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Foundation Announces Major Gift for the Furniture Mission

A transformational gift will help a local nonprofit advance its mission to serve those in need and expand its work to develop and foster a new generation of community volunteers.

A $1 million donation from the Seed for Success Foundation paves the way for the Furniture Mission, a nonprofit that provides furniture and household items to individuals and families in need, to move forward with plans for a new and expanded Woodworking Shop. The new shop will be located at the Furniture Mission’s new facility on the Empower Campus in Sioux Falls.

The gift was announced today by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, the area’s center for philanthropy and community knowledge.

Janean Michalov, executive director for the Furniture Mission, said the new Woodworking Shop will not only allow the organization to further its outreach and service to those in need, it will also provide new opportunities for young people to learn timeless carpentry skills under the guidance of mentors and experienced craftspeople.

The furniture mission's existing Woodworking Shop.
The Furniture Mission's existing workshop. The gift will pave the way for a new and expanded Woodworking Shop in the organization's new facility.

The Furniture Mission’s existing Woodworking Shop, located downtown on Nesmith Avenue, is home to a team of experienced carpenters who volunteer their time, expertise and craftsmanship to help thousands of households each year. In 2021, volunteer carpenters constructed more than 1,500 toddler beds. They also build kitchen tables and platform beds, repair donated furniture and convert unused furniture into night stands and end tables.

The organization’s new Woodworking Shop will offer more space for these volunteer carpenters to build and create furniture that, Michalov said, is essential to “making a house a home.” What’s more, she said, the new shop will also be a place of teaching and learning.

“Our new Woodworking Shop will be a safe, teachable space where mentors, mentees and our team of volunteer carpenters can work together to not only create more furniture for those in need, but also to build and develop carpentry skills in our community’s next generation of volunteers,” Michalov said. “There are so many organizations throughout Sioux Falls who create and foster mentor/mentee relationships — including The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire, located on the Empower Campus, and Volunteers of America."

We believe our new Woodworking Shop will provide great opportunities for mentors and mentees to engage in activities that teach useful and life-long skills, and that will benefit those in need throughout Sioux Falls.

— Janean Michalov, Executive Director, The Furniture Mission

Filling a Big Need in Our Community

Sam Gotham is a Furniture Mission volunteer and also serves on the organization’s Board of Directors. He said as Sioux Falls grows and changes, referrals to the Furniture Mission continue to increase. Just last year, the organization provided furniture and household items to more than 1,700 households throughout the city.

“During one of my early experiences with the Furniture Mission, we were delivering furniture to a single mother with several kids. Once we got inside, I could see pillows and blankets on the floor. The entire family had been sleeping on the floor,” Gotham said. “I quickly realized what a big need this organization fills in our community."

The Furniture Mission, he said, helps people who are taking the first step toward rebuilding their lives — whether they’re starting over, or because they had to leave a bad situation. And their ability to make their house or apartment a home, he said, is key to starting over successfully.

“Once someone finds a place to live — which, for many, can be a challenge in and of itself — their family needs beds to sleep in and a table to eat at. Parents need spaces where they can spend time with their kids — talking with them, eating with them, reading to them. It sounds so basic, but, if you’re sleeping on the floor and don’t have a table and chairs, where do you do all of that?” he said. “Even something like a table and chairs — where people can sit together over a meal and talk about their day — that furniture can bring people together. It can make a family stronger. It can help them move forward.”

The Spirit of Philanthropy: People Helping People

Mary Kolsrud serves as the Community Foundation’s vice president for philanthropy. Central to the Foundation’s work, she said, is to connect donors with critical needs in the community.

We know the Furniture Mission fills an important need across our area. We also know the Seed for Success Foundation is committed to making philanthropic investments that help ensure people have the resources and support they need to thrive — essentially, planting that seed today for success tomorrow. So it was an honor to connect these two organizations and we couldn’t be more excited about this extraordinary gift which will benefit our community for generations to come. The true meaning of philanthropy is people helping people, and this is a beautiful illustration of that.

— Mary Kolsrud, Vice President, Philanthropy

Michalov agreed.

“We couldn’t be more humbled and grateful to the Seed for Success Foundation for this incredible gift,” she said. “We’re excited to move forward and we can’t wait to see how our new Woodworking Shop will impact our community.”

The gift comes as the Furniture Mission’s Chamber Appeal Campaign nears its completion on July 31. Michalov said opportunities to sponsor additional mentorship programs, such as a quilting and sewing space, still exist.

Learn more about the Furniture Mission at