FY 20-21 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 2020-21 Community Fund Grants

Learn about the Community Grants awarded during the 2020-21 Fiscal Year:

In addition to being a K-8 school, ACE Academy also works to engage previously disengaged communities and provide family services to marginalized and difficult-to reach-communities. In doing so, ACE Academy is addressing community issues such as workforce development, juvenile delinquency, low literacy rates, generational poverty and mental health challenges found in marginalized communities.

Since January 2021, ACE Academy has delivered 352 clinical hours to community members who previously were receiving no mental health services and, in partnership with a student’s family, transitioned a single mother and two children out of homelessness and into permanent housing.

The Foundation’s grant will support the school’s Equitable Admissions and Case Management Process, a program that provides assistance for low-income families to participate in ACE Academy's educational services, nutrition program, and before-and-after school care. The program also offers case management, mental health services, parenting groups, and peer support.

A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping exceptional professional musicians and artists collaborate around educational, diverse and creative musical endeavors, the mission of Sioux Falls Chamber Music Collective (SFCMC) is to make music and art more accessible at all corners of the community. The organization works to bridge art forms for more creative possibilities and break the barrier between performers and audiences.

SFCMC reaches people throughout the community in various ways, including:

Its project content, which often includes music/art from other cultures/ cultural influences or artistic explorations by artists from a variety of backgrounds.

Collaborations with both talented students/youth, as well as professional artists and organizations.

Performances at a variety of venues throughout the community, such as parks, backyards, schools, senior homes, after-school programs, coffee shops, bookstores and more.

Its creative/immersive projects that offer opportunities for audience members to engage with performers directly through unique performance-audience interactions.

The Foundation’s grant will support the Chamber Music Collective’s summer 2021 projects, designed to uplift youth and celebrate African American and Asian American artists through music, art, and creativity, including a concert in June at Fawick Park and a Summer Strings Camp for violin and viola students from Title 1 schools.

Downtown Hartford Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing downtown Hartford through beautification efforts, community events, and economic development initiatives. Its mission is to develop an attractive, economically stable downtown community by promoting existing business growth, attracting new opportunities, and creating a destination for customers and visitors.

The Foundation’s grant will support the development of a master plan for Downtown Hartford, Inc., an effort that will serve as the visual roadmap to help the organization achieve its mission. The Downtown Master Plan Project brings together Downtown Hartford Inc., the City of Hartford, the Hartford Area Development Foundation, Envision 2025, and other local organizations in collaboration over a renewed vision for the community’s downtown.

This grant supports a multi-phased effort to establish a sustainable tall grass prairie on about 106 acres of retired farmland near the southwestern edge of Good Earth State Park. Subsequent phases of the project envision hiking/walking trails, informational signage, educational initiatives and more.

Learn more about this grant.

A nonprofit dedicated to creating and sustaining community relationships, Establishing Sustainable Connections (ESC) organizes and facilitates events and collaborative efforts to help celebrate diversity, advance inclusion, further social justice, develop cross-cultural competencies and establish platforms for empowerment. For the last six years, ESC has played a central role in organizing local celebrations of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, a holiday commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S.

The Foundation’s grant supported the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration, held on Saturday, June 19, at Terrace Park West. The event included food trucks, kids’ activities, fashion shows and live music, including a feature performance by New Orleans jazz musician Gary Brown.

Founded in 2018, Faith Through Frames offers free framed portraits to families and neighbors in need, as well as photo ID cards, developed in collaboration with Feeding South Dakota, to help individuals access mobile food pantry distributions. In order to reach those most in need, Faith Through Frames partners with Church on the Street and Peace Lutheran Church’s Necessities for Neighbors program. To date, Faith Through Frames has captured and shared more than 1,000 portraits.

Currently, photos are taken in a makeshift studio at Peace Lutheran Church, or outdoors when the weather is cooperative. The Community Foundation grant will provide support to Faith Through Frames as the organization expands to a physical facility in order to offer a portrait studio.

Learn more about Faith Through Frames.

The Glory House provides secure and drug-free housing for individuals who are referred by the justice system for mental health counseling, employment services, case management and recovery from addiction.

