FY 22-23 Community Grants

Providing Help, Enhancing Quality of Life

The Community Fund, our most visionary endowment, is supported by donors who make unrestricted gifts to the Community Foundation. These donors place their trust in the Foundation to direct their gifts in ways that will create the greatest impact.

FY 2022-23 Community Fund Grants

Community Fund grants help launch transformational programs, provide meaningful support for neighborhood nonprofits, and help develop innovative solutions for our community's most complex challenges. Learn about the Community Grants awarded during the 2022-23 Fiscal Year:

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire is to nurture, educate and enrich the lives of children and youth for lifelong success. Today the organization serves children between the ages of 4 weeks to 18 years old throughout Sioux Falls, Brandon and Harrisburg.

The Community Fund grant supported new technology designed to improve communication and enhance security.

A new, integrated software program will enable parents and teachers to communicate more effectively in real-time across all programs. In addition to improving communication, the new program will offer parents the opportunity to update their contact information, make changes in enrollments, note allergies/medications, sign documents electronically and more, all online. Security technology at seven locations will also be upgraded.

With a mission to support the Latino population in Sioux Falls, Caminando Juntos provides case management, immigration legal services, English classes and more for Latino individuals, families and kids throughout our community.

The Community Foundation grant supported Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo (Dare to Be Yourself), a support group for Latino teens ages 14-17 who have recently immigrated to the United States and are new to the culture, language and school system.

The support group will be led by Dr. Margarita Gomez, a psychologist from Columbia. The 10-week program will cover mental health topics such as emotional intelligence, healthy communication, mindsets, mental well-being, self-esteem and self-worth, and future aspirations.

Learn more.

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment was created in 2017 to help end child sexual abuse in South Dakota and to increase the State's capacity to address all forms of child maltreatment.

The Community Foundation grant supported the Community Response to Child Abuse Conference, a conference for professionals responding to and preventing child abuse.

In collaboration with Sanford Child's Voice and the Unified Judicial System (UJS) Court Improvement Program (CIP), the Community Response to Child Abuse Conference was held October 6-7 in Sioux Falls. The event offered education, networking, learning and collaboration for those who work to prevent and respond to child maltreatment including medical professionals, educators, social workers, therapists, law enforcement, attorneys and community representatives.

Women currently make up 17.3% of today’s active-duty military and 21.4% of the National Guard and reserves. Though the number of women who volunteer to join the armed forces is increasing, the services and supports available to them are still largely designed for men. These gaps in services follow women into the veteran space with shortfalls in areas such as suicide prevention, health care services, benefits, housing, education and employment, and homeless assistance.

A new effort led by Community Action for Veterans (CAV) is working to change that.

With the help of a grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, CAV launched a collaboration with Lost&Found, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness, to explore the needs of women veterans and evaluate barriers to their wellness. Data collected will help develop a collaborative-based program of providers and veteran supporters to help reduce gaps in services for military-connected women living in the Sioux Falls area.

Learn more.

EcoSun Prairie Farms, Inc. works to promote the ecological, aesthetic, historical and economic benefits of tall grass prairie through education, research, public outreach, and the development of healthy prairie.

The Community Foundation grant supported ongoing work on a major project to restore tall grass prairie on 106 acres inside Good Earth State Park.

Work throughout summer 2023 will encourage continued prairie growth, the addition of showy forbs and Native American gardens, and the development of the trail system linking the prairie to Good Earth State Park.

When it’s complete, the restored prairie at Good Earth will offer unmatched environmental, educational and recreational opportunities for those in Sioux Falls and the region. In addition to benefitting the Big Sioux River and contributing to the Native American components of Good Earth State Park, this increasingly rare native landscape will enrich public offerings, provide local schools and universities with a unique biological demonstration, and will promote tourism — there is no other sizeable and accessible prairies near any metro community across an area where tall grass prairie once flourished.

