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Northern Lights offers community fund grants to encourage buying local

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Big Sky Weekly Staff Writer

Bozeman-based outdoor store Northern Lights Trading Co. is launching a new charitable giving arm, the Northern Lights Community Fund. The fund aims to demonstrate the direct effects of local spending. It has committed donating $1,000 each month to conservation and human-interest organizations that help make Montana a great place to live and recreate.
Encouraged by the Go Local movement and a sense of community, Northern Lights owner Mike Garcia sees this as a chance to give back, and also to show how supporting businesses like Northern Lights strengthens the local economy.
“For every dollar you spend in Bozeman, a good portion stays in Bozeman,” Garcia said. “The minute you send that dollar out of state—for example, buying skis online—those dollars immediately leave our economy.”
Likewise, Garcia added, when you spend money at a big box store only about 13 percent stays in Bozeman.
Northern Lights has donated to local nonprofits for decades and is approached for donations daily, according to its marketing manager Matt Parsons.
Some organizations slated to receive donations in 2012 include Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Heart of the Valley, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Friends of Hyalite, Bridger Ski Foundation and the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

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