Community Innovation Grants Awarded to Sioux Falls Area Nonprofits

February 20, 2020 // Community Innovation Grants
Call to Freedom Check presentation

The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) presented Community Innovation Grants (CIG) to five Sioux Falls based nonprofits including Call to Freedom, Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, South Dakota Voices for Peace, St. Francis House and the University of South Dakota. 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 five nonprofits will use funds to support:

Call to Freedom - $10,000

Call to Freedom will be a bridge connecting community services, schools and other resources to identify and serve youth in pilot communities (Sioux Falls, Pierre, Yankton, Watertown and Lower Brule) who are victimized by human trafficking. Funds will support unified training and intervention strategies throughout youth programs in the pilot communities to establish a network working collaboratively with existing child response teams.

“Call to Freedom is grateful for the continued support of the South Dakota Community Foundation”, said Becky Rasmussen, Executive Director, Call to Freedom. “There is a lot of work to be done to develop identification tools, streamline responses and offer specialized services for human trafficking victims in South Dakota. These dollars will help us make that a reality.”

Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting – $10,000

“Foundation support helps SDPB bring the Early Learning Initiative into communities all around the state”, said Larry Rohrer, SDPB Director of Media Content. “The opportunity to present in-person and get direct feedback makes this a more efficient and effective project.”

The South Dakota Public Broadcasting Early Childhood Initiative will support K-12 professionals and provide options to assist families at home. Community engagement sessions will be held for PRE-K professionals and parents’ representative of location and culture to create a detailed action plan. After analysis and outreach is conducted, activities will be launched including on-going evaluation.

South Dakota Voices for Peace - $10,000

The U.S. Census officially starts its count in April 2020 with 3 phases, including electronic applications, mailed applications and then door knocks by federal census workers. South Dakota Voices for Peace will generate a plan assuring that our communities and all their residents are accurately counted.

“We understand how critical it is for each person in our communities to be counted during this Census”, said Taneeza Islam, Executive Director, South Dakota Voices for Peace. “Our goal is to get every person to fill out their Census Form.”

St. Francis House - $10,000

After conducting a feasibility study and holding community stakeholder meetings, it became apparent that both donors and agency stakeholders wanted a coordinated system of services for their clients. Partnering with numerous other agencies, St. Francis House will manage the coordinated effort for not only their guests but other individuals in need as well.

“Due to the support of the SDCF, the St. Francis House has been able to implement a crucial aspect for operations in our new building”, said Julie Becker, Executive Director, St. Francis House. “Our new building allows us to expand our programming to our guests to assist them with building a stronger foundation in life. This grant allows community entities to utilize our building for events such as trainings, radio segments, church services and treatment programming.”

University of South Dakota - $5,000

“These funds will enable a full partnership and training for key nursing personnel with Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), said Sabina Kupershmidt, Assistant Professor, USD. “ECHO trainers funded by this grant will enable a central organization of a learning community through tele-mentoring and shared learning. ECHO will present a centralized structure for distant palliative care providers to obtain further mentoring, case-based learning, progress reporting and support in rural states like South Dakota.”

“The South Dakota Community Foundation is proud to offer support for these five nonprofits”, said Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF. “Although their goals and projects differ widely, each of them is doing their part to strengthen our state and make life better for generations to come.”

A total of $400,000 will be available to nonprofits in 2020 through the Community Innovation Grant program. The first round for 2020 application submission just closed with successful applicants being announced in April. Visit our website at to learn more about eligibility guidelines, deadlines and on-line application instructions.

About the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF)

SDCF is a public non-profit organization established in 1987. SDCF, with offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen administers over 980 funds benefiting hundreds of charitable organizations annually. The Foundation distributed nearly $18 million in grants in 2019 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 call 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.