“If you build it, they will come.” A better description of how things worked for Sunburst residents and the Lowes “100 Hometown” community project would be, “If you give them the grant, they will drive.”
It all started when Sunburst resident Sally Aschim, was scrolling through Facebook and spotted a post by Lowes Home Improvement Center announcing their “100 Hometown” community project. This project was in celebration of Lowes’ 100th anniversary and encouraged people from small towns across the United States to apply for one of 100 $150,000 grants being given by Lowes for a small-town improve
Over 2,200 essays from across the United States were submitted. A committee comprised of Lowes executives had the task of reading through the essays and choosing the ones that met their criteria. One of those committee members was Bill Boltz, Executive Vice President of Merchandising, and a Sunburst native. Aschim’s essay made it through the first wave of criteria, but upon further investigation it was decided that it couldn’t be chosen, simply because the nearest Lowes was four hours away.
Boltz knew a four-hour drive would not stop his hometown people from creating their dream if they received the funding and said as much to his CEO. Luckily, the boss agreed, and Sunburst remained in the running to be a potential grant recipient.
“We are the only town in Montana to receive this grant,” said Aschim with a smile. “Our volunteers and excitement, that’s what attracted them to us, because we were so excited and could follow through with the volunteer commitment.”
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