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Fund Established to Help Inspire, Develop Leaders Among Diverse Populations

The Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has established a fund to help inspire, build and develop emerging leaders among the city’s diverse populations.

The Bridging the Gap Fund is designed to help encourage and create engaged and empowered leaders within the city’s growing number of diverse populations through the support of efforts and programming centered around education, community building, story-telling and leadership development.

An advisory committee will award grants from the fund to support organizations and programs that will focus on key initiatives such as:

  • Training and mentoring to help build and develop leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  • Providing resources for employers and employees to help create more pathways for inclusion in the workplace.
  • Building community, fostering connections and creating awareness through art, media and storytelling.

Andy Patterson, president of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, called the fund a “catalyst for positive change.”

“At the Foundation, we’re committed to inspiring philanthropy to help build a better, brighter tomorrow for all those who call this area home. But to build a better tomorrow for everyone, we need engaged and empowered leaders who know, understand and represent the diversity of our community today,” Patterson said. “We are excited to work with community leaders and donors to invest in, nurture and empower the next generation of leaders who will no doubt inspire even more potential and possibility in the Sioux Falls of tomorrow.”

The Community Foundation worked with local business owners Tamien Dysart and Vaney Hariri, co-founders of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program, a 12-week leadership development program designed to equip current and aspiring leaders with leadership and professional skills, to develop the Bridging the Gap Fund.

"As we face the largest transition of wealth, power and responsibility the world has ever seen, it has become imperative that we begin the work of preparing tomorrow's leaders today," Dysart and Hariri said.

Grants from the Bridging the Gap Fund will be awarded by an advisory committee composed of emerging leaders from throughout the city, each of whom is a graduate of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program. The Foundation’s Community Investment team will provide technical and administrative support for the committee’s grantmaking.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Ten Haken said the Bridging the Gap Fund is the right idea at the right time.

“For our community to be the best we possibly can be, Sioux Falls needs to be more intentional about creating leadership opportunities for everyone, and there’s no better time than the present to start doing that work. It’s the responsibility of current city leaders to send the elevator back down and bring the next generation along with us, and this fund will help provide the tools to do that,” TenHaken said.

Next up, the Bridging the Gap Fund Advisory Committee will develop a plan to announce grant opportunities.

The Bridging the Gap Fund has already received its first major contribution, a $50,000 gift from Midcontinent Communications.

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Learn more, meet the Advisory Committee and make a gift to the Bridging the Gap Fund today.

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