Announcing Round 1, 2021… | South Dakota Community Foundation

Announcing Round 1, 2021 Community Innovation Grant Recipients

June 4, 2021 // Community Innovation Grants

"The South Dakota Community Foundation received sixty-three applications in Round 1 and selected these fourteen nonprofits to implement inclusive, collaborative and resourceful solutions that will benefit all our state's citizens."

Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF

Round 1 of the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) 2021 Community Innovation Grant (CIG) program has been completed. Fourteen South Dakota nonprofits will receive grant awards. Offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the Community Innovation Grant program supports efforts to find breakthrough solutions to community challenges across the state.

“The South Dakota Community Foundation received sixty-three applications in Round 1 and selected these fourteen nonprofits to implement inclusive, collaborative and resourceful solutions that will benefit all our state’s citizens,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “Round 1 resulted in $204,830 being distributed among the selected grantees. We are grateful to the Bush Foundation for their past and continued investment in our state.”

The review committee chose to support the following projects financially:


  • Alzheimer’s Association South Dakota Chapter (Statewide): $10,000 In South Dakota, more than 18,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s. This project will work to ensure that rural South Dakotans are connected to the same resources for Alzheimer’s as their urban counterparts. The focus will begin with 50 or more rural counties and tribal areas in our state where dementia services and resources are most limited. The Alzheimer’s Association is working in partnership with the South Dakota Department of Human Services, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs and AARP to bolster this initiative.
  • Center for Rural Affairs (Statewide): $15,000 Many South Dakotans still lack broadband access, despite it being a critical component of modern-day life. Targeted engagement to underserved, rural communities is the prime focus of this project. Expansion of grassroots outreach, engagement with economic and community development groups, identification of tools and training to improve digital literacy and capabilities are all key objectives included in this process.
  • Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (Statewide): $20,000 With this project, Lutheran Social Services is seeking to improve their agency and staff’s capacity to work toward racial equity by increasing their ability to acknowledge and address racial and cultural differences, acknowledge racism and discrimination in society and advocate for remedies to social injustices.
  • NAMI South Dakota (Statewide): $20,000 Funds will support development of an online survey to determine topics, information and education needed when there is a request for a virtual mental health presentation. An online tracking tool will also be developed to measure presentation impact and determine trends. Data will be recorded allowing for strategic development and marketing of additional topics of interest to clients.
  • Survivors Joining for Hope, Inc. (Statewide): $10,000 Despite having a suicide rate amongst individuals ages 15-24 that is higher than the national average, limited resources exist for youth in South Dakota who have lost someone to suicide. A survey will be created for school administrators and student councils to complete. Based on scores from these surveys, each school will be put into a region to determine a baseline for student awareness and staff education. Community engagement will take place and groups will be led not just by adults but by youth themselves. Information gleamed from the surveys will help develop and launch a program focused on providing curriculum, resources and activities for youth.

Eastern South Dakota

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains, Inc. (Yankton): $10,000 The Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Plains, Inc. is an umbrella organization with five different Boys & Girls Clubs serving youth in different areas including the Boys & Girls Club of Yankton. They successfully began the process of developing a diversion program for juvenile felons in Brookings. This work will continue focusing on the goal of improving diversion programming for youth within Yankton County. Partners in this effort will include the State’s Attorney’s office, local businesses, mental health agencies, youth and families and probation officers.
  • Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition (Yankton): $8,000 With US Army Corps of Engineers input, the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition began developing a sediment management plan. Phase 1 began July 1, 2019 and laid out tasks and costs associated with Phase 2. Phase 2 focuses on tasks such as a Solutions Workshop, which will bring subject matter experts together in Yankton and includes an economic analysis using different dredging scenarios.
  • Pathways to Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces (Sioux Falls): $20,000 Pathways has conducted more than 100 interviews in the Sioux Falls area with business and community leaders regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). Educators on their team will work with employers through a year-long DE&I Activator Series, HR round tables, Sioux Falls Voices (panels comprised of diverse community members) and intensives on unconscious bias and cultural competence.
  • St. Francis House (Sioux Falls): $5,200 An initial survey of small non-profit directors shed light on common challenges being experienced by all of them. The costs of health insurance and retaining and recruiting employees was a common theme. They will explore the idea of a small group of nonprofits coming together to form an association. Focus groups will be held, findings shared and recommendations presented regarding next steps.
  • Southeast Technical Institute Foundation (Sioux Falls): $14,630 Southeast Technical College will build on a pilot program they offered to over 30 diverse students who were employed by local construction companies, earned dual enrollment credit and learned the construction trade. The curriculum was created by faculty and industry partners. To build on that pilot program, new industry sponsors have been recruited that include Associated General Contractors, the Homebuilder’s Association and landscape companies in the Sioux Falls area. Area high schools will help identify rising juniors and seniors interested in a paid apprenticeship.
  • United Way of Northeastern SD (Aberdeen): $20,000 Five organizations in Aberdeen (Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Development Corporation, Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau, Aberdeen Downtown Association and United Way of Northeastern South Dakota) will each remain autonomous and focused on their core mission; but will also work together publicly with other organizations to address a shared vision. Funding will allow them to identify that shared vision through the process of self-evaluation and strategic planning.

Central South Dakota

  • Dakota Wesleyan University Learn & Earn Program (Pierre): $12,000 The Learn & Earn experience is a hands-on real-world simulation that can be completed in 16 consecutive months. There are no tests, papers or traditional grades. After the first four months, the student will work in their paid internships two days a week, while earning professional credentials. After eight months, the internship will increase to three days a week with the student spending two days at Capital City Campus. Students will be provided laptops to use at work and on campus. Dakota Wesleyan University has partnered with the Pierre Economic Development Corporation, the Capital City Campus, BankWest and others to develop this program.

Western South Dakota

  • Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors (Rapid City): $20,000 The Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors and the City of Rapid City have come together to create a public private partnership to address race relations, inequity and discrimination in a way that is new, inclusive and resourceful through the creation of a new Human Relations Commission. Supporters include elected city leaders. A one-day “tour” concept will be incorporated to reveal Rapid City’s diversity, rich culture, challenges, historical geography and human capital for cohorts of diverse participants. Following the “tour”, input will be gathered from participants to examine community needs and move towards solutions.
  • Victims of Violence Intervention Program (western South Dakota): $20,000 Through a needs assessment conducted by Victims of Violence Intervention Program, they learned domestic and sexual violence against Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) was much greater than others in their communities. A study will be conducted focusing on the experiences of BIPOC survivors in western South Dakota. Using a 3-phase process that includes collecting information, publishing results in peer journals and media outlets, Victims of Violence Intervention Program will be better equipped to serve and empower survivors. By inviting area organizations and partners to join them, a regional understanding of how to prioritize racial equity will be developed.

A total of $400,000 will be available to nonprofits in 2021. The last of the two rounds being offered for 2021 opens on July 1, 2021 and closes on July 30, 2021. Interested organizations can visit to review the grant guidelines, deadlines and application instructions. In order to qualify, a nonprofit must be IRS Publication 78 verified or have a fiscal sponsor. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to Ginger Niemann by phone at 800.888.1842 or by email

About our Donors

The SDCF distributed nearly $18 million in grants in 2020 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 to learn more or give us a call at 1-800-888-1842.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.