Community Outreach

Supporting Rural America

By April Churchill, Fay Ranches Community Foundation Director of Development

Living in Montana, you find yourself in what would be considered a rural area almost everywhere you go. Most of my childhood memories are of my time spent in towns that are less than 1,500 people. I remember spending my summers in tourist towns all over the state where the main street was only a couple of blocks long. These are the areas I grew up in, where I learned how to fish with my dad, ate a few too many ice cream cones with my brothers, and spent time exploring the rivers and streams for fish. I have a lot of good memories of small towns across Montana.

Growing up and traveling to other parts of the country, I noticed that there were a lot of small towns that I visited that didn’t always have the amenities that larger cities did. Now visiting those same rural communities, I notice fewer people live there, the ice cream shop is no longer in business, and the main streets are boarded up. Without resources and opportunities, people are leaving for urban areas and not returning. The population living there is aging out of the workforce and doesn’t have the next generation to pass the family business on to. These small towns are essentially drying up and being forgotten.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit America hard, but rural communities felt more impact and less rebound than urban areas. We witnessed local businesses shutting their doors, large corporations pulling their operations out, and schools losing their students and teachers. Helping rural America is more important now than it has ever been. These rural communities produce resources for the rest of America, including food, water, energy, and recreation. Without those resources, the rest of the country will suffer.

The Fay Ranches Community Foundation was founded to combat the lack of resources and opportunities in small towns. We are dedicated to helping rural America by sourcing opportunities focused on health, education, and youth. These focus areas are crucial to the economic prosperity of towns and the well-being of the residents who live there. Providing sustainable resources to rural America has a significant impact on the communities and a domino effect on the rest of the country. Giving the youth in these areas the tools and resources they need to gain the knowledge necessary to take over the family farm or ranch helps provide food for the rest of the country and benefits the local economy. Ensuring the health clinic has the technology to provide adequate care for their patients ensures a higher quality of life. Providing opportunities for youth and professionals to further their education helps them take the next steps to develop local businesses and organizations.

The Fay Ranches Community Foundation supports these efforts because we envision a future where families choose to live in rural America, where they have access to quality education, health, and growth opportunities. Providing resources and opportunities for these communities is something we are passionate about. We invite everyone to join us in doing so and looking toward the future of rural America.


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