The Foundation grant will support training for staff members on the use of the organization’s new Offender Screening Tool (OST), an assessment of a justice-involved individual's risk of re-offense, and their criminogenic needs. The OST helps professionals to have high-quality interactions with their clients for the purpose of lowering recidivism rates. Properly assessing an individual allows the counselor to create a plan that addresses specific needs, and to develop strategies that will assist clients to become productive, law-abiding citizens.

The mission of the Hazard Film Project is to create and advocate for diversity and inclusion in cinema. As a nonprofit arts organization, the Hazard Film Project believes an effective way to empathize and make progress on community issues is to integrate, educate and make meaningful art together.

The Community Foundation grant supported a free professional workshop hosted by David Buchanan and Doug Lee, an initiative designed to create connections and synergies between white filmmakers and filmmakers of color. The grant will also support the production of a film based in South Dakota employing a diverse cast and crew. The film will seek to explore and provide authentic positive representations of black individuals in the American Midwest to ensure that our community understands the social importance of equity and inclusion in all facets of life. The goal of the film is to bridge ethnic gaps and pave the way for positive social change by telling stories of people of color and lifting up those individuals in our community.

The mission of the Hurdle Life Foundation (HLF) is to provide education, motivation and inspiration to life-long learners of all ages and community members in all stages of their lives. The organization works to help individuals and families transition from instability to security to contributing positively in their community and families by providing trauma-informed programs.

The Community Foundation grant will support an HLF mentorship program called CHANGE: Challenging Historically Accepted Notions for Greater Expectations, an effort that seeks to address the substantial need in Sioux Falls for "mentorship in the margins."

Many youth in our community come from families impacted by incarceration. As a result, and without effective role models and mentors, these youth face hurdles in the development of life skills, jobs skills and career identity/exploration. Similar hurdles exist among vulnerable adults in transition from incarceration and homelessness.

The CHANGE program is designed to fill the gaps for these populations in the Sioux Falls area by offering an intensive curriculum designed help participants learn more about the hurdles they face, clear paths in transition, and establish security within their families and community. Goals for participants include higher high school graduation rates for youth, decreased crime and arrests among youth and adults, sustained employment, decreased substance use in both populations, family reunification, community service engagement, and more.

A fully accessible outdoor amphitheater with an open green space on the banks of the Big Sioux River, Levitt at the Falls served more than 68,000 members of our community through 30 free outdoor concerts in its 2019 inaugural season.

In 2020, the pandemic forced Levitt at the Falls to cancel its live season of free concerts however, the organization pivoted its efforts to offer online programming and free, smaller-scale neighborhood concerts for those most impacted by the pandemic.

In 2021, Levitt will return with 40 free outdoor concerts and will build upon its online and neighborhood programming.

The Community Foundation grant will support a new collaboration between Levitt at the Falls and South Dakota Public Broadcasting through which SDPB will co-produce the “Levitt In Your Living Room” digital series. This series will stream year-round and will feature intimate interviews with artists who are a part of the free live concert series, each of whose story and artistry represents a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, abilities, genders, sexual preferences, ages, and musical genres. This intentional curation of artists celebrates equity, diversity and inclusion essential to Levitt’s mission to build community through music.

Providing skill development seminars and awareness programming, Lost&Found facilitates comprehensive suicide prevention programs and strategies for young adults and seeks to raise awareness of critical mental health issues facing campus communities.

The Community Foundation grant will provide support for the development of a Campus Mental Health Score and Policy initiative to help post-secondary institutions throughout South Dakota meet mental health needs and curb suicide risk. The effort brings clarity to the status of a campus mental health systems and service capacity, assesses the strengths of a campus mental health system and identifies areas and actions for continuous improvement, and provides a tool for advising campus leadership when making decisions on mental health policies and services to best serve students.

With a mission to provide new hope for a better life, McCrossan Boys Ranch is a group care facility for at-risk boys ages 9-20 in Sioux Falls. The Ranch offers a variety of services including daily group sessions, individual therapy, chemical dependency services, psychiatric care, restorative justice, livestock programming/equine therapy, moral development and recreational offerings, as well as an on-campus year-round accredited school capable of issuing McCrossan Boys Ranch High School diplomas. In addition to its residential care services, the Ranch also offers the following services: Independent Living Preparation Program, Short Term Assessment Services, Respite Care, Community Reintegration and Crisis Stabilization.

