.
The task required an army of volunteers, but the payoff proved powerful for the families who were struggling to make ends meet.
In total, Legvold and his team raised just under $500,000 in relief funds. According to Legvold, United Way provided $330,000 to approximately 1,000 service and gig workers.
Additional money, in the form of $5,000 grants was given to direct service providers like Missoula Aging Services and Soft Landing Missoula.
But the work didn’t stop there.
Legvold led the charge in collecting and distributing more than 40,000 face masks, also spearheading the team effort to build the new temporary safe homeless camp.
“2020 was a bottle of mayhem that we don't want to see again, hopefully in our lifetime,” said Legvold, “but if I could do one small thing to impact someone's life, I'm happy.”
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