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FEC Roundup for Safety supports Nate Chute Foundation

by Whitefish Pilot
| November 23, 2022 1:00 AM

The Roundup for Safety Board awarded $17,321 in community safety grants to nonprofit organizations at its November 10 meeting.

The grants included a $3,000 grant requested by the Nate Chute Foundation (NCF) for gun safety locks. The locks will be given to local school superintendents, administrators, psychologists, and counselors to distribute to all parents and caregivers who have a firearm that is accessible to youth.

Executive Director KacyHoward made a presentation on behalf of NCF, which is dedicated to reducing suicide in western Montana. NCF offers evidence-based training and education to area schools and organizations to help identify suicidal behavior and build resiliency.

With this grant request, NCF sought to expand an existing partnership with the Flathead County FICMMR (Fetal, Infant, Maternal Mortality Review) team (operating under DPHHS Montana). Flathead County FICMMR dedicated $3,000 to provide gunlocks to School District 5 (Kalispell) and asked NCF to partner with them to provide gunlocks to Flathead Valley schools outside of District 5, including the Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Bigfork districts.

Howard shared research suggesting that one of the most effective ways to prevent suicide is to put time and space between the suicidal individual and the lethal means they have chosen. While many people contemplating suicide may make plans and consider their thoughts for long lengths of time, the actual duration of deliberation (from deciding to make an attempt to actually attempting) is typically under ten minutes. That means that if a person planning on ending their life cannot access a firearm immediately, they will likely come out of their suicidal crisis before they have a chance to attempt.

Howard also shared Flathead County rates of youth suicide is over twice the national average. Last year, nine local young people died by suicide.

The Board noted the partnership between the Nate Chute Foundation, the Flathead Country FICMMR, and the Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Bigfork school districts. Nate Chute Foundation is also working with locally based Nelson's Hardware of Whitefish and Top Copy for affordable rates on the locks and the printed, educational materials that accompany them.

Other projects funded during the November meeting included $4,000 to Cabinet Mountain Elite Wrestling for safety mats and wall padding, $3,889 to David Thompson Search and Rescue for avalanche beacons, $4,800 to Immanuel Lutheran Communities for three AEDs and cabinets and $1,632 to Northwest Montana History Museum for panic bars.

Roundup for Safety is a voluntary program for Flathead Electric Cooperative members who allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next dollar, with the extra money going into a fund for community safety projects proposed by nonprofit organizations and considered by an independent board.

Since 1997, members of Flathead Electric Cooperative have rounded up their bills to a total of $4,572,122 in community safety project funding. If your nonprofit is interested in applying for community safety funds, visit www.flatheadelectric.com/roundup or call Courtney Stone at 406-751-1820. Grant applications are accepted on Flathead Electric Co-op's website and are due by the end of each month for consideration at the following month’s meeting.

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