The grant brings the Community Foundation’s total charitable investment in the Good Earth tall grass prairie project to $55,000, an illustration of the Foundation’s commitment to provide charitable capital for projects designed to enhance our community in meaningful ways.

Learn more about this project.

Emily's Hope was founded in 2019 in the name of a prolific painter whose life was cut short. The organization aims to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic, eliminate the stigma of addiction and offer hope and recovery to people struggling with addiction by removing financial barriers.

The Community Foundation grant supported the new Emily's Hope Prevention Education Curriculum. Developed by teachers, administrators, addiction health professionals, parents and community members in partnership with existing South Dakota health curriculum and standards, the curriculum is designed to teach children the effects of substances on the brain, body and life in order to promote healthy choices.

Lessons will address the scientific, social and health aspects of substance use; misconceptions about commonly used legal and illegal substances; and how the body and brain are affected through drug use.

The curriculum will be implemented in third grade classrooms in the Dell Rapids School District this fall. Future plans are to expand the curriculum to service K-5 students next year.

Learn more.

With a mission to offer practical support, understanding and education to those impacted by mental illness, Empire Mental Health Support serves as an advocate for affordable, accessible and effective treatments and works to dispel myths and misperceptions surrounding these conditions.

The organization serves as an active partner of the Suicide Prevention Taskforce and partners with the Sioux Falls Police Department and NAMI SD to provide training to assist officers when responding to someone with a mental illness or substance use crisis.

The Community Fund grant supported the organization’s capacity-building efforts, including print and online marketing initiatives to build greater awareness.

Forward Sioux Falls works to grow and improve the Sioux Falls region. Created through a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the organization works to outline strategic initiatives to grow jobs, businesses and quality of life. Since 1987, Forward Sioux Falls has raised more than $52 million for initiatives to enhance our region.

The Community Foundation grant supported a new community-centered planning process to help develop the city’s next 10-year strategic plan.

With a mission to help people claim their lives with compassion, resources and support, the Glory House offers residential and outpatient programs to treat substance abuse and other mental health issues. Clients address irresponsible thinking patterns and develop life skills and positive habits that promote accountability and improve family relationships.

The Community Foundation grant supported an effort to expand the organization’s addiction counseling outreach to serve more low income and homeless individuals throughout the community.

Founded in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Headlights Theater makes art more accessible by transforming bleak parking lots into magical landscapes that rival the traditional ways we view and experience live performances.

The Community Foundation grant supported a community engagement initiative called “Movement for Every Body.” The effort included three parking lot performances, partnership with two music festivals, three community gathering opportunities and five separate education programs for various ages, resulting in more dance opportunities for everyone in our community. All of these events took place throughout the summer months.

Helpline Center makes lives better by giving support, offering hope and creating connections. The nonprofit fulfills its mission through three core service areas: 211 Helpline, Suicide and Crisis Support, and Volunteer Connections.

Since 2005, the Helpline Center has been answering the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in South Dakota. On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned to the phone number 988, an effort that will transform the way Americans reach out for mental health help and support.

Caring and professionally trained staff at the Helpline Center will continue their work to serve those experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis by answering the 988 Lifeline for South Dakota 24/7. It's anticipated that 911 and 988 will quickly become the two most recognized and important phone numbers.

The Community Foundation grant supported the Helpline Center’s work to develop a public awareness campaign to make 988 more known and visible. The campaign will highlight how the 988 Lifeline for South Dakota provides support, connections and hope during a mental health or substance use crisis. 988 is also available for those worried about a loved one in crisis.

The mission of The Hurdle Life Coach Foundation is to provide education, motivation, and inspiration to life-long learners of all ages and community members in all stages of their lives.

The Community Foundation matching grant supported the organization’s CHANGE Mentorship Program, an effort to provide coaching and support to community members impacted by the justice system and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). The program’s intensive curriculum helps participants learn more about the hurdles they face, clear paths in transition, and establish security within their families and community. The CHANGE program is peer-supported, minority-led, and trauma-informed to help create positive outcomes for participants, examples of which include: higher graduation rates for youth, less crime and arrest for youth and adults, more sustained employment, and less substance use in both populations.

