It’s Time For United Way Of Missoula To Find A New Executive Director

by Travis Mateer

The Zootown Arts Community Center and the Missoula County Republicans have both recently gone through a process of leadership change, and now I think it’s time United Way does the same. For me, the last straw is United Way’s Montana Black Collective and their celebratory promotion of Juneteenth this year.

Before we get to the origin story of the Montana Black Collective, I’d like to offer some insights into one of our former Mayor’s main enforcers: Susan Hay Patrick, the Executive Director of United Way.

SHP came to Missoula in 2006 from the east coast and by the time I started my work in the non-profit sector, she had already recruited a political ally by diverting Ellie Hill (now State Senator Ellie Boldman) from her attempt to get hired at the County Attorney’s Office to becoming the Executive Director of the Poverello Center.

Before SHP got the opportunity to fuck up the 10 Year Plan To End Homelessness, she was helping Ellie create failed homeless programs, like the Salcido Drop-In Center. I was on the ground during this failure, and found out later that Ellie was less than honest in the County application to get the funds to open the drop-in center by stating that a mental health provider, who she never formally asked, would be providing mental health services.

After just 6 months of being open, the Salcido Drop-In Center was out of money, so the brilliant strategy from SHP’s recruit was to panhandle the city of Missoula for money. From the link (emphasis mine):

Less than six months after its establishment, the Salcido Drop-in Center is struggling to find the money it needs to remain open and has asked for support from the city as it attempts to secure additional state funding.

The center, open during the day, is a satellite location for the Poverello Center, the largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen in western Montana. It opened on Dec. 20 of last year.

The Poverello is seeking letters of support from various local agencies as it applies for a grant from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, and has received about 11 so far, said Ellie Hill, executive director of the Poverello.

Later in the article, the Pov’s Development Director is quoted. And who was the Pov’s Development Director? Oh, just the daughter of Ellen Buchanan, the Director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency (emphasis mine):

It costs between $11,000 and $11,500 a month to operate the Salcido center, which offers day programs for homeless people, said Keenan Whitt, the center’s development director.

Last year, the Poverello ended up securing a $120,000 grant from the state Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Recovery from Mental Illness budget to fund the Salcido center for 16 months. That grant expires at the end of June. Now, the Poverello is asking for a second grant from the same budget – for $175,000.

The money source for that $120,000 is VERY interesting, and not just because SHP was honored by the State Department in 2019, but ALSO because it was a State Department-funded trip that Ellie Hill/Smith/Boldman was on in 2020 when the pandemic hit. From the first link:

Missoula nonprofit leader has been honored by the U.S. State Department for her work in helping build and sustain civil society across the globe.

Susan Hay Patrick, the CEO of United Way of Missoula County, is the only American winner this year of a prestigious Professional Fellows Program Alumni Impact Award, presented by the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The Professional Fellows Program is a “two-way, global exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills and build lasting, sustainable partnerships between leaders from foreign countries and the U.S.,” according to the State Department.

After the 2019 State Department kudos, the world changed in 2020, so of course a chameleon who serves our local power cabal had to change with it, deploying one of her human tools, Grace Decker, a duplicitous partisan who gives zero fucks about conflicts of interest when it comes to school board policy because the ends justify the means for these people.

Adapting to the world of woke is how United Way became perfectly positioned to scoop up the outrage after a University of Montana professors’ off-campus behavior toward his family was outed. I guess SHP saw a great opportunity in this sad domestic dispute between two adults and an innocent little girl, and thus the MONTANA BLACK COLLECTIVE was born!

Long-time readers of this blog probably know where this is going. On January 3rd, 2020, a black man by the name of Sean Stevenson was assaulted INSIDE the Poverello Center. On January 5th, Sean was removed from life support by the Sheriff’s Office/Coroner BEFORE his family was notified what was happening.

The young black man who assaulted Sean, Johny Lee Perry, was shot and killed the following summer, just days after I released footage of him making threats to law enforcement. Here’s the video:

One might assume the death of two black men, with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office as the common denominator, would be a BIG DEAL in a liberal town like Missoula, but barely anyone in this town even knows their names. Why is that?

My answer is that the mechanisms of narrative control are so pervasive, asking this community the question WHY would be like asking a fish why it doesn’t notice the water through which it swims. How else to explain this fucking garbage from United Way?

Yes, that’s right, when influential virtue-signalers want to use a local theatre, the Roxy is more than happy to accommodate, but when I wanted to use the Roxy for my Tax Increment Financing documentary, I was shut down. This is how narrative control flexes its muscles in Zoom Town.

If you want a more objective reason for a leadership change at United Way of Missoula, I’m going to conclude this post with a sentiment that causes SHP to consider stabbing herself in the eye with a fork. It might be important to note those are HER words, not mine. From the link (emphasis mine):

Reading this answer from SHP, Missoula taxpayers should shudder that this non-profit leader is helping our local government develop Public/Private Partnerships. I know I do.

If you appreciate my historical perspective on where the metaphorical bodies are buried, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work, and the donation button at my about page is another.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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8 Responses to It’s Time For United Way Of Missoula To Find A New Executive Director

  1. Mrs Stitch says:

    There was a leadership change at the GOP? When did that happen?

  2. Mrs Stitch says:

    Anyway, nonprofit’s been very good for both their careers! We should have it so good.

  3. Oh, golly [sigh]. Where to begin?

    I’m with you re the nepotism and entrenched cabal of public/private partners. Such comoexes facilitate corruptiomn and waste.

    As for the rest ….

    STILL recycling the tired, baseless trope that kids were better of getting COVID-19 than wearing masks??? STILL haven’t read the DOZENS of scientific studies on this?
    STILL insisting that it was all some effort to deprive you of your parental rights? No point in engaging on this issue. You were wrong then, and you’re wrong now.

    STILL hating on Grace Decker? Let’s examine your claim that she is violating ethics policies:

    “Grace Decker is both a non-profit employee of United Way AND a MCPS school board member, so in both capacities she should be AVOIDING overt political activism. It even says so in this policy (PDF):

    ‘Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, and refrain from using my Board position for personal or partisan gain…’

    You contend that her FB page “Blocked by Jacob Elder” violated that policy. You’re simply wrong.

    You see, what you havent demonstratred at all, is how starting the “Blocked by Jacob Elder” FB page in any manner constituted USING HER BOARD POSITION; nor have you shown how starting the Blocked by Jacob Elder FB page “used her Board position” FOR PERSONAL OR PARTISAN GAIN.

    Really, before accusing people of acting unethically, you ought to ask your atty girlfriend to examine the basis of your accusation.

    “Personal gain” means profiting in some manner; as in a Board member of an entity personally and directly benefitting from a transaction by that entity on which the Board member participated in the decision to engage in the transaction. You haven’t produced a scintilla of evidence of any sich thing.

    Nor have you provided any support for your ascuisation tha Ms. Decker USED HER BOARD POSITION “for PARTISAN GAIN.”

    The other state ethics code you reference, differs in relevant respects from the one you claim Grace Decker violated, and the elected official’s acts in that case have no similarity to Ms. Decker’s comepletely proper conduct you comlpain of.

    People don’t forfeit their personal First Amendment political rights when they are elected to office.

    If your beef is with Susan Hay Patrick, then go for it. You NEVER make any connection between Decker and the conduct of Partrick you find wrong and offensive.

    You just sort of ooze into the woke-is-a-conspiracy to-make-America-suck rhetoric.

    And the rest of it is confiation of numerous things into one unified theme, a theme you never define.

    But that’s OK.

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