Welcome to National Service in MT, Julia!
Helena, MT | Sept. 22, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
Julia has joined YWCA Helena as the Programs Research VISTA. She is transitioning to social services from a career in chemical engineering and will use her experience in data analysis and project management to support capacity building and improve outcomes.
Julia was raised in Virginia and has spent the past few years in Chicago, where she found her passion working with women while volunteering at a transitional housing shelter. She is new to Montana and exploring Helena through her favorite things, which include hot yoga, pottery, and dogs.
Thank you for a 2nd Year of National Service in MT, Abby!
Missoula, MT | Sept. 16, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
Abby is in her second year of serving the Montana World Trade Center as an Americorps VISTA. She works closely with the Executive Director with a focus on foreign direct investment. Working remotely, she concentrates on content development, trade show planning, group organization and numerous other projects.
Being outdoors and supporting her community are important to Abby. She enjoys hiking, running, paddleboarding, skiing and snowshoeing. She also serves as chair of the Montana’s Longest Table event, board member for the Montana Winter Fair, Fergus County Port Authority board member and volunteers for other local community events.
When not working on MWTC endeavors, she is working on her family ranch in Central Montana growing wheat, barley and hay and raising beef cattle.
Thank you for a 2nd Year of National Service in MT, Erika!
Missoula, MT | Sept. 14, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
Erika Rasmussen is serving her second term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Women’s Foundation of Montana, moving from California to Missoula, Montana in August of 2019. Having had previous experience as a small business manager, Erika immediately identified with WFM’s mission to “increase economic opportunities for women and create a brighter future for girls.” She works closely with the Program Director, creating online, print, and educational content for PowerHouse Montana, a program of WFM that creates a professional community for women in Montana.
Erika earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and Culture and minored in Chemistry at Oberlin College in Ohio. There, she found her deep love for bikes, writing, and coffee.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) Announces Rural Dynamics Winner of $50,000 HKHF Grant
HELENA, September 9, 2020 // BCBSMT
In an effort to address the toll that financial stress takes on health care costs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) has awarded Rural Dynamics with a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant.
Rural Dynamics, a statewide nonprofit organization, is developing a program to help Montanans be more financially astute, therefore reducing the likelihood of financial stress, increased health risks, and costs associated with it.
The HKHF initiative is an ongoing commitment by BCBSMT to invest in and partner with like-minded nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention. The goal of the program is to improve access to quality care and drive down the future cost of health care.
“We care deeply about the physical, social and emotional wellness of our communities, and we’re proud to invest in innovative organizations that support children and their families throughout Montana,” said John Doran, BCBSMT Divisional Vice President of External Affairs. “These efforts are even more important now, as our fellow Montanans grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it continues to have in all aspects of our lives.”
In collaboration with BCBSMT, Benefis Health Systems, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security, Rural Dynamics rolled out a Financial Coaching program for Benefis and Great Falls Public Schools employees.
The program offers clients individualized plans for personal finance goals and education to make financially fit decisions.
Welcome to National Service in MT, Katy!
Helena, MT | Sept. 8, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
I am Kathryn Rasmussen, relocating to Helena, MT from Tacoma, WA to work as the Social and Racial Justice Program Assistant at the YWCA Helena. I come from a land of natural beauty and opportunities which is why Helena is such a refreshing change in a new outdoor-accessible environment.
The YWCA Helena has been under lots of construction and new leadership changes. Many new employees have been hired along with several AmeriCorps members under a new grant. The YWCA houses women transitioning out of the criminal justice system as well as supports many in maintaining sobriety and regaining custody of their children. I am going to be working closely with our social and racial justice team working to eliminate injustices towards women and POC in Helena.
Welcome to National Service in MT, Jonas!
Missoula, MT | Sept. 3, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
Jonas Munson is serving as an Americorps VISTA at Recycling Works in Missoula, MT. Munson is passionate about protecting the environment and creating a more equitable society for all. At Recycling Works, he helps in a variety of roles including digital marketing, copywriting, customer service, and accounting.
Previously, Jonas earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2021, he hopes to begin graduate school with a focus in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Welcome to National Service in MT, Aly!
Missoula, MT | Aug. 25, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
Aly Reynolds has been recruited by the Rural Dynamics VISTA program and has begun serving as an Americorps VISTA at Community Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) in Missoula, MT. She is serving in a role that focuses on marketing, outreach, and communications. Her work centers on connecting community members to the mission of CFAC.
CFAC develops and strengthens Missoula County’s food system and that of the surrounding region by supporting local farmers and ranchers, administering the state-wide Double SNAP Dollars food assistance program, and advocating for local, state and national policies that promote the local food system. Aly is very excited to learn from CFAC’s team of passionate, motivated individuals who are helping shape a more resilient food system!