Journey of Hope envisions a world in which all communities can offer real, tangible hope for individuals and families reintegrating. Founded in September 2020 by Kari and Darin Palmer in memory of their son, Sven Godwin, the organization works to spread hope to others reintegrating, offer support services to individuals and families, and support and partner with local nonprofits that provide mental health, addiction, and reintegration services.

They understand the challenges of helping a loved one with a mental illness find the help they need but also providing hope along the way when leaving places like jail, prison, treatment, and/or experiencing homelessness. Often, there is a feeling of shame and questioning about how they will start anew in their community.

One of the organization’s signature programs is its Journey of Hope drawstring bags, filled with hygiene items, socks and words of inspiration. The bags are given to agencies or churches supporting individuals reintegrating from behavioral health hospitals, incarceration, or experiencing homelessness.

The Community Foundation grant supported a project called Finding Hope Through the Arts, consisting of short-term multidisciplinary art workshops to spark interactions, experiential learning, and the production of stories, poems, paintings, and other artistic work for youth in detention and adults in reentry.

Working toward its mission to build community through music, Levitt at the Falls provides 50 free live concerts at the Levitt shell featuring world class artists that represent the wide diversity of our community. Additional programming includes outreach programs for youth groups, healthcare facilities, and cultural groups, as well as online and television access through South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

The Community Foundation grant supported an initiative called AnceSTARS, a weeklong artist-in-residency program for local youth with Grammy-nominated multi-media content creator, author, musician, and educator Pierce Freelon. The residency included a variety of outreach opportunities in collaboration with our community's Juneteenth Celebration.

Since 2010, Lost&Found has been working to help prevent suicide among teens and young adults across South Dakota by gathering data, assembling information and training volunteers. Over the last decade, more than 750 students across the state have partnered with Lost&Found, either through its advocacy training and peer mentorship programs or as a member of a campus chapter. The organization’s Campus Resilience Index, an effort to assess the suicide prevention capacity of college and technical school campuses and their communities, comes at an important time. In 2021, more South Dakotans died by suicide than ever before in recorded history.

  • A Community Fund grant provided operational support to help the organization meet surging demands for services.
  • A Community Foundation grant supported ReachU, a mobile app designed to increase the impact of peer-to-peer mental health and suicide prevention programs on college campuses across state. ReachU will integrate seamlessly with existing resilience building programs to increase the reach of peer support programs, build data-gathering capacity for mental health-related work, and give students access to critical resources both on-campus and within their communities. The app will be developed in Sioux Falls with input from student leaders across the state who represent diverse perspectives.

Learn more about our work with Lost&Found.

With a mission to care for, support and strengthen individuals, families and communities, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota serves people of all ages, races, faiths and income levels through service hubs in Sioux Falls, Watertown, Aberdeen and Rapid City.

In September 2022, the governing boards of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) and the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls (MCC) approved the integration of MCC programs into LSS operations to further advance efforts to create a welcoming community for refugee, immigrant and Native populations.

The Community Foundation grant provided support for the MCC integration and future outreach efforts to diverse groups to gauge needs, learn opinions and collect feedback.

Dedicated to providing new hope for a better life, McCrossan Boys Ranch serves boys between the ages of 12 to 20 who have experienced conflict in their lives. Through values, goals, education and skills, McCrossan's prepares boys to live a balanced life outside the Ranch. Boys receive one-on-one counseling as well as specialized educational services so they can heal and grow intellectually. Through ranch activities such as horsemanship, 4-H, Boy Scouts and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, each boy is given the opportunity to learn and expand their horizons.

The Community Foundation grant supported the “Spur Success” campaign, designed to expand educational opportunities through additional classroom space, renovations to the science lab/CTE Hub, art room, special education room, staff lounge/office area, multi-purpose room and conference room, as well as expansions of the on-campus library and existing social studies, language arts and math classrooms.

