Making Ideas Come to Life

Inspired to do more, South Dakota Trust Company came to us with an idea to help their clients from around the world give back to the state we all call home. We helped make the idea come to life. And today, our local nonprofits, and those they serve, are benefitting.

South Dakota Trust Company leadership.
Pierce McDowell (left) and Matt Tobin stand outside the South Dakota Trust Company office in downtown Sioux Falls. (Photo by Emily Spartz Weerheim.)

Fueled by a desire to help build a better tomorrow, the leadership team at South Dakota Trust Company first began encouraging their clients to give back to the state’s nonprofit industry shortly after the firm’s founding in 2002.

The idea was a noble one, but it also proved challenging, according to Pierce McDowell, South Dakota Trust Company co-founder and president.

Challenging because, McDowell said, although clients from outside South Dakota wanted to support the state’s nonprofit organizations, they didn’t always know where to give, or who to give to.

So eventually Matt Tobin, the firm’s managing director and chief operating officer, developed an idea to make it easier.

The firm established the South Dakota Trust Company Foundation, an endowment fund held at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

“We encourage all of our clients to give back to South Dakota,” Tobin said. “So now, we can say, ‘you can either give directly to an organization or a cause. Or, as an alternative, if you don’t know where to give, you can give to our foundation which supports nonprofits throughout the state.’”

Today, the firm holds both a donor advised endowment fund and a donor advised charitable fund at the Community Foundation.

“We had the idea that we wanted to build something that would last a long time and so we established the endowment,” Tobin said. “We also wanted to be active right away, so that’s why we created the charitable fund.”

Tobin said establishing the foundation has been a great way to help clients give back to the state.

McDowell agreed. “These families that we’ve been fortunate enough to serve – we want them to consider themselves citizens of our state. Family and roots are important to us. Our business is about families and life and service, so doing this type of thing is important,” he said.

“It’s important work that’s making a difference,” McDowell and Tobin said, sharing that the South Dakota Trust Company Foundation’s endowment recently reached $1 million.

A Good Partner

Tobin said working with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has been a positive experience.

“I think they’ve been really good for us – handling the administrative side and helping us facilitate grants,” he said.

Tobin also said he values the insights and analysis offered by the Foundation’s Community Investment division – a team dedicated to working with local nonprofits and causes to understand community needs, explore possibilities and help develop solutions.

“There are times I’ve called on the Foundation and said ‘Hey, tell me about this nonprofit,’” Tobin said. “In addition to being a good sounding board for us, they’ve also helped us develop some discipline around the practices of raising the money, accounting for it, making grants and reporting.”

Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation President Andy Patterson said collaborating with South Dakota Trust Company is a “win-win.”

“Here, we harness the power of philanthropy to help improve the quality of life for members of our community,” Patterson said. “Partnering with South Dakota Trust Company on its foundation is another way to help support the nonprofits in our area who are doing important and meaningful work for our neighbors. We’re grateful to Pierce and Matt for spearheading the idea, and we’re grateful to their clients for their investment in our community.”