The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) recently awarded a $70,521 Beyond Idea Grant (BIG) to Health Connect of South Dakota. Funding will support the idea of developing a healthcare career exploration curriculum for students, initially targeting grades 3-5 and hoping to expand to K-12.
“In a complex career choice climate, the Health Connect of South Dakota proposal for ‘Healthcare Careers Exploration Program for Out of School Time Programs’ introduces youth from rural, underserved, and marginalized backgrounds to the amazing career possibilities in healthcare. These programs might be the first exposure to healthcare professionals by some of the youth. The goal is to have youth continue their paths into healthcare professions while bringing diversity and removing disparities or concerns. A diverse group of program partners behind the program’s works will assist in the programming success,” says Fran Rice, Executive Director, Health Connect of South Dakota.
Health Connect works directly with individuals, families, nonprofits, and communities to provide up-to-date health related information and assists in connecting them to healthcare services. In its work, Health Connect directly experiences the disconnect of not having a rural and diverse healthcare workforce. The mission of out of school time programs is to meet the needs of the whole child through enrichment programs that support academic, social, and personal growth of youth.
“We are very proud to partner with Health Connect of South Dakota,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “The healthcare workforce is understaffed across the country and through this program more young people from all backgrounds can gain inspiration and experience towards exploring a healthcare career.”
SDCF is a public non-profit organization established in 1987. SDCF, with offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen administers 1,200 funds benefiting hundreds of charitable organizations annually. The Foundation distributed nearly $31 million in grants in 2023 which made a tremendous difference in communities statewide. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors. If you have a specific cause you would like to support or would prefer to give for the general good of our state, please visit https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/giving to learn more or call 1-800-888-1842.