With a mission to advocate for education and life skills through recreation, Never Give Up Coaching & Life Skills Group 81 uses basketball to help build and foster connections for elementary school students regardless of their athletic ability. In addition to learning the fundamentals of the game, participants develop confidence, learn how to work with others, and understand how to problem-solve — skills that help them on the court, in the classroom and in their community.

The Community Foundation grant provided support for the organization as it expands into the city’s community learning centers this fall. Future goals include forming teams with players from each community learning center across Sioux Falls.

With a mission to bring art to the people, SculptureWalk Sioux Falls works with a blind jury of local dignitaries and art enthusiasts to curate annual exhibits of public sculptures.

Works are graciously loaned by the artists, are installed each spring throughout downtown, and are continuously displayed all year.

The Community Foundation grant helped support the 2023 SculptureWalk through the sponsorship of "Chillin," a sculpture by artist Jeffrey Satter.

SHIFT Garage was established in 2011 in Rapid City to provide reliable transportation to those living in poverty, a mission accomplished through the repair of existing vehicles and by placing donated vehicles with families and individuals in need.

Repairs are performed by volunteers and clients are provided car maintenance training, equipping them with the skills and experience to handle future car issues, should they arise.

The Community Foundation grant supported a new effort from SHIFT Garage to offer vehicles of greater value at reasonable loan rates to eligible applicants who are living in poverty.

Learn more about our work with SHIFT Garage.

Established in 2010, the Business Resource Network (BRN) provides area businesses with education, awareness and resources to promote the successful employment of people with disabilities.

The Community Foundation grant supported a rebranding project to help BRN develop a more descriptive name and build greater community awareness. Through rebranding, BRN aspires to become the go-to resource for those who wish to hire people with disabilities. Through increased awareness and more partnerships, the organization aims to decrease the unemployment rate of people with disabilities and help local businesses tap into this pool of qualified workers to fill their open positions.

The Sioux Falls Hope Coalition is on a mission to ensure every child in the Sioux Falls area has the opportunity to prepare for kindergarten by attending a quality preschool. Since its founding in 2017, the organization has provided free preschool to hundreds of children from limited-income households by partnering with more than 12 high quality preschools throughout the city.

The Community Foundation grant supported a new community awareness campaign designed to inform more families about Sioux Falls Hope Coalition and the opportunity for free preschool. Advertising efforts, a user-friendly URL and website enhancements will aim to increase enrollment across each the community.

Learn more about our work with Hope Coalition.

Led by Sioux Falls Thrive, the Childcare Collaborative is a consortium of nonprofits, civic leaders and childcare providers, including nonprofit providers like the Sioux Empire Boys & Girls Club, EmBe and Compassion Childcare, working to develop ideas and strategies to address the issue of affordable childcare in Sioux Falls.

The work builds off a recent report by the Augustana Research Institute which illustrates the extent of the childcare crisis in South Dakota:

  • In South Dakota, more than 70 percent of families report both parents in the workforce.
  • In Sioux Falls, the median annual wage is $39,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020).
  • Some numbers put childcare expenses at 7-10% of a family’s income, or about $10,000 per child per year.

According to the study, the current situation means “the typical worker in Sioux Falls would need to spend about one-fourth of their earnings for childcare fees.”

The Community Foundation grant, awarded to the Sioux Falls Thrive, provided support for a six-month contract employee to research how other communities address the workforce-childcare issue, survey businesses and providers, and work with members of the Collaborative to develop actionable steps to help improve the situation.

Founded in 1886, the Sioux Falls Family YMCA has served thousands of families and positively impacted countless lives in the community while faithfully providing programs that meet our mission to build healthy spirits, minds, and bodies. Since 1919, the YMCA’s downtown facility has anchored the neighborhood, serving as a safe haven for youth and the surrounding community.

