West River Nonprofits Celebrate Grant Awards

Posted on

Check presentation to eight West River nonprofits

 Eight area nonprofits were the beneficiaries of recent grant awards from the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF). Two area nonprofits received awards through the South Dakota Fund Grant. Catholic Social Services was the recipient of $5,000 and the Historic Homestake Opera House was awarded $10,000. Six Community Innovation Grants (CIG) in the amount of $10,000 each were presented to Black Hills Playhouse, Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, Chamber Music Festival of the Black Hills, Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors, Rural America Initiatives and Youth & Family Services, Inc.

The South Dakota Fund is an unrestricted fund that makes grants in support of culture, economic development, education, health and human services. The two area nonprofits that received South Dakota Fund grant awards are:

Catholic Social Services - $5,000

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Project will provide education, awareness and support to parents and caregivers of children and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in western South Dakota. “The effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs lasts a lifetime for people affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder”, said Nora Boesem, Director, Catholic Social Services. “We are so grateful that SDCF is partnering with us to help provide resources to caregivers, families and community stakeholders who are affected by FASD.”

Historic Homestake Opera House - $10,000

The Historic Homestake Opera House will use funds to complete a study needed to lay the groundwork for their multi-million dollars restoration campaign. The goal of this study is to determine abilities, structure and strategies for helping the Opera House successfully complete a comprehensive campaign.


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 six western area nonprofits will use funds to support:

Black Hills Playhouse - $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.

Black Hills Special Services Cooperative – $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 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- $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. Properly sized quality instruments have been secured for children to utilize at no cost.

Mniluzahan Okolakicipayi Ambassadors - $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 - $10,000

Rural America Initiatives began their winter art market 5 years ago. This art market is held during Thanksgiving weekend in Rapid City. They now plan to expand their reach and make the market a destination for high end buyers.

“The Winter Art Market is an economic boost to our families at a time of year when they need it the most”, said Bruce Long Fox, Executive Director, Rural America Initiatives. “Thanks to the generosity of the South Dakota Community Foundation, we are able to grow this event to be an even more dynamic economic engine for our community. We are grateful to have them as partners, and their importance to the success of this event cannot be over emphasized.”

Youth & Family Services, Inc. - $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.

“This grant provides a unique opportunity for Youth and Family Services to pursue collaborative alignment of in-school and out-of-school Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programming for early adolescents in Rapid City”, said David W. Miller, Associate Executive Director, Youth & Family Services, Inc. “We believe that aligning our SEL efforts will compound the impact on middle school students especially those most at risk, by providing greater attention and support for their healthy development.”


“The South Dakota Community Foundation is proud to provide support for these eight nonprofits located in western South Dakota”, said Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF. “Although their goals and projects differ widely, each of them is doing their part to strengthen our state and make it better for generations to come.”


The SDCF awards grants throughout the year through the South Dakota Fund to nonprofits that meet vital and diverse needs across the state. Interested applicants can learn more by visiting https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/for-nonprofits/sd-fund-grants/

A total of $400,000 will be available to nonprofits in 2019 through the Community Innovation Grant program. The second round was recently completed with successful applicants being announced at the end of August. Applications for Round 3, 2019 will be accepted starting September 2nd.  Visit our website at https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/for-nonprofits/community-innovation-grants/ to learn more about eligibility guidelines, deadlines for 2019 and application instructions.

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 https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/for-donors/ 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.