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OCTOBER 26, 2011
Contact: Lisa Perry, Manager-Community Relations, 406-237-6914
PPL Montana Community Fund announces $100,000 in grants

Program has awarded $1.4 million to more than 215 organizations to support education, jobs and the environment

PPL Montana’s Community Fund is awarding grants to 14 nonprofit community organizations across the state this fall, bringing the total amount of company support to $1.4 million in the past six years.

“Our company is made up of 500 Montanans who live and work in communities across our state — they’re the ones who hear first-hand about how our Community Fund makes a difference,” said Lisa Perry, manager of Community Affairs for PPL Montana.

“When we give money to community groups, we’re providing direct benefits to people we know and see regularly in towns across Montana,” she said.

Grants this fall will provide funds for a wide range of programs and initiatives, including ski instruction for children and adults with disabilities and a children’s theater program to raise awareness of the connections between healthy forests, ecosystems, people and economies.

“Since 2005, PPL Montana’s Community Fund has strengthened the company’s partnerships with communities,” Perry said. “It’s one of our ways of saying thanks and making a difference in our home state.”

Twice a year, the PPL Montana Community Fund Advisory Board awards $100,000 in grants to schools and nonprofit organizations for programs that address quality-of-life issues. The grants range from $1,000 to $10,000 each. The fund’s advisory board is made up of 18 people from the company and community who review grant applications from across the state. Individuals serve two years on the board.

The fall 2011 PPL Montana Community Fund grant recipients are:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Helena, $10,000 — to support a matching grant to enable the organization to continue the Big Brothers Big Sisters program at Helena’s high schools and elementary schools. The program mentors children to develop and improve self-confidence, decision-making, classroom behavior, academic performance and school preparedness. This organization has a 44-year history in Helena and has involved more than 300 participants. 

Billings Public Schools Backpack Meals Program, $3,500 — to help provide nutritious meals to hundreds of chronically hungry, low-income students on weekends and holidays. The goal of the program is to keep children fed so they can learn and grow into prosperous, engaged adults, an important first step to break generational poverty. 

Black Eagle Community Center, $10,000 — to make mandatory improvements to the kitchen, including new sinks, flooring and refrigeration. The original clubhouse was used by smelter workers of the Anaconda Refining Company. It was sold to the Civic Club in 1981 for $10, and since then has hosted meals, receptions and community events. PPL Montana operates a hydroelectric facility in Black Eagle.

Denton Field Restoration Project, Miles City, $10,000 — to help restore a historic landmark in Miles City, which was built in 1939 by the Works Project Administration.  This athletic facility hosts football and baseball games, with nearby tennis courts, swimming pool and a city park. About 125 events are held here throughout the year, significantly contributing to the economy of Miles City and eastern Montana. More than $250,000 has already been raised in the community toward renovations. These funds will be used to upgrade the bathrooms to ensure they are handicapped-accessible.

Eagle Mount, Billings/Red Lodge, $5,000 — to help provide adaptive ski instruction and skiing for more than 160 children and adults with disabilities. Programs will take place at Red Lodge Mountain in January, February and March. There will be two four-week sessions, which will provide exercise, learning, muscle memory training, socialization and fun for participants.

Samaritan’s Food Pantry, Forsyth, $2,000 — to help replace an old refrigerator and freezer used in the pantry. The pantry, which operates out of the basement of the old hospital, has been serving the Forsyth community for 17 years. In the previous six months the pantry has helped 493 people in need of a nutritious meal.

Great Falls Food Bank, $3,500 — to purchase refrigerators and freezers at the pantries supporting the Food 4 Kids Program, which provides food for hungry children on  weekends and holidays.

Great Falls Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic, $10,000 — to fund 139 speech and language therapy sessions to preschool children with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, hearing loss or cleft palate.

Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, $1,000 — to help high school juniors develop their leadership skills and learn first-hand about the importance of being involved in their community.  The successful program is entering its 11th year, and has a waiting list of students eager to participate.

Hi-Line Hockey/Valley Event Center, Glasgow, $10,000 — to upgrade the kitchen in the Valley Event Center, a multi-use facility that accommodates 1,000 people and serves as a community hub for sporting events, disaster refuge and conventions. A unique facility in northeastern Montana, it contributes to the economy by offering a venue that can host large gatherings, drawing people from other communities.

Missoula Children’s Theatre, $5,000 — to support “If Forests Could Talk,” an upcoming assembly program developed in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. It will be presented across the state to children in Grades K-5, with a goal of increasing awareness of the connections between healthy forests, ecosystems, people and economies.

Red Feather Development Group, Bozeman/Lame Deer, $10,000 — to support the Youth Builders initiative, which works with high school students from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation to create safe, energy-efficient and comfortable homes for seniors. Students learn how to build roofs, construct wheelchair ramps, replace windows, renovate kitchens and baths, install flooring and much more. This year-round program intends to pave the way toward future employment while keeping youth constructively engaged.

The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area, Missoula, $10,000 — to enable the program to take its Brain science exhibit to three Montana Indian Reservations at no cost to the schools. The mobile science program travels across the state, sharing hands-on science, turning school gyms into museums, and providing field trips and family nights. Students will be able to explore brain form and function, brain waves and images, traumatic injury prevention, and more.

ZooMontana, Billings, $10,000 — to create an adult volunteer docent program at the zoo. Docents can educate thousands of visitors yearly as they share their knowledge about wildlife, ecosystems and conservation. Their interaction is expected to create a much more meaningful visit to the zoo, resulting in repeat visitors and additional support.
PPL Montana provides safe, reliable energy from coal-fired power plants at Colstrip and Billings, as well as 11 hydroelectric plants along West Rosebud Creek and the Missouri, Madison, Clark Fork and Flathead rivers. It has a combined generating capacity of more than 1,200 megawatts and has offices in Billings, Butte and Helena. PPL Montana and its 500 employees are dedicated to Montana and its communities, supporting educational, environmental and economic development programs across the state. PPL EnergyPlus operates a trading floor in Butte that markets and sells power for PPL Montana in wholesale and retail energy markets throughout the western United States. PPL Montana and PPL EnergyPlus are subsidiaries of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL).