A Ray of Hope In Montana’s Fight Against Opioid Addiction

“Working together, we can create a mountain of hope for the future of rural and tribal communities. The possibilities for sustained improvements in economic, environmental, and social health lie in the strength, innate wisdom, and creativity of local people—in their relationships with each other and the land. They know their communities’ needs and have good ideas for strength-based solutions.”

Executive Director Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer

Hopa Mountain, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Bozeman, Montana, is dedicated to improving education, ecological health, and economic development by supporting and empowering rural and tribal citizen leaders.

Its motto is, “Speak with honesty…Think with sincerity…Act with integrity.”

Its approach is grounded in the idea that citizen leaders, often those who others turn to for help, are the most effective change-makers in each community.

“Our work is focused on recognizing the critical role citizen leaders play in nurturing healthy, vibrant communities,” says Executive Director Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer.

Hopa Mountain is also a Fletcher Group partner in a new initiative to develop Recovery Housing for the addicted and homeless in northwestern Montana.

Fletcher Group Founder Ernie Fletcher and CEO Dave Johnson have met with local activists in Polson, Montana to discuss challenges and opportunities.

Funded by a $6.6 million federal grant to extend its innovative Recovery Housing model nationwide, the Fletcher Group is currently focusing its work in Montana on those counties with the highest rates of overdose deaths: Flathead, Lake, Mineral, Lewis and Clark, Silver Bow, Gallatin, and Park. It is not limited to those counties, however.

The goal is to nurture purpose and meaning not only during recovery but after. Life skills classes, aptitude testing, job training, and an aggressive “Social Enterprise” program involving supportive businesses will work together to create the kind of meaningful employment that will keep those in recovery on the path to economic independence, fulfillment, and a sense of belonging.

“We’re not running anything or trying to build anything here for ourselves,” noted Fletcher. “We’re working with local stakeholders to open doors and I’m confident we can help. But we don’t have all the answers. That’s why we’re here—to develop the local community partnerships needed to find the answers.”

The Fletcher Group’s primary goal will be to have at least one Recovery Housing residence in place within the next three years.

After attending the meeting in Polson, Fletcher and Johnson traveled to Helena, Montana’s state capitol, to speak with state authorities including Montana governor Steve Bullock.

Fletcher and Johnson have also hosted in Kentucky several of the activists who gathered in Polson. In Lexington they were able to see facilities within the Recovery Kentucky housing program that Ernie Fletcher launched during his tenure as governor of Kentucky.

For more information about Hopa Mountain’s important work and how to contribute, feel free to contact Executive Director Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer at (406) 586-2455 or by email at bsawyer@hopamountain.org.


“Citizen leaders are a particularly concentrated and potent form of social capital. With sufficient resources, they are rural and tribal communities’ most efficient and effective agents of positive change. Hopa Mountain seeks to provide the resources and support local leaders need to promote community health and well–being to build community wealth.”

Executive Director Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer
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