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Presentations from the Tribal Energy Forum now available!

Posted: Sep 16, 2014 10:09 am

Presentations from the Tribal Energy Forum in Browning, MT are now posted at the U.S. Department of Energy website apps1.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy/course_081914_mt.cfm.

The Tribal Energy Forum, entitled "Tribal Energy by Design: Developing an Energy Road Map on Tribal Lands," was organized by Opportunity Link and the Tribal Energy Program of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The event was held in cooperation with and with support from the Blackfeet Tribe, Chippewa Cree Tribe, Fort Belknap Indian Community, Island Mountain Development Corporation, Blackfeet Community College, Plain Green LLC, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Vibrant Futures Project of Northcentral Montana.

For more information, contact Barbara Stiffarm at (406) 265-3699 or via email to bstiffarm(at)opportunitylinkmt.org.

Tribal Energy by Design

Posted: Jul 10, 2014 10:19 am

Developing an Energy Road Map on Tribal Lands

Industry experts, energy developers, utility companies, tribal leaders, and other stakeholders are invited to join the discussion in developing community- and commercial-scale energy partnerships in the region. This 2-day forum will foster interaction and generate strategies for moving our tribal energy projects from vision to reality. To register, click here.

Workin' With Tradition Certification Training

Posted: Apr 10, 2014 9:19 am
Wingate Inn - 2007 North Oaks St. - Helena, MT - 59601 - P: 406-449-3000

Learn the Workin' With Tradition soft skills curriculum and get certified to teach the curriculum to your students, clients, and community members. The workshop requires three full days of participation (8:30AM - 4:00PM) and will prepare you to successfully deliver this program to your students. Training is $650/person and includes the workshop, a Trainer's Manual, PowerPoint CD, and starter set of 10 workbooks. For registration, click here.

2014 Tax Sites Open!

Posted: Feb 5, 2014 3:05 pm
Opportunity Link and partners are hosting VITA sites in Havre, Rocky Boy, and Fort Belknap throughout the 2014 tax season. Trained and certified volunteer tax preparers are equipped and ready to assist residents with their basic tax returns. In addition, there will be resources available at sites for community members to self-file their returns through My Free Taxes. Sites will run now until the first week of April.

Free tax preparation assistance is available:

In Rocky Boy at Stone Child College on Feb. 4th, 11th, 25th on Mar. 11th & 25th and on Apr. 8th from 4-7 pm

In Fort Belknap at Aaniiih Nakoda College on Feb. 5th & 19th; Mar. 5th, 19th, & 26th; Apr. 9th from 3-7pm

In Havre at Opportunity Link in HRDC, Thursdays, from 3:30-6:30pm

Community members are encouraged to make appointments by calling OL at 406-265-3699. Tax filers must bring their ID and/or Tribal ID, social security card for the filer and the filer’s dependents, W-2, and any other applicable tax forms.

Interested in preparing your own taxes for free? Click here!

This program is brought to residents through a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service, Montana VITA Partnership, Montana Credit Union for Community Development, and Tax Help Montana.

Opportunity Link and Partners, Promise Zone Finalists

Posted: Jan 10, 2014 1:13 pm
“I applaud Opportunity Link on this achievement and for their commitment to build on this success,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “These communities show incredible vision by working together to improve lives across our region. This is the kind of collaboration and leadership that creates strong communities, and I will continue to support Opportunity Link and the folks that they serve.”

For the full story, click here.

OL Awarded $334,000 by Northwest Area Foundation

Posted: Dec 30, 2013 2:44 pm

Opportunity Link Inc. recently received more than $300,000 from a grant to help those in need rise up.

The grant was given to Opportunity Link by the Northwest Area Foundation, to pursue initiatives for more housing and more jobs in the region. Read more...

All Aboard: Making Equity Central in Transportation Planning

Posted: Sep 27, 2013 10:01 am
View this webinar recording, hosted by Policy Link, that discusses equity in transportation. Representing and presenting for North Central Montana is Opportunity Link's Barbara Stiffarm. This is a great resource for those involved in, or interested in, rural transit. Follow the link to view the webinar!

2013-2014 Transit Schedule

Posted: Sep 6, 2013 1:57 pm
The North Central Montana Transit system has made some changes to their bus route, and updates can be found by downloading the Bus Schedule.

VF Scenario Analysis Webinar

Posted: Jun 3, 2013 12:05 pm
The webinar provides an example of the importance of mapping as part of the planning process, it presents resources for locating and using mapping data, and also introduces the VF Catalyst Groups and the opening of membership for those groups. Check out the webinar recording to see the next steps in the regional planning process! View webinar

New AmeriCorps Positions Open!

Posted: May 13, 2013 12:52 pm

Join the Opportunity Link team as a Vibrant Futures VISTA, Volunteer In Service To America, and make a difference in North Central Montana communities. For links to full announcements, click here.

