Friday, March 22, 2019
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Mountain Gateway Community Alliance

The Mountain Gateway Community Alliance focuses on the tri-city area surrounding Poteau, which includes Poteau, Wister, Heavener, and outlying areas.  We serve as far north in Oklahoma as Spiro and as far south as Talihina.


Our main focus is on community and center around projects that have an impact on community health, including:

    • * Historical Preservation, Promotion, and Education


    • * Beautification and Revitalization


    • * Creating or Facilitating Community Gathering Locations


    • * Creating unique community and regional events


    • * Encouraging growth in the region through online promotions


    • * Supporting other civic and social endevors


Specific large projects are outlined in the following map:

Poteau.Life Mountain Gateway Community Alliance

Our Passion

“It is my firm belief that one person can make a difference.  We must do what we can to preserve our past, while at the same time plan for our future.

“Once our past is gone, it’s gone forever.  There is no getting it back.  I think of all of those people that have been touched by our historic areas; the stories they’ve created, the lives they’ve lived.  For over 100 years, they have worked and lived in these buildings.  It is not our right to let them degrade to the point where they must be tore down.  It is our responsibility to ensure that our heritage is maintained and passed down for generations to come.

“At the same time, we can not be lost in the past.  We must forge forward and create new communities and new stories.  We must have pride in where we are from.  It is our job to ensure that our children have the same opportunities that we have had, and more, to have better opportunities.  When we look back with a sense of nostalgia, we should also want the same for our children when they begin to have families, and the same for their children.  There is nothing greater than to help life your neighbor up, to do what you can for your community.

“I promised myself that I would not go to bed until I’ve impacted at least one person positively each day.  I believe that if everyone shared this view, the world would be a much better place.  While we can’t change the world, we can try to change the small part of it that we live in, one step at a time.”


Poteau.Life Mountain Gateway Community Alliance

The formation of the Mountain Gateway Community Alliance is nearly complete.  The MGCA will bring together several different businesses into one main header and help consolidate our efforts to help the communities we live in.

The Poteau Improvement Project was incorporated as a 501c3 corporation and managed by a board of directors.  Both Oklahoma Traveler and The Birth of Poteau are designated as a Sole proprietorship, wholly owned by Eric Standridge.  The Poteau Farmer’s Market is governed by a committee, ran as a sole proprietorship, and the Artist Cooperative is also being ran as a sole proprietorship.

Most of the projects and initiatives have already been merged with the MGCA.  Those that remain will be merged in the coming months.  We expect the merger to be complete by the end of the year.

The Poteau Improvement Project will remain as a 501c3 that benefits the Poteau area.

Business Structure

In 2010, Maryland passed a law that enabled the formation of benefit corporations. A benefit corporation is a type of for-profit corporate structure that is focused on having a positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment. This paved the way for most of the rest of the states to follow. Many traditional non-profits took advantage of this new type of business entity since it allowed more freedoms than a traditional non-profit but kept a similar structure.  Because of its success, the “benefit” corporate structure has been extended into other areas, including partnerships and llc’s.


The MGCA is in the process of being formed and designated as a “benefit llc”.  This type of LLC focuses on social responsibility, very similar to the work that non-profits do.   Projects such as landscaping and revitalization projects will be managed either through the Poteau Improvement Project or as benefit projects through the MGCA.  This will also allow us to engage in programs that are considered “for profit”, such as expanding the Farmer’s Market and the formation of the Artist Cooperative.


With everything under one umbrella, that will allow the “for-profit” portions to support the community based subsidiaries.  Essentially, it will allow us to generate sustainable income for longer periods of time, enabling us to provide bigger and better improvement projects to the community.  Of course, this is a community alliance and we still rely on community support for most of the larger projects.


So what does this mean?


    1. * Less time spent on fundraising = more time spent on community projects.


    1. * Greater return on investment for corporate and business sponsors and supporters.  By combining traditional print media with an online presence in excess of 30,000 visitors per month and special event promotions, we hope to be able to provide a better service to those who help support us.


    1. * More community projects getting completed.  As shown on our project map, we want to focus on areas that will either benefit the community or draw in new business/tourism to the area.


    1. * More  jobs.  Directly, these include Market Manager, Co-op Managers, Ad reps, and event managers.  Indirectly, this will create more opportunities for area farmers, ranchers, artists, and hobbiests by providing a place for them to make a living doing what they love.


    1. * Economic Stabilization, growth and development. As buildings are upgraded and areas improved, this also creates further opportunity for the development of small businesses.


    1. * Project management will be more effective.  As an alliance, we will help train and direct others in how to help make their communities better.  This spreads out the burden of labor to where the projects become more manageable in a timely basis.


    1. * We will continue to focus on civic enhancement projects, economic development projects, historic preservation, revitalization, tourism, and community building projects.  These projects remain the core of who we are,  just as it has been since the inception of the Poteau Improvement Project 2011.



How you can help

    1. * Advertise with us; advertising dollars support most of our projects.


    1. * Become a member; we offer membership services through this site, and will begin offering memberships for the Artist Cooperative.


    1. * Sponsor our events; events are big fundraisers and serve to bring people together.


    1. * Volunteer; we’re always needing help!  As we move forward with the Artist Cooperative, we’ll need a lot of people!


    1. * Promote; help get the word out.


    1. * Support the Farmer’s Market.


    1. * Support the Artist Cooperative.


    1. * Shop local, Live local, and Be local!  These are our communities, by supporting local, you help everyone!