BERESFORD AREA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2020 GRANTS—CELBRATING 20 YEARS

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Article courtesy of Michael J. McGill of the Beresford Area Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Beresford Area Foundation met on May 15, 2020 to consider and make decisions regarding grants to be awarded pursuant to the 2020 grant cycle.  The Board of Directors also celebrated 20 years as a Community Savings Account for the Beresford area in October, 2019.  The Foundation was originally the result of a brainstorming session by Beresford Public School Board Members Ron Larsen, June Larson, Royal Lankhorst, and local Attorney Mike McGill.  After the initial session the group made a request of the Beresford Community Education Director Sheridan Swee to establish a meeting with the outreach director for the South Dakota Community Foundation, Bernie Christenson, and to invite local interested parties and leaders to a planning session that was eventually held in Beresford Community Education’s office.  After that initial meeting and strategy session, the local Beresford Area Foundation was created as a local fundraising organization under the umbrella of the South Dakota Community Foundation. 

            Pursuant to the organizational structure, gifts made to the Beresford Community Foundation are invested with the South Dakota Community Foundation which acts as the professional investment advisor and 501(c)(3) compliance mechanism entity for the local organization.  The Board of Directors commenced fund raising in October, 1999.  Farmers State Bank (now Wells Fargo), First Federal Savings and Loan (now First Dakota National Bank), and First Savings Bank each made contributions of $10,000.00 to establish the fund.  Another instrumental gift to the Foundation was made by First Dakota National Bank in the amount of $300,000.00 when they purchased First Federal Savings and Loan of Beresford.

            The South Dakota Community Foundation made a challenge grant to the local organization that in the event the local organization could raise $125,000.00 within five (5) years, the South Dakota Community Foundation would gift $25,000.00 to the Beresford Area Foundation.  The local Foundation Board achieved their objective within three (3) years. 

            As of May 11, 2020 the net asset value of the Beresford Area Foundation was $849,825.93.  This amount is invested with the South Dakota Community Foundation.  The local Foundation Board is entitled to receive 4.5% of the net asset value held in the account with the South Dakota Community Foundation on an annual basis to fund local grant applications.  Over the last twenty (20) years the local Foundation Board has awarded grants totaling $302,551.49 dating back to the grant cycle in 2020 to benefit the local community.  Grant applications are focused in support for programs instrumental in early childhood education, youth activities, collateral support to the Beresford Public School system, support of the Arts, and concerns regarding elders. 

            Anyone wishing to leave a legacy and benefit the general community should consider a gift to the Beresford Area Foundation.  Gifts of any amount are greatly welcomed and can be sent to Beresford Area Foundation, P.O. Box 84, Beresford, South Dakota 57004.

            In the most recent grant cycle announced on February 16, 2020, there were twelve (12) different applications submitted to the Board.  The Board considered all of the applications and made an award in connection with ten (10) separate grants. 

            A primary focus this year was doing something locally in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.  In that regard the Beresford Area Foundation awarded a grant to Beresford Faith in Action in the amount of $5,000.00 which was matched by a Covid-19 response challenge grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation in the amount of $3,000.00 for a total gift of $8,000.00.  This gift was used to support the local Food Pantry and to provide vouchers for perishables to families in need.  Beresford Faith in Action is a 501(c)(3) organization created by the Beresford Ministerial Association.  Faith in Action has seen an increased need in the local community as a result of the Covid-10 pandemic. 

            The Board of Directors made a second Covid-19-related grant in the amount of $2,000.00 to Beresford Community Cupboard, a 501(c)(3) organization that also addresses food insecurity and other needs for families in need.  The South Dakota Community Foundation matched this gift with an additional $2,000.00 for a total gift of $4,000.00.  One of the stipulations of the gift is that $1,000.00 of the grant be utilized to purchase masks on the secondary condition that they be manufactured on a local basis and made available to families and children in need.

            A third Covid-19-related grant was made to Beresford Faith in Action in the amount of $3,000.00 to be matched by the South Dakota Community Foundation in the amount of $3,000.00 for a total gift of $6,000.00.  A condition of this gift is also that $1,000.00 be utilized on a local basis to manufacture masks to be distributed to families and children as children return to school in late August, 2020.

            The Foundation made the additional grants at its meeting on May 15, 2020:

Beresford Public Library in the amount of $4,000.00 to support after school tutoring.

$1,000.00 to the Beresford Senior Event Center to remodel the southeast game room.

Beresford PRCE in the amount of $500.00 to support Open Gym when possible and after the Covid-10 pandemic is more manageable.

Beresford Public High School in the amount of $5,000.00 for a Kiosk to be installed in the lobby of the south campus to inform the public regarding school activities, Hall of Fame honorees, and other matters of public interest relating to education in the Beresford community. 

To Beresford PRCE for $7,500.00 for improvements of the Grace Nelson Memorial baseball facility

To the Beresford Public School System in the amount of $15,000.00 for the English Language Lerner (ELL) project.  The Beresford School District has identified 33 English Language Lerner students for the 2019-2020 school year which makes up about 5% of our student population.  The school district believes the English Language Lerner students’ numbers will grow as more families move to our community for employment opportunities.  The local school district is working with the University of South Dakota to develop a program that would address the needs of students where English is not their primary language.  The University of South Dakota School of Education has put together a proposal to provide English Language Lerner professional development and coursework for the teaching staff of Beresford Public School.  The local school district would partner with the University of South Dakota to develop a professional development program in coursework to address this developing need in the local community.  The Beresford Area Foundation has also explored partners in this project in the local industrial and agricultural community.

To the Beresford Public School in the amount of $5,000.00 to develop a Literacy Program for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students to assist those students that need additional help in the fundamental skill of reading.

To the Beresford Community Food Cupboard in the amount of $750.00 to purchase a computer to track and document local needs and participation in their various programs.

                    The Beresford Area Foundation has a goal of reaching $1,000,000.00 in Foundation funds within the next five years and would appreciate any support that the local community could provide in recognition of the philanthropic efforts of the local Foundation.