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AWARE Ink Newsletter

August update from the AWARE CEO

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Dear Friends,

Pictured, Matt Bugni, AWARE CEO
Matt Bugni, AWARE CEO

Here we are, already heading into August. It’s amazing how quickly summer seems to fly by each year. This summer has been fast and furious for our team at AWARE.

It has been wonderful to be able to get the people we serve in our residential services back out and about in their communities. The opportunity, activity and connection that happens outside of the homes is an important component of the work we do. In this issue of INK, you’ll have the chance to learn about some exciting new therapeutic opportunities our team is working on in addition to recognizing a few individuals for the positive work they are doing and have done for AWARE.

Additionally, if you missed the announcement in the last newsletter, the state of Montana awarded AWARE the contract to provide SDMI waiver case management. This contract brought an additional 300 clients into the care of AWARE beginning July 1st. The team led by Jake Henderson, is working feverishly to welcome all of these people to our care and to make sure their needs are met. As we gear up to serve the incoming individuals, we need help. We are looking for therapists and case managers to build our teams across the state. Please visit to learn more and apply.

Regarding hiring, there is no avoiding the fact that there is a workforce shortage in Montana. It is certainly impacting us; however, our human resources team has been working diligently alongside our hiring managers across all service lines to hire people to our team who want to make a positive difference in our communities. We are still offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus to new team members and a $1,000 referral bonus to current members of the team who refer a successful applicant. If you know of anyone who would be a good fit with AWARE, please send them to

In June, we brought Corporate Congress back to AWARE. We held our first session in four (last one was in 2017) years in Helena. Corporate Congress will take place every two years, on the same cycle as the Montana Legislative session. It was a great opportunity to engage with and learn from each other. Some fantastic bills came out of the session. Leighann Knight (COO), Geri Francisco-Wyant (CFO), and I are committed to making sure that Corporate Congress is more than just a session — we are committed to bringing those bills to life. We recently had our first meeting with the Corporate Congress leadership team made up of the president and committee chairs and will continue meeting with them monthly to maintain progress toward bill implementation with notification and communication happening as bills are finalized.

As we head toward fall, I continue working closely with the Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana (BHAM) to educate and advocate for adequate funding and workforce development for early childhood services, Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT), developmental disabilities, and behavioral health. Your voice is also important to our lawmakers and bureaucrats. Please reach out to your representatives.

This note and e-newsletter are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sharing everything we have going on at AWARE. If you are reading this because a friend or family member sent it to you, or if you found it on our website, please consider subscribing now so you don’t miss out on future issues of INK. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll also consider supporting AWARE in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Donate – Your 100% tax-deductible gift will enable us to purchase things like duffel bags for foster children, bikes, gardening supplies and admissions to games and other entertainment that benefit all of the people AWARE serves.

  2. Share about AWARE – Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and then be sure to like and share our posts. The more people know about the work we do, the better it is for the people we serve.

  3. Explore our career opportunities across the state and refer people you think would be a good fit!

  4. Advocate for behavioral health to your legislators and Governor Gianforte.

As always, thank you for your support. You make the work we do possible.


Matt Bugni, CEO

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