South Dakota Fund Grants | South Dakota Community Foundation

South Dakota Fund Grants

SDCF's Unrestricted Grantmaking Program

South Dakota Mount Rushmore shot on a clear day

Funding good across the state. The South Dakota Fund

The South Dakota Fund is an unrestricted fund that makes grants to non-profit and charitable organizations across the state in support of culture, economic development, education, financial literacy, health and human services.

South Dakota Fund grants are awarded by the SDCF Board of Directors throughout the year. Take a look at our past award recipients below and see if your organization qualifies.

Basic Eligibility

  • Applicants should be a public, nonprofit organization as defined by IRS Publication 78. You can also work with a verified fiscal sponsor who can receive funds on your behalf.
  • The SDCF does not make grants in support of political campaigns, discriminatory practices, or for personal gain.

Before you start the application, view our sample application (PDF). This will help you ensure that you have all you'll need for a formal application. Then visit our online application to begin your grant application. If you've previously submitted a grant application to the SDCF, visit eGrant to submit an application.

Visit eGrant

1. Discrimination

The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF or Foundation) closely scrutinizes all grant proposals for discriminatory practices and will not fund grants that discriminate based on race, color, creed or national origin.

2. Application Procedures

2.1. Innovation

SDCF funds both ongoing, well established projects as well as innovative projects designed to address South Dakota community needs. Staff is available, on a limited basis, to offer support.

2.2. Volunteerism

Projects which have paid staff but involve significant and continuous community volunteer support to enhance their existing programs will be favorably considered.

2.3. Statewide Distribution

SDCF funds will be distributed statewide to best meet the needs of the statewide constituency, except for the endowed funds designated for specific charitable purposes by the donor. Grantmaking decisions will be made by the Foundation Board of Directors based upon their evaluation and the recommendations of the Grantmaking Committee and staff.

2.4. Public Nonprofit Organizations

The SDCF will concentrate on funding public nonprofit corporations but will consider other organizations which meet grant guidelines.

2.5. Capital Improvements

Costs of building, remodeling, and capital bricks and mortar projects are funded on a limited basis and receive low priority. The SDCF generally will not provide transportation vehicles or equipment purchases over $10,000.

2.6. Minimum & Maximum Awards

Grant applications requesting less than $2,000 and over $20,000 will usually not be considered, although there can be exceptions.

2.7 Total Project Cost

Applications that are requesting more than half of the total project cost will receive low priority.

2.8. Challenge or Matching Grants

The SDCF encourages matching funds from all grant applicants. When the Grantmaking Committee sees the need for more local involvement and support of a given project to establish ownership in the community, it may require challenge grants in any proportion. Funding may be contingent upon acquisition of the required matching money. If the Foundation perceives a need is not being met, it may issue a challenge grant or request for proposal to participate in a challenge grant to address that need.

2.9. Seed Grants

Applications requesting startup money must provide feasibility data indicating a need for the project, support for the project and the ongoing probability of success.

2.10. Collaborative Projects

Applications received from collaborative applications of two or more organizations will be considered if their proposal meets the guidelines of the Foundation. All communications and accountability must be established with only one of the organizations.

2.11. Financial Literacy Projects

Applications may be submitted for credit or debit education or other charitable or consumer education purposes. Requesting funding for financial literacy opportunities, does not preclude applying for other projects within the South Dakota Fund in a 12-month period. Applicants may apply for more than $20,000.

2.12. Fiscal Sponsorship

The SDCF accepts grant applications from organizations serving as a fiscal sponsor for charitable projects.

  • Fiscal sponsors may apply multiple times in one year on behalf of different applicants but only once per year for any single applicant.
  • Fiscal sponsors will be required to submit application attachments if applicable to entity.
  • Checks will be issued to the fiscal sponsor for use by the applicant.

2.13. Operating Expense for Governmental Entities

No SDCF funds will be awarded to pay for operating expenses for governmental entities.

2.14. Loans

The SDCF does not make loans.