Water Infrastructure Workshops

Posted: Apr 18, 2013 3:27 pm
Opportunity Link, in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and Bear Paw Development, will be hosting two workshops on Water Infrastructure.

The first of these workshops is on April 23rd from 1-3:30pm at the NCMT Bus Barn - 3105 Hwy 2 NE in Havre and will cover topics concerning Programs, Resources, and Funding for Water and Infrastructure Systems. For an agenda, click here. To RSVP call 406-265-3699 or email outreach@vibrantfuturesmt.org.

The second of these workshops is on April 24th from 10am-3pm at the Triangle Telephone Hospitality room - 2121 Hwy 2 in Havre and will cover topics concerning the Native American Water Masters Association and Tribal Utility Governance. To register for this event click here.

Vibrant Futures program is hosting scenario planning workshops

Posted: Mar 8, 2013 1:46 pm
During the month of march, the Vibrant Futures team will be traveling throughout our region to host scenario planning workshops in Northcentral Montana communities. The workshops will include exercises and discussion to help facilitate the creation of regional plans for the development of our Hi-line communities. To view an invitation to the workshops, please click here: Workshop_Invitation.

Community members are encouraged to attend, so please RSVP online at www.vibrantfuturesmt.org. Or, call us at 406-265-3699, or email Eryn at enissen@vibrantfuturesmt.org.

Free Tax Preparation

Posted: Feb 28, 2013 10:05 am
As part of Opportunity Link's Wealthy Futures program, we provide free tax services for our region. Community members can file their taxes with one of our certified tax preparers during the week, or independently at any time online through the My Free Taxes site sponsored by Walmart in partnership with United Way, NDI, and Goodwill. See below for the link and call 406-265-3699 for in-person tax preparation with our certified staff.


2012 Montana Free File Campaign Commercial

Posted: Dec 21, 2012 11:27 am

We Ride the Line 5-part web series introduced!

Posted: Dec 12, 2011 11:31 am
Opportunity Link and North Central Montana Transit is proud to share rough cuts of "We Ride the Line".

These are the first three of a five-part web series and 30-minute documentary that explores the success of coordinated public transportation in remote Northcentral Montana. Through stories of people who ride, drive and champion the North Central Montana Transit (NCMT) system, audiences will gain an appreciation of the critical need for affordable and reliable transportation in this vast frontier community, and how access to that transportation translates into economic and educational opportunity for community members. Audiences will also better understand the efforts of Opportunity Link and its partners to combat poverty and bring greater prosperity to Northcentral Montana through the development of public transportation.

This series is produced by Rick Williams as part of the degree requirements for the MFA program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking of the School of Film and Photography, Montana State University, Bozeman.

We thank Rick and our transit partners for their support and hard work in this project!

Episode 1 highlights the challenges and impact of NCMT and Episodes 2 & 4 illustrate how NCMT is helping the YouthBuild and Boys & Girls Club programs.

We Ride the Line: Episode 1 - Connections
We Ride the Line: Episode 2 - YouthBuild
We Ride the Line: Episode 4 - Boys & Girls Club
We Ride the Line - Episode 5 - Biodiesel

Please direct all comments and inquiries to Day Soriano, Opportunity Link, at (406) 265-3699 or via e-mail to dsoriano@opportunitylinkmt.org.

Northcentral Montana awarded $1.5M for sustainability planning

Posted: Nov 30, 2011 9:32 am

Opportunity Link (OL), a non-profit organization based in Havre and serving the region of Northcentral Montana, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a 3-year Regional Plan for Sustainable Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The HUD grant will fund OL to continue advancing an inclusive vision of improved prosperity for the 10-county and 3-reservation region. More than thirty diverse stakeholders agreed to engage in targeted training and coordinated planning for key public investments in transportation, housing, storm water management, and job development. Partners will look at potential new jobs in “green” industries that make sense for the region, such as energy efficiency housing retrofits and alternative fuel development. The HUD grant requires planners to work specifically in six interrelated elements of community “livability,” including transportation, housing, economic competitiveness, support for existing communities, value of neighborhoods and communities, and coordination of public policy and investment.

“These are very similar to the principles stated in OL’s mission, and that is why we thought the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development Grant was a good fit for Northcentral Montana,” says OL Director Barbara Stiffarm. According to Stiffarm, the grant will allow OL to continue to work as a neutral convener of partners across the region, and a catalyst for new economic investments both public and private. OL’s grant application demonstrated the success of previous regional projects, such as start-up and coordination of six new bus systems across the region; production and testing of biodiesel refined from locally-farmed oilseed; YouthBuild and GreenBuild education programs that bring students from tribal colleges to MSU-Northern for GEDs and on-the-job training in certified “green” construction skills. The willingness of municipalities, counties and tribes to coordinate key investments and work together to leverage new resources was a strong asset in securing the award.

