Empowering Native American Students

October 8, 2021 // South Dakota Fund Grants

Through this grant, the South Dakota Community Foundation joins Crazy Horse Memorial in closing the college achievement gap that exists between Native and non-Natives.

Laurie J. Becvar, President and Chief Operating Officer, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation provides educational experience and resources for Native American students. In 2010, The Indian University of North America began assisting college-bound Native Americans by providing students their first semester of college as a transition from high school to that of higher education. Throughout the 7th Gen First Year Summer Program, students learn foundational life skills along with twelve credit-hours of college coursework before starting their fall semester. Annually, 32 students are selected for the rigorous eight-week program. Offered in partnership with the University of South Dakota (USD), USD issues the credit hours, which are easily transferable to other institutions, and Crazy Horse Memorial pays for the student tuition, fees, books, and much of the food and lodging costs in addition to faculty salaries and all university operating expenses.

The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) provided a $10,000 South Dakota Fund grant to Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. This grant will provide support for participating Native American students.



“On behalf of the Board of Directors, management, faculty, and staff of Crazy Horse Memorial’s Indian University of North America, we are grateful for the financial support provided by the South Dakota Community Foundation,” stated Laurie J. Becvar, President and Chief Operating Officer, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. “Through this grant, the South Dakota Community Foundation joins Crazy Horse Memorial in closing the college achievement gap that exists between Native and non-Natives. Over the last twelve years, we have built a track record of success assisting Native students as they start and complete college. Approximately 80% of the students who started college through the 7th Gen program are still in college or have graduated. Support of the 2022 program will allow us to continue to serve students in meaningful and impactful ways.”

“Native American students are among the most vulnerable in our nation’s education system”, said Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF. “Education provides a path out of poverty and an opportunity to give back.”

To learn more about funding opportunities offered by the SDCF, please visit our website at https://www.sdcommunityfoundation.org/

About the SDCF

SDCF is a public non-profit organization established in 1987. SDCF, with offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen administers over 1050 funds benefiting hundreds of charitable organizations annually. The Foundation 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 https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/giving to learn more or call 1-800-888-1842.