Four West River nonprofits recently received nearly $230,000 in grants from the South Dakota Community Foundation’s (SDCF) Beyond Idea Grant (BIG) and South Dakota Fund grant programs. Grant programs from SDCF support nonprofits across South Dakota with program and project related funding through the South Dakota Fund grant program and for community-based problem solving through the BIG program. The BIG program is offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation. In 2023, SDCF awarded nearly $1.2 million from BIG and nearly $690,000 from the South Dakota Fund grant program. Both grant programs award funding through a competitive application process.
Groups receiving awards from the Beyond Idea Grant (BIG) program included:
Elevate Foundation Inc - $98,057
Fork Real Community Cafe - $100,000
Elevate Foundation - $98,057
Funding will assist this program in targeting unhoused populations and justice-involved individuals reentering society in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. These populations are often the most in need with assistance in reobtaining vital documents necessary to reenter the workforce such as State issued ID cards, Social Security Cards, and Birth Certificates. Further, it aims to align resource partners and connect potential employees with wraparound services like childcare and transportation.
“This program will help unhoused individuals and people living with poverty access vital documents to help them get back into the workforce. It will also help evaluate the benefit of a long-term program like this through data collection,” says Resse Niu, Workforce Readiness & Equity Director, Elevate Rapid City.
Fork Real Community Cafe- $100,000
Fork Real Community Café’s idea is to help reduce food insecurity in the Rapid City area by expanding their “pay-what-you-can” 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. Utilizing this model, everyone in the community can enjoy a healthy meal regardless of their socioeconomic status. 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.
"Our team values the intentional relationships that have been nurtured over the last few years. This generous grant from the SDCF will help expand food security to families and individuals, provide training to youth and young adults wishing to enter the culinary workforce," says Rhonda and Dave Percy, Founders of Fork Real Community Café.
Groups receiving awards from the South Dakota Fund program included:
American Red Cross - $15,000
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota Inc - $16,000
American Red Cross - $15,000
Funding will be used for Disaster Services to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters in South Dakota. Most recently, in June 2023, heavy rain led to severe flooding in Spearfish, impacting several apartment buildings affecting 60 units and displacing the families living in them. Red Cross disaster relief workers opened a shelter to provide care and comfort to people displaced. In the last fiscal year, the Red Cross workforce responded to 204 disasters (193 were home fires), that affected 778 people in South Dakota.
“We are thankful for the gift from SDCF. It is gifts like this that make it possible for the Red Cross to deliver services to those who have lost everything is a house fire or other natural disaster, “states Dane Bloch, CFRE, American Red Cross.
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs - $16,000
Funding will be used to expand their programming by building an outdoor dig box and equipping it for summer programs. The Mammoth Site is an educational and research center, museum, and live paleontological dig site highlighting the late Ice Age and the world's largest concentration of mammoth remains. It is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve, research, and interpret the archaeological dig site. The facility is the largest of its kind dedicated to mammoth research with a museum, exhibit hall, and a live paleontological dig site.
“The Mammoth Site is extremely grateful for the continued support we receive from the South Dakota Community Foundation. This grant award will help us create a new summer field camp as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. This unique summer camp is designed for area youth to experience all aspects of paleontological fieldwork,” says Presston Gabel, Business Manager.
“Each of the nonprofits are providing a way for people to work together for the common good while filling a niche in their communities,” said Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “SDCF is proud to support each of these organizations as they continue to serve the needs of South Dakota.”
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.