3. Exceptions to Application Procedures

The SDCF may make an exception to any grantmaking guideline upon motion duly made, seconded and carried by a majority of the members present and voting. Motion must state rationale for the exception. Exceptions taken in one instance do not constitute precedent exceptions for future grant decisions.

4. Letter of Inquiry, Review Process and Communications

4.1. Grant Review Process

Letters of Inquiry (LOI) will be accepted throughout the year. The Foundation will respond to all applicants in a timely manner. Staff will eliminate LOI’s that do not fit the mission of the Foundation or clearly do not qualify. Following review of the LOI, applicants may be invited to complete a full grant application. All grant applications will be forwarded by staff to the Grantmaking Committee. The Grantmaking Committee will review the applications and make their recommendations to the board of directors who will review the recommendations of the Committee and may approve the awards.

4.2. Communications with Applicants

All applicants will be informed by e-mail in a timely manner of any action taken on their grant application. The Grantmaking Committee will hold decisions in confidence until publicly announced by the SDCF.

5. Re-applications

Multiple or repeat applications from one organization in less than a twelve-month period are not allowed, except as may be allowed under Section 2.10.

6. Project Updates

6.1. Due Diligence

A due diligence form shall be completed and returned to the Foundation before a grant of funds is disbursed. Applicants shall inform the Foundation office by e-mail of any significant changes in grant applicant status, organizational status, or project status. Funding may be changed based upon the significance of changes in project status.

6.2. Final Evaluation Report

A final evaluation report shall be submitted to the Foundation office immediately following project completion. A grant file is considered complete only after the final evaluation report is received in the Foundation office, and until received, no additional grant requests will be considered.

7. Verification

Organizations applying for funds from the SDCF must be verified by the Internal Revenue Service under Publication 78.

Ready to apply?

Follow these steps to complete your application.

  1. If you have not already done so, read the grantmaking guidelines above to ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.
  2. Download our sample grant application (PDF) to see what information you will need.
  3. Submit a Letter of Inquiry through our online eGrant system. We'll respond within approximately 15 business days with a decision. If you have not accessed eGrant before, you will need to register.
  4. If the Letter of Inquiry is accepted, you will be invited to complete a full application in eGrant. An email confirmation will be sent to you when your application has been received by the South Dakota Community Foundation.
  5. The SDCF staff and board of directors will review your application. We will notify you of our decision within approximately 90 days after you submit your application with a decision.

Access the eGrant portal to complete your application online.

Funding Good Across the State

We award a lot of grants through the South Dakota Fund to charitable organizations across South Dakota. As a statewide philanthropic resource, we have provided grants to nonprofit organizations in all 66 counties.

This unrestricted fund makes grants to non-profit and charitable organizations across the state in support of culture, economic development, education, financial literacy, health and human services.

To learn more about past recipients, visit our News section.

Click here to view the presentation from the meeting held on February 21, 2024.

SDCF was unable to retain an audio/video recording of this meeting. Please reach out with any questions.

Have questions?

Contact our Grants Team.

Ginger Niemann

Senior Program Officer

Since 1998, Ginger has been a member of the South Dakota Community Foundation team. Nearly a decade of her time at the foundation has been spent overseeing the administration of grant programs. Currently, Ginger works closely with the Grant Making Committee to make distributions from the South Dakota Fund and Community Innovation Grants program, which is a partnership with the Bush Foundation. In addition to managing the grant application process from application to selection, she also oversees the Fairy Godmother Fund, which meets urgent needs of women in the state.

Ginger is committed to connecting non-profit organizations with the funds they need to help South Dakotans. Traveling across the state, she meets with grant applicants, conducts site visits of grant recipients and awards grant checks.

Crystal Ortbahn

Grant Program Coordinator

Crystal joined the South Dakota Community Foundation in September 2021. She brings experience in public service in South Dakota and overseas, having completed assignments with the United States Peace Corps in Uganda and Burkina Faso.

Crystal grew up in Pierre and is a graduate of Augustana University. She is eager to support good work being done across the state as a member of the grant team.