SDCF Announces Community Innovation Grant Award Recipients

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CIG Infographic

Round 1 of the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) 2019 Community Innovation Grant (CIG) program has been completed. Thirteen South Dakota nonprofits will receive grant awards. Offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the Community Innovation Grant program supports efforts to find breakthrough solutions to community challenges across the state.

“The South Dakota Community Foundation received twenty-eight applications in Round 1 and selected these thirteen nonprofits to implement inclusive, collaborative and resourceful solutions that will benefit all our state’s citizens,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “Round 1 resulted in over $112,000 being distributed between the selected grantees. We are grateful to the Bush Foundation for their past and continued investment in our state.”

The review committee chose to financially support the following projects: 


Black Hills Playhouse (Statewide): $10,000

The Black Hills Playhouse will train more teaching artists to work with special populations using creative theatre techniques. They are exploring partnerships with various college and university programs to create internship opportunities (for credit) for higher ed students studying special education, communications and theatre and will research the possibility of creating a certification program for teaching artists.

Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (Statewide): $10,000

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM) has partnered with the South Dakota Division of Social Services – Child Protection Services (CPS) on this project. Plans are to analyze CPS’s large data set for trends or modeling. Once the analysis is complete, CPCM and CPS will facilitate problem solving processes with key stakeholders across the state. The two goals of this project are to determine the characteristics of children who experience maltreatment in rural settings to determine characteristics that may put them at risk and to understand the protective factors that may alleviate the potential risk to maltreatment.

South Dakota Discovery Center (Statewide): $4,700

Storytelling for Explorer Educators will build the capacity of South Dakota educators to integrate National Geographic style storytelling into their classrooms through a two-phase project done in conjunction with National Geographic Certified Educators.  Phase 1 will convene in Badlands National Park for 3 days to develop a framework and exemplars for subject matter storytelling.  In Phase 2, a cohort of South Dakota educators will participate in a pilot of this opportunity. After the completion of Phase 2, the South Dakota Discovery Center will develop two versions of the professional development to engage the broader South Dakota educator community.                                                                                                          

Eastern South Dakota

Pathways Shelter for the Homeless, Inc. (Yankton): $3,500

Founded in 1994, Pathways began as the “Yankton Area Homeless Shelter”. They are currently operating out of an old motel purchased in 2015 that has shelter space for up to 48 people. Pathways has been at capacity since January 2018 and has a waiting list at times for over 70 people. They will hire an independent consultant to determine the next steps for expansion. The consultant will target specific partner agencies, donors and community stakeholders to garner feedback. In addition, two focus groups will be held with partner agencies who work with this clientele to address the broader question of services.

Tallgrass Recovery and Sober Living Homes (Sioux Falls): $5,000      

Tallgrass Recovery is studying the low recovery outcomes in tribal and rural communities. Past alumni identified a need to connect with other individuals in early recovery. They will begin focusing on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe in Northeast SD. Tallgrass plans to engage the local recovery community in Sisseton and the smaller communities surrounding the town of Sisseton. Input will be gathered from community stakeholders, alumni, staff at Dakota Pride and the families of alcoholics and addicts. That input will be used to develop a work plan to address recovery concerns and goals.

Vermillion Area Farmers Market (Vermillion): $9,100

The Vermillion Area Farmer’s Market plans to engage the community in problem solving the current market location quandary. A core group will define focus and targets followed by successive meetings facilitated by a local consulting firm. Two to three viable location options will be identified for the Farmer’s Market. Regional architects will be enlisted to design a pavilion space for each location, offering a visual idea of what could be developed. Public opinion and feedback will be actively solicited with a summary meeting to be held in January 2020.

Central South Dakota

Kimball Economic Development Corporation (Kimball): $10,000

To entice new volunteers from all generations, the Kimball Economic Development Corporation will invite the Dakota Resources Empower! Community Coaching Program to their community. A core team of local leaders will be formed and the community at-large will be encouraged to get involved in the upcoming months. Everyone’s thoughts and ideas will be solicited to help identify high interest priorities. Teams will be formed focusing on priorities and gatherings held monthly.                                                                                                                            

Martin Community Wellness Coalition (Martin): $10,000

The Martin Wellness Coalition formed in 2017 through an outreach program sponsored by SDSU Extension to focus on the issues of hunger and food insecurity. Community meals will be sponsored monthly at the American Legion Hall which will include a meal prep demo and community information sharing. Feedback and evaluation regarding the process will be solicited onsite and via text, email and social media channels. The Wellness Coalition has partnered with the Sunrise Youth Center at Sunrise Tribal Housing and the Bennett County Fitness Center.

Western South Dakota

Black Hills Special Services Cooperative (Rapid City): $10,000

Black Hills Special Services will host two summer camps. One girl’s camp and one kid’s camp will help balance gender equity by improving diversity. The camps will focus on computer science/STEM learning concepts. The programs will be promoted to every elementary and middle school in Rapid City. They plan to extend the learning beyond those students attending the summer sessions and offer monthly family events focusing on computer science. The lack of computer science graduates is fast becoming critical and these camps will open student’s eyes to the possibilities that these areas offer.

Chamber Music Festival of the Black Hills (Rapid City): $10,000

Chamber Music Festival of the Black Hills will address the lack of access and participation in music educational programs in the community of North Rapid City and specifically at General Beadle Elementary. The program will be implemented in three phases. 1) Musical Story Time will be presented with the youngest ages and local daycare program, 2) The Children’s Concert will focus on rhythm and 3) The instrumental program will be implemented at the beginning of the summer Discovery Programs. Properly sized quality instruments have been secured for children to utilize at no cost.

Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors (Rapid City):$10,000

Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors (MOA) will continue educating the public about the history of the transfer of Rapid City Indian School Lands into what is now known as North Rapid City. This transfer, which took place in 1948, continues to impact the city today. Though education efforts have begun, they would like to gather a group of even greater diverse stakeholders to engage in the difficult conversations regarding this history. They will work with two grassroots organizers to lead efforts.

Rural America Initiatives (Rapid City): $10,000

Rural America Initiatives will use a collaborative and multi-faceted approach to reach their goal of sustainability for their winter art market, which began 5 years ago. This art market is held during Thanksgiving weekend in Rapid City. They are continuing their plan to expand their reach and make the market a destination for high end buyers. They will host a strategic and business planning retreat with facilitators from the Santa Fe and Eiteljorg Art Markets.

Youth & Family Services, Inc. (Rapid City): $10,000

Youth & Family Services, Inc. is working to better meet the needs of early adolescents within the Rapid City area and prepare them for the transition to high school. In 2017, Youth & Family Services conducted focus groups that provided awareness of how Middle School youth were being served. Subsequent research and discussions with stakeholders indicated the need for emphasis increasing self-regulation through Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Youth & Family Services, Inc. and the Rapid City Area School District will enlist the participation of key stakeholders in the Alliance for Early Adolescence to align with a common vision and plan for implementation of self-regulation practices (Social Emotional Learning/SEL).

A total of $400,000 will be available to nonprofits in 2019. The second round for 2019 opens on May 13, 2019 and closes on June 14, 2019. Interested organizations can visit to review the grant guidelines, deadlines and application instructions. In order to qualify, a nonprofit must be IRS Publication 78 verified or have a fiscal sponsor. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to Ginger Niemann by phone at 800.888.1842 or by email

About our Donors

The SDCF distributed more than $18.8 million in grants in 2018 which made a tremendous difference in communities statewide. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors. If you have a specific cause you would like to support or would prefer to give for the general good of our state, please visit to learn more or give us a call at (605) 224-1025.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.