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Small Town Thrift Shops Make Big Impact

In a town with a population of about 7,000 in an economically challenged rural Montana county, you wouldn’t expect items donated to a thrift store to add up to half a million dollars in community grants. But that landmark has just been reached by the Community Closet Thrift Stores in Livingston. As 2019 comes to a close, the nonprofit organization has reached the milestone of $500,000 given in charitable grants since opening their doors in 2005. In the past 14 years they have expanded from one to three stores - segmenting to boutique and low-income household resale markets - to both meet community demand and reduce expenses from increasing overflow disposal costs. This innovative business model strives to create a sustainable cycle of reuse, recycling and reinvestment in our community.

Community Closet’s Board of Directors reviews grant applications four times a year. In 2019, $52,000 was awarded to 44 different organizations and activities in Park County. Additionally, Community Closet gives away thousands of dollars in store merchandise to schools and nonprofits in the community each year.

In the Fall 2019 grant cycle the projects funded included:

  • - Abuse Support & Prevention Education Network (ASPEN) programs supporting victims of domestic violence and a Media Literacy Training.

  • - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Park and Sweetgrass Counties providing children facing adversity with supported adult mentor relationships.

  • - Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) providing child advocate training for volunteers representing the best interests of child abuse or neglect victims.

  • - Community School Cooperative’s Cougar Fridays admission fee scholarships for middle school students who would not otherwise be able to afford to participate in educational experiences with professionals from the community.

  • - Friends of the Community providing basic necessities for those in transition or crisis.

  • - LiveWell 49 suicide prevention programs and outreach.

  • - Livingston Community Choir’s holiday concert.

  • - Livingston Recreation Department’s Breakfast with Santa activities.

  • - Stafford Animal Shelter spay/neuter surgical packs for adoptable dogs and cats.

  • - Windrider Transit’s marketing and outreach for their free public transportation.

  • - Yellowstone Ballet Company’s Nutcracker Ballet.

The Community Closet would like to thank the many dedicated Park County groups that submitted applications and who work so hard to make a big difference in our community. Community Closet’s next grant deadline is March 31, 2020. Learn more at

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