The Community Foundation grant provided support for an effort called Community Kitchen, which will cook and transport nutritious snacks to each of the 22 Community Learning Centers on a weekly basis. The Community Learning Centers will provide mentorship, academic resources and nutritious snacks to an estimated 1,800 children every day during the school year beginning in the fall of 2023, with a long-term goal of eliminating food insecurity outside of school hours by sending meals home with kids.

The Community Foundation grant provided support for an aspiring nonprofit aimed at serving the needs of the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired, as well as their family, friends, and advocates.

As an extension of Communication Services for the Deaf, Inc., South Dakota Deaf Resource & Outreach Programs will aim to engage in outreach that will connect community members, share resources and remove barriers.

The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care’s mission is to improve quality of life for South Dakotans by collaborating with healthcare professionals and community stakeholders to achieve excellence in health care.

The Community Foundation grant supported training to expand the Peer Support Specialist (PSS) network in Sioux Falls. The effort, developed in collaboration with SDFMC and Minnehaha County Drug Court, aims to reduce harm from mental health and substance use disorders, reduce recidivism, promote successful recovery, provide employment opportunities, and support those in recovery.

A Peer Support Specialist has walked the path of recovery and can serve as a guide to encourage others struggling with substance use disorder to take one step at a time. These unique skills and lived experiences can support those on the journey to recovery; they can also supplement and reinforce strategies and positive behaviors for maintaining sobriety provided by a client’s mental health and/or addiction counselor. Depending on the needs of the client, a PSS may engage in a variety of activities including goal setting, accountability, coaching, and community connection.

Working directly with the Minnehaha County Drug Court, SDFMC will provide Peer Support Specialist training for 10 individuals (eight drug court participants with a level four or level five status and two drug court staff members).

Learn more.

South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault provides training and technical assistance to member agencies on domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. In collaboration with other advocates and service providers, the organization’s mission is to promote victims' rights for a safer South Dakota.

The Community Foundation grant provided support for the organization’s Domestic Violence Institute. The conference offered three tracks to attendees: Survivor Informed Approach to Navigating the Long-Term Impact of Domestic Violence; Abusive Partner Intervention Programs; and Offering Trauma Informed and Culturally Relevant Victim Services to Multi-Lingual Victims/Survivors.

Each track offered training and information to students and professionals who share the goal of eliminating domestic violence in our communities. Multi-lingual services were also provided at the conference.

Founded in 2017, South Dakota News Watch is an independent, nonprofit organization reporting untold stories that help South Dakotans be informed and engaged citizens. South Dakota News Watch produces investigative and public service journalism that sheds light on the issues, concerns and welfare of South Dakotans. With a goal to inform, enlighten and illuminate, South Dakota News Watch distributes all of its content for free directly to the public through its website and other digital platforms. Media organizations also can publish the material through their print, broadcast and digital channels.

The Community Foundation grant provided capacity-building support as the organization expands its news-gathering efforts and advances its work to share multimedia stories across all traditional and digital platforms.

This grant brings the Community Foundation’s total charitable investment in South Dakota News Watch to $60,000, an illustration of Foundation’s commitment to provide charitable capital for aspiring nonprofits who exhibit high potential to drive positive change and/or create meaningful social impact.

Learn more about our work with South Dakota News Watch.

The South Dakota Nonprofit Network was established with a core mission of offering long-term education, advocacy, and industry connections to create relevant and resilient nonprofit organizations across South Dakota.

South Dakota's nonprofits employ nearly 15 percent of all workers in the state, however, according to recent research, many nonprofit organizations have unmet needs in areas such as capacity building, facilitation, technical assistance and connection with other organizations.

The Community Foundation grant provided support as the South Dakota Nonprofit Network works to help area nonprofits build greater resiliency and relevancy.

With a mission to inspire the best in all of us through music, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO) aspires to be South Dakota's artistic leader and our nation's model for how an orchestra serves its communities.

