Nearly $570,000 Awarded from… | South Dakota Community Foundation

Nearly $570,000 Awarded from Beyond Idea Grant Program

November 30, 2023 // Grants, Beyond Idea Grant Program

Seven South Dakota nonprofits will receive grant awards totaling $569,138 from the South Dakota Community Foundation’s (SDCF) Beyond Idea Grant (BIG) program. Offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the BIG program supports community-based problem-solving efforts in South Dakota. This announcement showcases recipients from the second round of the BIG program in 2023.

“Beyond Idea Grant recipients are working to address important community issues across the state,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “These investments reflect our commitment to empowering positive, community-led advancement in South Dakota.”

SDCF received 81 applications in the second round of the BIG program for 2023. A review committee comprised of individuals from across South Dakota chose to financially support the following projects:

Western South Dakota

Elevate Foundation Inc. – $98,057

Elevate Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit arm of Elevate Rapid City, exists to further research and education in the areas of workforce development, entrepreneurship, and economic development while aligning with Elevate Rapid City's mission of elevating the region for all. BIG funding will support Elevate with an initiative working to eliminate barriers to employment. Elevate will test an idea that eliminating financial barriers, specifically the costs for obtaining necessary documents to seek employment, will clear a much-needed path for unhoused and justice-involved populations across South Dakota. Depending on the success of the initiative, an overarching goal is to develop legislation to help meet this need in the future.

Fork Real Community Café, Inc. – $100,000

Fork Real Café was established in 2017 to address hunger and food insecurity in Rapid City. The café’s mission is to build community through food and conversation and operates on a Pay-What-You-Can model. With BIG Funding, Fork Real Community Café’s idea is to help reduce food insecurity in the Rapid City area by expanding their restaurant model to a food truck, in which the food truck also helps build skills amongst individuals who would want to work in the restaurant industry. In expanding to a food truck, Fork Real hopes to reach families and individuals who are not able to travel to the café, with transportation being a barrier.

South Dakota State University Extension – $48,940

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension, the outreach arm of SDSU's land grant mission, aims to "provide farmers, ranchers, agri-business people, communities, families and youth with the research-based information they need to succeed." BIG funding will support an idea aimed at increasing access to locally grown produce to South Dakotans with documented health needs, in partnership with healthcare providers and food systems. Food prescriptions are already offered through 3 different grocery stores in South Dakota, and this idea would build the capacity for local farms in the Black Hills area to also benefit from the opportunity. This grant will help build the model for it to be shared with other farms. If successful, the SDSU Extension hopes to help area farms apply for federal funding designated for food prescriptions.

Eastern South Dakota

Codington County Welfare – $100,000

The Codington County Social Services Advisory Council started a strategic planning process in 2022 which identified 5 priority areas: Housing, Mental Health, Childcare, Community Transformation, and Centralized Services. Action Teams have been established to address these needs and the community is meeting the identified goals. BIG funding will allow the group to formally establish the Collective Impact model so the progress that has been made is not only sustained but expanded.

Southeast Technical College Foundation – $100,000

Southeast Technical College's (STC) mission is to educate individuals for dynamic and rewarding careers that promote lifetime success and meet the workforce needs of our region. With BIG funding, STC will pursue developing and testing a pathway initiative for Native American students to pursue and find success in technical careers. The project is comprehensive in that it starts with listening and meeting Native American 8th graders and their families, working with Native high school juniors and seniors on college preparation and providing a welcoming supporting environment towards graduation for all enrolled Native students at STC. Since 2021, STC has graduated 43 Indigenous students and is committed to enrolling more Indigenous students and walking alongside them through graduation.

Central South Dakota

Eureka Community Development Co. – $51,620

A partnership between the Eureka Community Development Co. and Campbell County Economic Development Co. the idea is to develop and organize a regional economic development cooperative for north central South Dakota, to help the area be more competitive in applying for bids, attracting new employers, and attracting new residents. A part of the idea is that smaller communities shouldn’t have to fight singularly to survive economically.


Health Connect of South Dakota – $70,521

Health Connect, a consumer public health library and health and safety information clearinghouse, 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. BIG funding will help Health Connect create a healthcare career exploration curriculum for students, initially targeting grades 3-5 and hoping to expand to K-12. The overall goal is to increase the healthcare workforce statewide, to be a workforce that also reflects the population of South Dakota. The goal is for this curriculum to supplement after school programming. Health Connect is the lead organization behind the idea and is also connected with the Sioux Falls School District, SD Afterschool Network, Mobridge Development Corp, and SD Health Occupations Students Association.

SDCF has awarded nearly $1.2 million dollars from the Beyond Idea Grant program in 2023. SDCF will award $1.2 million from the BIG program in 2024 as well. 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

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 $30 million in grants in 2022 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.

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.