The Foundation grant will provide assistance to help the organization adapt to and implement new safety procedures and equipment related to the pandemic.

After COVID-19 made it more difficult for some Sioux Falls Title 1 schools to provide healthy snacks for their students, the Community Foundation provided a grant to help.

Read more about this effort.

Since 1927, Sioux Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has been providing programs for young people that builds character, trains in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops physical fitness by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure.

The Sioux Council BSA, with the support of dedicated volunteers, operates two Juvenile Diversion programs as an alternative to formal court proceedings. TeenCourt (TC) is offered to juveniles high school aged. The Community Accountability Board (CAB), works with older elementary/middle school through high school age.

The goal is to reduce recidivism through a "sentence" that includes community service, peer review, jury terms, and drug/alcohol evaluations as applicable. Previously charged youth and juvenile volunteers serve as members of the jury and attorneys; in addition to local licensed attorneys and judges who serve as volunteers. TC juveniles are allowed 100 days after their TC hearing to complete their "terms." If they do so successfully, the charge will be removed from their record permanently.

The Foundation grant will support a new effort through the Sioux Council BSA Juvenile Diversion’s division called Teen Court & Community Accountability Board (CAB).

CAB is similar to existing initiatives, except there is no "jury." Instead, a board of local mental health providers, law enforcement, chemical dependency professionals, and local attorneys meet together with the juvenile/parent to develop a sentence that is appropriate for the charge and provides guidance. After 100 days, if successful, the charge will be removed from their record.

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, providing them with skills and experience to handle future car issues, should they arise.

The Foundation’s grant will support SHIFT Garage as it establishes a location in Sioux Falls. Read more.

The mission of the Sioux Empire Community Theatre (SECT) is to provide quality, affordable, volunteer-driven community theatre that’s accessible to all residents of greater Sioux Falls.

The Foundation’s grant will support SECT as it strives to become the hub for the city’s first-ever Arts District, including an effort to re-imagine The Orpheum Theatre, providing more space for artists to collaborate.

The mission of the Sioux Falls Arts Council is to enrich Sioux Falls culture, economy and opportunity by building a stronger and more vibrant arts community. The Council works toward its mission by coordinating among the arts and culture community and cultivating its collective voice, representing the arts and culture sector among civic, business and nonprofit organizations, connecting people to arts experiences, and providing resources to help creatives make performing, visual, literary and musical art.

The Community Foundation grant will provide support for the Arts Council to offer a communication and marketing internship to a qualified student. This position will help promote upcoming arts activities and will help with fundraising efforts.

The mission of the Hope Coalition is to close the opportunity gap in Sioux Falls by helping children of low-income families attend preschool, ensuring they arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. Hope Coalition provides scholarships for students to attend one of 10 participating preschool programs throughout the city.

The value the Hope Coalition provides to our community spans across generations and impacts all sectors of society. Studies have shown preschool is a major influence throughout a child’s life. In school, it leads to better grades, higher reading aptitude, and better graduation rates. After school, it leads to meaningful economic and societal benefits.

As the Hope Coalition looks to the future, the Community Foundation grant will provide support to the organization as it embarks on a strategic planning process to help develop solutions for sustainable success and growth.

Learn more about our work with Hope Coalition.

Founded in 2020, Sioux Falls Stage is a free publication highlighting locally produced theatre, comedy, dance and instrumental and choral music. Each issue features interviews with performing artists, up-and-coming companies and upcoming local events in the space.

The publication’s goals are to serve the Sioux Falls community through coverage of locally produced, locally performed and locally curated performing and visual arts, to offer opportunities for local artists to be seen and discovered by new audiences, to help grow the audiences of companies and organizations who have otherwise been hidden gems in our live entertainment spaces, to provide affordable opportunities for arts organizations to additionally market their brands and events, and to bolster interest and participation in the arts throughout the city.

The Community Foundation grant is awarded to the Sioux Falls Arts Council, the fiscal sponsor for Sioux Falls Stage, and will support the quarterly publication of Sioux Falls Stage and its goal to showcase the efforts of our community’s most creative minds in the performing-arts space.