Founded in 1922, SDSO is a fully professional 65-member orchestra including nine full-time musicians who make up the Dakota String Quartet and the Dakota Wind Quintet. These two ensembles offer more than 100 performances each year in schools, hospitals, senior living communities, behavioral health, and community centers throughout the region. To reach as many people as possible, orchestra concerts are livestreamed and available free of charge through a partnership with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

During the pandemic and thereafter, the SDSO increased its robust digital library to include virtual recitals, music education videos, and podcasts. This content is available free of charge online and via social media channels.

The Community Foundation grant provided support to help the SDSO pursue an advanced network server, a project that will guarantee secure storage and make even more digital content available to everyone.

South Dakota Voices for Peace (SDVFP) focuses on four programming areas: free immigration legal services, multilingual outreach and civic engagement, education and training, and advocacy and rapid response.

The Community Foundation grant supported ongoing efforts coordinated by SDVFP and led by Connect Sioux Falls to advance digital equity across the city.

Specifically, the grants will support awareness efforts and training to help low income households enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a federal program that provides eligible households a discount of up to $30 a month toward Internet services and a one-time $100 voucher to use toward the purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.

Learn more.

The Advocates for Human Rights works toward its mission to implement international rights standards by investigating and exposing human rights violations, representing immigrants and refugees who are victims of human rights abuses, training and assisting groups that protect human rights, and using advocacy, research, and education to engage the public, policy makers, and children in human rights work.

The Community Foundation grant provided support to help the organization expand legal service access for asylum seekers and human trafficking survivors.

The Advocates, in partnership with the Naomi Project, will hold a pro se clinic for asylum seekers representing themselves in immigration. The Advocates and its volunteers will provide immediate technical support and assistance in filing their claims. The Naomi Project staff will provide training for clinic participants on the signs of labor trafficking and explain the resources they offer to trafficking survivors in the community. Advocates staff will provide reciprocal training with Naomi Project staff on immigration considerations and services for trafficking survivors so that survivors can connect with legal services and local community support.

The Gathering Well supports, educates and inspires adoptive and foster families by offering resources and relevant opportunities for connection. Through its monthly meetings, the organization aims to educate and create community among the courageous families and professionals who care for children from hard places.

The Community Foundation grant will support technology upgrades to support the monthly meeting registration process, database management, volunteer recruitment and planning and mass communications.

The Naomi Project serves survivors of labor trafficking within a two-hour radius of Sioux Falls through advocacy, education, legal support and leadership development.

The Community Foundation grant supported new efforts by the organization to reach and support survivors of labor trafficking through training sessions, community-building events, deeper collaborations Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Wage and Hour Division to hold human traffickers accountable, and help with basic needs such as providing help with rent and groceries, connecting survivors with medical and mental health care and finding lawyers who will represent these people.

Founded in 2014, the Toy Lending Library creates opportunities for children ages 0-5 to enhance their learning development through play. Families can borrow toy boxes from one of the organization’s 15 locations free of charge. After taking the box home and playing with the toys, families can return it and borrow more. In 2022, an average of 488 toy boxes were checked out or renewed each month.

The Community Foundation grant provided support as the Toy Lending Library continues to grow, ensuring its sustainability through the addition of a paid executive director position.

Learn more.

With a mission to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families, the Center for Disabilities partners with state-wide healthcare, education, human service, employment and community-based organizations to advance education, clinical services, interdisciplinary training, technical assistance, research, information dissemination and policies.

The Community Foundation grant supported a collaborative art project called “My Story, Our City,” an initiative organized by the Center for Disabilities and Health Connect, a consumer health and safety information clearinghouse.

The effort aims tell the story of Sioux Falls through a public art project and while promoting dialogue among all who call the city home. Individuals, families and organizations can paint and contribute a tile which will connect into a large mosaic. Individual pieces will illustrate personal stories and as the tiles connect, the mosaic will reflect the stories that together represent of the makeup of Our City. All submitted tiles will be photographed and posted online, and the final mosaic will be displayed for all to see.