News for Donor Advisors

In Focus: A Case Study in Innovation

Reach Literacy - Hope Coalition collaboration

Will a new Sioux Falls Hope Coalition-REACH Literacy collaboration foreshadow a new post-pandemic approach to human services? We think so.

As we look ahead to the end of the pandemic and the ability to return to a sense of normalcy,

I’ve found myself reflecting on what we’ve learned over the last year. While it’s been painful and challenging and scary, if I’m being honest, the pandemic has taught us a lot. I think, without question, it’s taught us how to manage our time; how to be efficient, resourceful and collaborative; and how, if we think outside the box and work together, we can accomplish anything.

Our nonprofit sector is a great example. Since the onset of the pandemic, these organizations have faced curveball after curveball: increased or changing demands for services, fewer volunteers, fewer donations, new health and safety requirements, staffing challenges — the list goes on and on. But time and time again, our nonprofits have adapted with creativity and innovation to meet the challenges before them.

A new collaboration between the Sioux Falls Hope Coalition, a nonprofit that provides free preschool for families in need, and REACH Literacy, an organization dedicated to providing literacy tutoring and resources for adults and kids, is a great example.

Undeterred by the effects of the pandemic on their respective organizations, these two nonprofits are partnering on a collaborative program designed to offer English language and literacy assistance to moms of Hope Coalition students attending Central Church Downtown Preschool.

Launched as a pilot last October, the program began with an initial class of eight women whose native languages include Spanish, Russian, Swahili and Amharic. This class continues to meet twice a week — some classes are in person (for which child care is provided) and other classes are held online.

The results have been nothing short of amazing.

Developing their literacy and communication skills have helped these moms build confidence. Working together, they now feel a sense of community and have formed friendships among each other. When I spoke with Paige Carda, REACH Literacy’s executive director, she said the women participating in the pilot also feel more secure in reading and speaking to their preschoolers in English, which in turn, is building confidence among the kids.

This effort is so impactful because it’s giving someone a skill that can change their life going forward, Paige told me. That’s because knowing how to read and communicate can open up new opportunities at work, can create opportunities for increased income, can help a parent work with their kids, can inspire someone to engage in their community, and so much more.

Two organizations thinking outside the box, collaborating to change lives — and in doing so, impacting the community we all call home. Will this be part of our “new normal” post-pandemic? I think so. And what a great thing that would be!

Read more about the Hope Coalition-REACH Literacy collaboration at Want to learn more about how our nonprofits are adapting and responding to our community’s changing needs? I’m happy to visit with you. Reach me at 605.336.7055.

PHOTO ABOVE: Learning Skills, Building Confidence, Forming Community: Participants of a new Hope Coalition-REACH Literacy pilot program gather for an in-person tutoring session at Central Church earlier this year. (Submitted Photo)