Aly received her Bachelor’s in Strategic Communication and International Development from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout her studies, Aly grew a passion for community food access. Her International Development program led her to study for a semester in Honduras, where she took part in a community garden program. Witnessing communities taking charge of their own food system caused a shift—Aly knew then she wanted to pursue a career in sustainable food systems. Upon her return, Aly worked on an urban farm and interned in various communication roles. She hopes to use her voice alongside those advocating for better food systems, something CFAC specializes in. Aly looks forward to serving with CFAC for her VISTA year.
Fighting Systemic Rascism
Farmington Hills, MI | June 1, 2020 // GreenPath Financial Wellness
The Rural Dynamics team has committed to educating ourselves about racism and allyship. We stand in solidarity with our affiliated organizations, Calrifi and GreenPath Financial Wellness in addressing injustice and improving racial equity.
Communities of color and indigenous communities experience greater degrees poverty and other economic disparities. Generational poverty is not just about assets, but mainly access. For Rural Dynamics to meet its mission to help individuals and families pursue financial security, we will be intentional and actively committed to breaking down barriers to racial equity.
The Rural Dynamics Team
Responding to Coronavirus at Rural Dynamics
Great Falls, MT | March 21, 2020 // Rural Dynamics
In this time of uncertainty we’d like to take a moment to express our hope that you remain, safe, healthy, and hopeful as the global community navigates the difficulty ahead. It is critical that we all take steps to embody our humanity and work to ensure the best outcome for ourselves and those that surround us.
People are at the center of everything we do. As COVID-19 spreads across the United States, we are closely monitoring the situation and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect the health and well-being of our clients, our staff and volunteers, and our community.
For ongoing safety and precautions, we are preparing to work from home, attend meetings remotely, and are deferring travel.
During this social distancing, it is crucial to not lose sight of the connectedness we share. We are taking every effort to hold on to good we see in the world and to rise above the fear that has caused some to make racist and xenophobic statements. COVID19 can infect any person from any background, and it is imperative that we can remain united in spite of the physical distance we take.
Rural Dynamics is especially mindful of our senior volunteers and vulnerable populations we interact with every day. Our community is in the forefront of our mind, and along with the health authorities’ precautions we are making every effort to remain accessible during this time for services our clients need.
COVID19 is new territory for us all to navigate. We look to our values at this time, because now is when they matter. We hope that you may stay present, be safe and responsible, and lean into the good humanity has to offer. Even when that may feel difficult.
The Rural Dynamics Team
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Rural Dynamics is moving to downtown Great Falls!
Great Falls, MT | September 12, 2019 // Rural Dynamics
We are excited to announce that we are relocating our Great Falls, MT office. We will be closing the current office beginning Wednesday, September 11, 2019 in preparation for the move.
Rural Dynamics will re‐open Monday, September 16, 2019 in our new office location.
Effective Monday, September 16, our team will be available at Rural Dynamics’ new office located in downtown Great Falls at the address below:
410 Central Ave Suite 401 Great Falls, MT 59401
Correspondence and deposits should continue to be mailed to our PO Box:
Rural Dynamics PO Box 2326
Great Falls, MT 59403
We appreciate the opportunity of working with you and look forward to continuing to partner with you in serving our beneficiaries.
The Rural Dynamics Team
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Awards Rural Dynamics $50,000 Grant to Address Connection Between Financial Stress and Well-being
HELENA, Aug. 13, 2019 /BCBSMT/ — Money talks — and so do rising health care costs. In an effort to address the toll that financial stress takes on health care costs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) has awarded Rural Dynamics with a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant.
Rural Dynamics, a nonprofit organization based in Great Falls, is developing a program to help Montanans be more financially astute, therefore reducing the likelihood of financial stress and the health risks and costs associated with it.
“Financial stress takes a real toll on mental health and physical wellbeing and contributes to rising health care costs,” said John Doran, BCBSMT Divisional Vice President of External Affairs. “The Rural Dynamics proposal addresses the root cause of financial distress. Not only will this proposal relieve the mental anguish of financial problems, it has great potential to also reduce future health care costs as a result.
“Addressing mental health is not a one-size-fits-all approach and this is a new and unique way of treating one of its underlying symptoms.”
Sen. Tom Jacobson of Great Falls is the executive director of Rural Dynamics and visited BCBSMT’s Helena headquarters Tuesday, where Doran and approximately 60 BCBSMT employees gathered to surprise him with the grant.
“When we opened the door and saw the big check, that was quite the surprise. It was a very good surprise,” Jacobson said. “We’ve been working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for almost a year now to try and look at ways that we can address the financial wellness of individuals so that it has an improved physical wellness on the back end.”
In collaboration with BCBSMT, GreenPath Financial Wellness, Benefis Health Systems, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security, Rural Dynamics intends to test several tools to determine how to best serve those in need, including:
- Providing online prevention tools to educate and assist families in budgeting and planning for financial security
- Completing an assessment of income and expenses to form the baseline for developing a budget and plan to pay for expenses not covered by insurance
- Debt repayment plans with health care providers that may consist of negotiated payment or other concessions
- Allowing for affordability within the family’s budget
- Other interventions that are identified as desirable and feasible to users and stakeholders through the design process