The Regional Plan for Sustainable Development project will seek input and involvement from community members throughout the region in order to ensure that planning reflects resident needs and desires. The award to Northcentral Montana acknowledges that rural communities are as deserving of support for sustainable economies as urban areas. Stiffarm says, “We had support for this application from the farthest, most rural areas in our region—as well as the more densely populated communities. We may be separated by vast distances, but we share historic and economic ties, and we share values. Across the region, people want their kids to be able to live and work here. We know this is a big project, but we feel ready for it!”

For more information on the Sustainable Communities Program, visit

Opportunity Link is on Facebook!

Posted: Sep 9, 2009 10:35 pm
Keep updated on Opportunity Link news, events and, yes, opportunities! Be a fan of Opportunity Link on Facebook by clicking on the link below:

Outstanding Community Contributor award recipient Tony Sinclair Sr.

Posted: Feb 22, 2007 2:06 pm

written by Jessie James-Hawley

At the Opportunity Link annual membership meeting, title “Tools to Build Foundations for Community Growth,” held in Great Falls, Montana on January 27, 2007 in Great Falls Montana the Outstanding Community Contributor award was presented to Tony Sinclair from the Blackfeet Reservation.

Established in 2004, Opportunity Link is a non-profit organization funded by the Northwest Area Foundation that strives to create and implement strategies and encourage partnerships that will reduce poverty in the region long term. The service areas for the Havre Based office of Opportunity Link is comprised of 11 counties: Hill, Blaine, Choteau, Liberty, Phillips, Cascade, Judith Basin, Toole, Teton, Pondera and Glacier, which includes as its membership Blackfeet Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Fort Belknap Reservation and the Little Shell Band of Indians. These make up the seven Poverty Reduction Organizations known at PRO’s every citizen within these designated areas has the right to membership.

Opportunity Link does not accept unsolicited grant requests but instead devotes its resources to promote public-private sector collaborations to develop systemic solutions. PRO groups are made up of community members who volunteer their time, skills, experience and effort to address the problems of poverty within their individual communities and the 11-county, 3-reservation areas.

Recognizing the importance of volunteer efforts, Opportunity Link Executive Director Steve Galbavy and staff solicited from the PRO group’s names of individuals to be nominated for the “Outstanding Community Contributor Award.” While the names of many worthy candidates were submitted, the one that stood out amongst all the rest was Tony Sinclair from the Blackfeet Reservation.

The document of nominations reads, “Tony Sinclair has resided in Browning his whole life. He has always been a caring and courteous person. He has always put other people first. Tony has donated his time to the community by contributing to the youth, those in need and the elders. Tony is a well-respected individual of the Blackfeet Nation.”

Here are some of his activities that Tony has volunteered his time to:
• Volunteered 6 years as a Hunter’s Safety Instructor and Bow Safety Hunting Instructor.
• Volunteered 9 years as a wrestling coach for AAU and USAW Browning Wrestling Club.
• Volunteered 2 years as a coordinator for Blackfeet Search and Rescue.
• Volunteered 5 years as a Science Fair Judge for the Browning Public Schools
• Volunteered 5 years for the Natural Resource camps for children
• Volunteered 4 years for the North American Indian Days Committee
• Volunteered 5 years in giving out Buffalo meat to our elders and people in need, and the Blackfeet Food Bank
• Donated meat to people for funerals and traditional ceremonies such as sun dances and sweats
• Volunteered by cooking for the Days of the Blackfeet for the past 6 years , by cooking and setting up for at least 400 people
• Volunteered in the Browning Booster Club, Tony is currently very active with the Booster Club for the Browning Public Schools in raising money for the youth.

The nominating document continued with this statement, “Tony has worked for the Blackfeet Environmental Program for the past 16 years. Tony is no stranger when it comes time to donating his time to the elders, youth and the needy in our community. Tony is a strong believer in strong family values; he is close with all of his sisters and brother and also with his mother and father. He is raising 4 children at home, his daughter Tiffany who is a junior in high school, and his Tony Jr. who is an 8th grader and his step-son, Kolton who is a third grader, and a baby daughter, Tonaya, who is two years old.”

Upon receiving the award, Tony stated, “I never expected anything like this. I guess I look at volunteering as a privilege because I have always like working with people, especially the kids and the elders. Knowing that in some way I have helped them is reward enough, but I thank you.”
Director Galbavy and staff would like to invite all residents of the 11-county, 3-reservation area to become actively involved with their PRO groups by calling Opportunity Link at (406) 265-3699 or go on the website, www.opportunitylinkmt.org for more information on who to contact in their area.

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