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Keya LLC receives $20K Montana Innovation Grant for COVID-19 awareness

Keya LLC receives $20K Montana Innovation Grant for COVID-19 awareness

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Keya LLC earned a $20,000 grant from the governor’s Montana Innovation Grant Program to increase coronavirus awareness for the state’s Native American people.

A native-owned small business, Keya’s headquarters are in Billings at 1732 Hesperia St.

The brother-sister team of co-owners Orville and Debbie Desjarlais, enrolled members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota and Assiniboine descendants from both Fort Peck and Fort Belknap tribes, will publish their third edition of The COVID Report in September 2020. The report is a magazine off-shoot of NativeWellness.Life, Keya’s monthly health and wellness magazine, which has subscribers from around the nation.

Keya LLC will direct-mail 33,000 copies of the magazine to native homes and post office boxes of Montana’s 78,000 American Indian residents. 

The Desjarlais, both graduates of Billings Senior High, started NativeWellness.Life more than a year ago. The co-owners want to change the native health culture. “We want to help native people eat healthy foods and exercise to counter the high rates of the diseases that are killing them,” said Orville Desjarlais, a 23-year Air Force veteran.

The intent of Montana’s grant program is to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19, according to a program news release. Projects must have a significant effect on improving public health, safety, and economic impact.

The fall edition of The COVID Report will emphasize the wearing of masks and social distancing, the effects of being overweight, tribal success stories and tell the story of a native health care nurse and the challenges she faces every day.

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