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AWARE Ink Newsletter

An update from Matt Bugni, CEO

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Greetings from Anaconda,

I write today with yet again an inexplicable amount of gratitude to everyone on the AWARE team. In June, we hosted Corporate Congress, Board Strategic Planning and our Corporate Congress Awards Banquet in Helena. The days were fast and furious but absolutely inspiring.

The delegates that represented their peers at Corporate Congress are nothing short of rock stars for our organization and more importantly, for the people we serve. You’ll have the opportunity to read about the delegates and all that they worked through while attending Corporate Congress later in this newsletter.

The Corporate Congress Awards Banquet provides us an opportunity to shine a light on some spectacular employees and recognize them for their work. While there could only be one recipient for each award, I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that we had a tremendous response to the nominations for these awards. Based on what I read in the nominations, it is apparent that we have many employees deserving recognition. I am extremely inspired by the impact they are having and look forward to finding additional ways to celebrate our team throughout the year. I am grateful for the invigorating days spent with our leadership team, Corporate Congress delegates, and award winners. It was wonderful to have time together to celebrate and build excitement for the future.

Speaking of the future and switching gears, I hope you’ll take the time to read the article featuring exciting news about the contract AWARE was recently awarded by the state of Montana to provide SDMI waiver case management. Receiving this contract is a testament to the work we do and the quality care we provide. With this expansion of services, we are looking to grow our case management teams and are actively recruiting for case managers and lead clinical supervisors. If you are interested in learning more, or know someone who may be, please visit or contact Jake Henderson at

While we have many exciting and promising things happening, we also have our challenges. The early childhood, behavioral health, and developmental disability systems in Montana are in a state of crisis. Workforce shortages have impacted all industries, to which AWARE is not immune. Our existing staff feel the pressures everyday to continue quality services with a diminished workforce. Meanwhile, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) distributed $2.7 billion to Montana to address issues presented by the pandemic. We have a prime opportunity to invest in the mental health of Montana. I am working closely with the Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana (BHAM) to educate and advocate for funding to continue offering services that help individuals stay free of incarceration, state institutions, hospitals or even from being sent out of state at a higher expense to Montanans. The reality is that we cannot continue operating as we have been. To gain a better understanding of the crisis, we ask that you take time to read this letter that BHAM sent to Adam Meier, Director of Montana DPHHS and Mike Foster, Chair of ARPA Health Commission on June 10th. As you can see, there is a lot to it. Now is the time for your voices to be heard. You can make a difference. If you’d like to voice your support for the early childhood, developmental disability, and behavioral health systems in Montana, please send your comments to your legislators, DPHHS Director Adam Meier at or 406.444.5623 or the Governor at 406.444.3111.

Thank you all for your support of AWARE. Because of you, we help people live independent lives. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.


Matt Bugni


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