SDCF Announces Round 3, 2018 Community Innovation Grant Award Recipients

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Community Innovation Grant Informational Graphic

Round 3 of the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) 2018 Community Innovation Grant (CIG) program has been completed. Fourteen 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-seven applications in Round 3 and selected these fourteen nonprofits to implement inclusive, collaborative and resourceful solutions that will benefit all our state’s citizens,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “Round 3 resulted in $140,000 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: 


Ground Works Midwest & SD Ag in the Classroom (Statewide): $10,000

Ground Works Midwest is serving as the lead agency for SD Ag in the Classroom. The SD Road Trip: Exploring SD’s Agriculture & History has been developed for 4th grade students and is tied to South Dakota history standards. Students “Road Trip” through twenty-two different South Dakota cities and towns throughout the school year. To date, there are 7,172 4th grade students representing 102 school districts in 332 South Dakota classrooms using this curriculum.

High Plains Fair Housing Center (Statewide): $10,000

The High Plains Fair Housing Center is based in North Dakota and will conduct a statewide fair housing testing audit to better understand the extent and basis of discrimination in South Dakota. At the end of the testing audit period they will hold a statewide meeting to start the conversation about creating a South Dakota led organization that can address housing discrimination in the state.

Special Olympics South Dakota (Statewide): $10,000

Special Olympics South Dakota initially started the Unified Champion School pilot program in twenty-five schools across our state. Funds will help them continue their efforts to bring this program to all our state’s schools. This program is used to change school climates to become more inclusive, reduce impediments and sustain programs that can boost student achievements for all students including those with intellectual disabilities.                                                                                                                       

Three Rivers Special Services Cooperative (Statewide): $10,000

A survey will be developed, with input from the South Dakota Department of Education, to gather, analyze and synthesize data to identify the need for early learning opportunities in South Dakota. Key stakeholders including Birth to 3, the Head Start Collaboration Office, School Administrators of South Dakota, various childcare providers, the South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children and state legislators will be brought together to address concerns and consider solutions.

Eastern South Dakota

Call to Freedom, Inc. (Sioux Falls, Watertown) $10,000

The first strategic planning meeting of the East River Human Trafficking Task Force was held in June 2018. Seven overall goals were identified. Committees were formed to identify objectives, tasks and timelines for each of these goals. They are entering Phase 2 of their strategic planning process where they will grow stakeholders, solidify committees and meet quarterly. Two pilot communities, Sioux Falls and Watertown have been identified to conduct a community-based needs assessment to better understand resources.

Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition (Yankton): $10,000

Incorporated in June 2001 and maintaining two offices in Springfield and Yankton, SD, the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition (MSAC) is focusing their efforts on conditions at Lewis and Clark Lake as it would be the first upper Missouri River mainstream reservoir to fill with sediment since it is the smallest. The goal is to build stakeholder capacity to successfully collaborate and determine goals for Lewis and Clark Lake’s future and to enhance their ability to work effectively with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

South Dakota State University (Brookings): $10,000

The Rich Normality Design Collaborative (RNDC) is an interdisciplinary initiative focusing on prototype development to enhance early childhood education. Phase two of this project will bring four generations together (university undergraduate students, university faculty, elders living in assisting living centers and children attending pre-school and elementary school) in the development of intergenerational products to be used in both education centers and assisted living environments.

Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (Sioux Falls): $10,000

The Great Plains Zoo will create a group of Sioux Falls leaders, nonprofit organizations and citizens to evaluate the potential effectiveness of creating a special tax district that would provide funding to cultural facilities in Sioux Falls who provide educational, cultural and science experiences. Funds will support a three-month discover and discussion process with stakeholders from the City of Sioux Falls, representatives from local cultural organizations, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and interested citizens.

Central South Dakota

Bartlett Community Visions (Parmelee): $10,000

Work began four years ago to plan and implement a walking path to help fight the high rate of obesity, diabetes and suicide in the area. Over 30 trees have since been planted. He Dog School will be moving to the East side of Parmelee in two years and they would like to have the trees and walking path extend over to their school-grounds so they can use it for PE, science and other cultural purposes. The walking path will be a safe, fun place for youth and elders to walk, get out of the house and enjoy the shade and snacks provided by fruit trees.                                                                                                                         

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Ventures (Eagle Butte): $10,000

Tribal Ventures will implement a multi-phase approach to help solve the reservation’s short-term employment issues. During Phase 1, they will reconvene the workforce-development task force of tribal departments and other reservation organizations that addressed employment and economic issues in 2014-2016. In Phase 2, Tribal Ventures will take primary responsibility for facilitating and crafting a solution to the reservation’s temporary staff dilemma using input given by taskforce members. A program will be implemented in Phase 3 to meet the needs of reservation employers. Bi-monthly task force meetings and recruitment of new members who have a stake in short-term hiring issues on the reservation will take place.

Tatanka Funds (Rosebud): $10,000

Tatanka Funds is an emerging Community Development Financial Institute and will address the need for financial literacy on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. A committee will be formed, a survey will be conducted as well as a 3-hour long financial literacy course developed. Unique features of the course will be leases from Trust Land, WIC, LIEAP, commodities, etc. Partners include the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Tribal Housing Authority, Sinte Gleska University, REDCO, Veteran’s Affairs and Adult Corrections.

Western South Dakota

EPICS Program (Pine Ridge): $10,000

Purdue University, the South Dakota Schools of Mines and Technology and Oglala Lakota College have engaged students in a collaborative effort to design and construct a greenhouse at the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota College as well as a cultural education center with the purpose of educating the community on local agriculture and its significance to the Lakota traditions and culture. Purdue is leading the integration of Engineering Project in Community Service (EPICS) style classes at each campus.

Native Youth Leadership Alliance (Pine Ridge): $10,000

A community coach will be provided for Native Youth Leadership Alliance members in South Dakota.  The Oglala Lakota College student organization will be the vehicle used to provide coaching workshops to build communication and coaching skills. An initial training will be held early in 2019 and partners include Oglala Lakota College, Dr. Nora Antone, SD NYLA team members and AIHEC Student Congress. The possibility of an online training model will be investigated to determine feasibility of replication of the process at other SD tribal colleges.

Victims of Violence Intervention Programs, Inc. (Spearfish): $10,000

Victims of Violence Intervention Program, Inc. will implement a 3-step process to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. First, they will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. Encouraging collaboration will be the second step. Efforts will focus on the community at large, marginalized sub-communities and key stakeholders. Finally, the third step will result in solutions to the problems being formulated and implemented.

A total of $400,000 will be available to nonprofits in 2019. The first round for 2019 opens on January 14, 2019 and closes on February 15, 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.