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Endowments Provide Annual Support, Ensure Sustainability for Local Nonprofits

Volunteers serve at the Banquet

In late July, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation organized the delivery of more than $1.3 million in checks to 114 local nonprofits as part of its annual endowment distribution process.

The distributions provide critical, annual support for area nonprofits — all of which are mission-focused organizations dedicated to making the Sioux Falls area a better place to live, work and play, Community Foundation officials said.

Beyond the annual financial support they provide, endowments also serve to honor the legacy of the donors who establish them.

“An endowment is designed to enable someone to continue supporting the causes and organizations they care about, even after their life,” said Mary Kolsrud, vice president for philanthropy at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. “Ultimately, endowments are a reflection of one’s values and passions; of the legacy for which someone wishes to be remembered.”

In addition to the endowments created by individuals and families, the Community Foundation also serves as the steward for more than 140 organizational endowments, created by nonprofits to provide long-term, stable sources of annual revenue, ensuring continued sustainability while allowing staff to focus on advancing their mission.

An endowment is a model that provides a permanent source of financial support for the designated organization, Kolsrud said. The Community Foundation’s endowment formula features distributions of up to 5 percent from the fund’s average balance, distributed annually.

Leo and Hazel Reppert.
Leo and Hazel Reppert.

The Leo and Hazel Reppert Endowment is just one example of how an endowment honors the charitable wishes of donors while providing important annual support for nonprofit organizations.

Leo and Hazel Reppert came from humble beginnings. After they married in 1936, they began working in Sioux Falls — saving up for a shared dream of one day owning their own farm. Their hard work paid off and eventually, Leo and Hazel purchased farmland south of Baltic, South Dakota. Over the next 40 years, they worked together to build successful hog, dairy and cattle operations.

Having no children of their own, after Leo passed away Hazel made the decision to leave a portion of their estate to charity.

After Hazel’s passing, the couple’s farm — which was located at what is now the intersection of Benson Road and Marion Road — was sold and its proceeds were divided among their beneficiaries — one of which was the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Today, the Leo and Hazel Reppert Endowment at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation provides annual distributions to a number of local nonprofits, including The Banquet — an organization which held special meaning to both Leo and Hazel who, their friends said, “understood what it was to be hungry.”

The annual distribution from the Reppert Endowment provides important annual support for The Banquet —– ensuring its ability to provide daily meals for individuals and families in need, said Executive Director Tamera Jerke-Liesinger. The support also allows The Banquet team to focus on advancing its mission to nourish a growing community. In 2018, The Banquet served nearly 200,000 meals — more than 27,000 of which were served to children under 12 years old.

“Yearly financial gifts, like the ones we receive from the Reppert Endowment, are critical to keeping The Banquet doors open. These funds are even more important now with our expansion into northwest Sioux Falls where we will be serving five evening meals to hundreds of families living in poverty in the Hayward neighborhood,” said Tamera Jerke-Liesinger.

Kolsrud said the ability to help a donor establish an endowment that carries out his or her legacy while also supporting a local nonprofit is “beyond heartwarming.”

“At the Community Foundation, the magic happens when we are able to help donors create their legacies by crafting a plan to help them support their favorite charities, now and far into the future. When we get to align interests with needs, and all the pieces come together, it’s a beautiful testament to what makes this city so great.”

In addition to its organizational endowment held at the Foundation, The Banquet also benefits from donors who were passionate about its mission.

Submitted Photo Above: Volunteers prepare to serve a meal at The Banquet in downtown Sioux Falls.