Learn more.

With a mission to develop and sustain the highest quality, most professional, financially strong, artist friendly, year-round outdoor sculpture program in the United States, SculptureWalk adds artistic pizzazz to historic downtown and helps grow the economy by helping make Sioux Falls a more attractive tourist destination point, and a better place to live, work and play.

The Foundation grant will support Board development and strategic planning for the current SculptureWalk Board of Directors in 2020, including short and long terms goals, and the development of a strategic plan.

With a mission to provide total quality medical care for Native American people and the economically disadvantaged residing in urban areas of South Dakota, South Dakota Urban Indian Health provides holistic quality care for the entire family, with the understanding that physical and mental healthcare are essential for a healthy society.

The Foundation grant will support a public service video announcement titled “Being a good relative: How the pandemic has impacted indigenous people of South Dakota and the resiliency moving forward.” This film will give Native American youth the chance to share their voice and build skills around leadership and organizing.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Southeast Tech’s mission is to educate individuals for dynamic and rewarding careers that promote lifetime success and meet the workforce needs of our region. Today, the College offers more than 50 major fields of study as well as a wide variety of Adult and Continuing Education (credit and noncredit) classes, workshops, and seminars.

The Community Foundation grant will support the second phase of a dynamic initiative called Southeast First, an effort to engage, matriculate, retain and graduate first-generation and underrepresented student populations.

First-generation students are uniquely vulnerable to not starting or completing a postsecondary degree or credential, as many lack the guidance of an immediate family member who has gone through postsecondary education. This comprehensive initiative breaks down those barriers and provides a structured support system to move students to eventual graduation.

The program’s goals are to improve student success, adjustment, persistence, retention, graduation and facilitate relationships with alumni and industry partners. The program will feature a strong support platform for students as they learn to navigate college and transition to work.

The initial phase of the program began in 2018, was based in local high schools and was held in collaboration with Avera Health, First PREMIER Bank and the City of Sioux Falls. The second phase will be campus-based and will begin in fall 2021.

Read more about our collaboration with Southeast Tech.

The mission of the Compass Center is to help navigate the journey to healing for all affected by sexual, relational, and family trauma. The organization provides crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy to children, adolescents and adults (both male and female) who are survivors of domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and human trafficking/sexual exploitation.

The Community Foundation grant will support a pilot initiative called Little Navigators Empowerment Program, a collaborative developed by the Compass Center, EmBe and The SD Parent Connection.

Nationally, 1 in 15 children are exposed to violence in their home. 1 in 4 homes houses an abusive relationship. The goal of this pilot program is to provide a continued and sustainable program for 12 children enrolled in EmBe’s childcare center who need specialized intervention to address trauma-related behavioral challenges in order to successfully remain in childcare and ultimately experience greater success in school, at home and in life. Therapists and counselors from the Compass Center will work one-on-one with an EmBe teacher in a specialized classroom each day and each participating child will receive 45 minutes of individual play therapy each week in addition to the group activities.

The SD Parent Connection will also coordinate Parent Classes for parents whose children are enrolled in the pilot program. These classes will provide the parents with strategies and tools to assist them in supporting their child who is experiencing difficult behaviors. If the pilot project is successful, it can be expanded across Sioux Falls and duplicated in other communities. The majority of the Community Foundation’s grant will support scholarships for participating students.

Dedicated to 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 in human rights work, the Advocates for Human Rights is the primary provider of free legal services for asylum seekers in the Upper Midwest. The organization has more than 350 open asylum or asylum related cases.

The Foundation’s grant will support a new initiative aimed at expanding access to legal supports for immigrants and building capacity of local attorneys and social service providers to manage complex cases and respond to heightened needs of asylum seekers and unaccompanied immigrant children.

A non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities and empowering minority youth, Translators of Culture offers opportunities for youth to practice civic duties, showcase their cultures, and learn leadership skills. Education, leadership, advocacy, mentoring and community outreach are pillars of the organization.

A featured element of its programming is a cinema production effort through which participants learn the healing power of stories, art, and music by producing films that feature diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Foundation’s grant will support a collaborative short film project that aims to bridge the gap between marginalized students of Sioux Falls and the larger community while connecting minority youth with historic downtown.