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After awarding $4M in 2021, Natrona Collective Health Trust launches new pilot grant writing program



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Natrona Collective Health Trust Chair Beth Worthen, left, and CEO Meredith Benton. (Gregory Hirst, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The new Natrona Collective Health Trust, formerly known as the Wyoming Medical Center Foundation, awarded $4 million in grants to 27 nonprofits in 2021 and said this week the second payments of those two-year grants would be paid out later in the year.

In addition to the grants awarded in 2021, the Natrona Collective Health Trust, which received about $244 million related to the sale of the Wyoming Medical Center to Banner Health, said Monday is it working out details for its 2022 grant cycle and plans to officially launch long-term grant programs later in the year.

The grants awarded in December 2021 were given to support “organizations that specifically serve underprivileged populations and/or organizations that provide mental and behavioral health services,” Meredith Benton, CEO of the Natrona Collective Health Trust, said when those grants were awarded.

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The Natrona Collective Health Trust has also launched a new pilot grant-writing assistance program called “Beyond the Check,” according to a July 22 announcement. The pilot program is working with seven nonprofits in the area to help them access state and federal grant money they are eligible to apply for.

The pilot program involved the trust interviewing a pool of grant-writing consultants and connecting each nonprofit with the consultant most suited to help that nonprofit find and apply for grants.

“This pilot program is slated to run for 6 months, with the goal of opening it up to the broader Natrona County community in 2023 after an evaluation of the program’s success,” the Natrona Collective Health Trust’s announcement said.

Earlier this month, the Natrona Collective Health Trust also announced it had awarded five scholarships for the University of Wyoming’s Master of Public Administration program. The people who were awarded those scholarships are:

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Vickery Fales Hall, Wyoming Community FoundationGena Jensen, National Historic Trails Center FoundationBen Kinion, The Science ZoneDawn Lacko, NOWCAP ServicesTess Mittelstadt, Habitat for Humanity

The trust is planning to offer another round of scholarships to Natrona-based nonprofit organization staff interested in starting the UW Master of Public Administration program in 2023.

The trust’s update on Monday came as the one-year anniversary of Benton’s appointment as CEO approaches on Aug. 2.

Along with rebranding as the Natrona Collective Health Trust, the trust finalized a strategic plan in December 2021 to guide its work over the next 3–5 years, the update noted.

Some other things the trust is working on include training and operational support for Natrona nonprofits in the following areas:

Preventing and mitigating adverse childhood experiences in Natrona CountyTranslation services to allow nonprofits to support clients whose native language is not EnglishWorkshops on providing safe environments when supporting underprivileged populationsGrant-readiness program to help nonprofits prepare to seek larger-dollar grants through the grant-writing assistance program.

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The trust is also finalizing an agreement to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program to children in Natrona County.

Ray Pacheco, senior program director with the Natrona Collective Health Trust as well as the mayor of Casper, is leading an initiative to involve youth in funding decisions the trust makes that impact their lives.

“We want to thank you for your support and engagement in this work over the last year,” the trust said in the July 25 update. “We will continue to ask for your input and direction in deploying our mission to benefit Natrona County. Looking ahead into 2023, what would you like to see us do? Share your thoughts in the comments below or email us at [email protected]

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