Representatives from rural communities around the state were at Montana State University to talk about the issues facing our small towns.
"I'm going to be talking about the keys for rural community success. The things that communities should be doing in rural Montana to build a better future for themselves and their residents," said keynote speaker Don Macke who is the co-director of the Center For Rural Entrepreneurship.
Montana is a large state with a small population with many rural communities dotting the landscape.
And the down economy's put the pinch on some of those of places.
"If these communities decline, if they go away, that really impacts the kind of quality of life that Montana represents and so there's more at stake here than simply an economy, it's also a culture, a society that I think has value," Macke said.
Macke said to thrive, towns need to engage their younger people and stabilize population declines.
"One is identifying supporting local entrepreneurs as a way to kind of grow the home-grown part of the economy. And the second is we're going to be talking about community philanthropy. This transfer of wealth opportunity as a way to bring new money to the table to invest in our communities," he said.