Our Purpose and Story

Here, we're dedicated ...

... to inspiring philanthropy, strengthening our nonprofits, cultivating a culture of giving and care, and engaging our community around priority issues to help spark strategic investments in a future where everyone can thrive.


We believe in the power of a thriving community — one where people and families feel safe and have equal access to the resources they need for their health and well-being; where all kids have a fair shot at becoming the best they can be; where everyone has opportunities to inspire and be inspired through the arts; and where we all feel called and encouraged to drive bold change through service and leadership.

Our Story

Our story began more than 50 years ago.

1969 — On behalf of “United Community Services,” Attorney Marvin K. Bailin researches whether it is feasible to develop a broad-based community foundation to which charitable gifts and bequests could be made.

1976 — After years of discussing how to prepare Sioux Falls for inevitable “hard times,” Bailin, Bill Barlow of the United Way, Frank Weatherwax, Oscar Austad, John Foster, and Val Beckman apply for tax-exempt status for an idea called the “Sioux Falls Area Foundation, A Community Trust.”

1983 — The board decides to find the money to fund operations and hire staff. United Way provides a home and staff support for the new organization. Gannett Foundation and gifts from banks and individuals pay for the first part-time executive director, Rosemary Draeger.

1984 — The first three funds are established and a logo is adopted.

1985 — Sioux Falls Area Foundation officially incorporates. The Bush Foundation issues a $500,000 challenge grant for unrestricted gifts to the endowment.

1988 — The Bush challenge grant goal is met. Assets exceed $1 million and more than $21,000 in grants are made.

1993 — The board adopts a five-year plan to increase assets to $6 million. The executive position becomes full-time, and part-time accounting and administrative staff are added.

1995 — Assets under management are at $5 million. Draeger retires. Sue Brown is named president.

1996 — The board adopts a plan to double assets by the year 2000. It reaches its goal two years early.

1999 — The Kresge Foundation selects the Sioux Falls Area Foundation as one of six to participate in the Partnership to Raise Community Capital. Over the next five years, the partnership will help increase assets by more than $10 million — $3 million from the Kresge Foundation and $7 million raised locally.

2000 — In response to national branding efforts, the Sioux Falls Area Foundation moves to re-incorporate as “Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.”

2005 — The Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation meets the National Standards for Community Foundations in the U.S.

2006 — Brown retires. Candy Hanson is named president. Assets are at $50 million.

2013 — The Community Foundation reaches $100 million in assets under management and moves to its present location, in the Depot at Cherapa Place.

2015 — Andy Patterson is named president.

2019 — The Community Foundation records its third straight year of record growth, with assets now exceeding $179 million under management.