By Claire Muller
Executive Director, Seeley Lake Community Foundation 

Accessing key resources through collaboration


Photo provided

Executive Director of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation Claire Muller is a friendly face working to help bring resources to the Seeley Lake area.

What a wild few weeks it has been. We hope you're doing ok. Crises bring lots of stress and unknowns. Yet, this is also an opportunity for some beautiful collaboration. There are so many good people in this community!

Many of our neighbors are having a hard time and we realize that number will grow the longer this pandemic goes on. Over here at the Seeley Lake Community Foundation, we are reaching out to different parts of our community and looking at how we can help get people access to the resources they need, from both inside our community and outside it.

We have been trying to post relevant and helpful information on our Facebook page, including any time-sensitive financial assistance we hear about. We've also started compiling all the updates we learn of for services and resources available in this area: We appreciate the Pathfinder for helping us get out time-sensitive information as quickly as possible.

We've been excited to represent Seeley Lake on weekly conference calls with the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management and pass along any pertinent information to groups working in our valley. We've been in close contact with the new Seeley Swan Helps group and have been so pleased to help connect the organizers with some tools to help their efforts.

We've been checking in on some of the great work local social service nonprofits have been doing and what their needs might be. We've also been in touch with the Montana Nonprofit Association and with other community foundations around Montana, to try to get a handle on the landscape of this new world we're in. How are other rural communities around the state getting creative about helping each other, and working together to move forward?

Coordinating a community-wide response to an unprecedented crisis is challenging! How do you make sure someone is reaching out to folks who might be most in need? How do you best help people navigate these often colossal changes and hardships? What does our community need most right now? What are the gaps? Collaboration is key to this effort.

This week, we hope any businesses in town (and nonprofits and churches, which also might be eligible) have looked into, and started applying for, some of the federal relief funds that are now available. Check out our COVID-19 webpage for the best resources we've been able to find to help you with this.

Stay tuned in future weeks for updates as we navigate how the SLCF can best help this place we all love. If there's anything you think we can help with, please let us know: 677-3506 or In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy and remember the words of Dr. Bruce Perry, "The most powerful buffer in times of stress and distress is our social connectedness; so let's all remember to stay physically distant but emotionally close. Reach out and connect; even a short text or smiling face on Zoom can help."


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