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Some Rapid City and western South Dakota organizations are among the 14 nonprofits selected to receive grants from a total of $139,947 recently awarded by the South Dakota Community Foundation's Community Innovation Grant program.

Offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the program supports efforts to find breakthrough solutions to community challenges.

Grant recipients in western South Dakota include the following:

  • Native Educational Endeavors Inc. (statewide), $9,947, to address the disparity in the number of women in the law profession in the Northern Plains with a plan to capture oral histories from accomplished women judges, share their stories and create opportunity projects for future female law leaders.
  • Black Hills Habitat for Humanity (Rapid City), $10,000, for the Indian Country Initiative to address the shortage of safe and affordable housing affecting families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
  • Black Hills State University (Spearfish), $10,000, for a partnership with Hills Horizon, to promote active lifestyles by advancing bicycle transportation, trail construction and completion, safe cycling advocacy, complete street policies and community cycling education.
  • Thunder Valley Community Development (Porcupine), $10,000, to test and implement stages of its Food Sovereignty Coalition. The coalition will address the Pine Ridge Reservation’s status as a “food desert,” where close to 95 percent of food is brought onto the reservation. Working with community members and organizations, the coalition aims to increase access to local, healthy food options by expanding the local distribution system.
  • Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (Rapid City), $10,000, to address the diaper shortage among low-income families. Diapers can cost up to $100 a month for one baby; government-assistance programs do not pay for diapers, and day cares require parents to provide diapers. As a result, diaper assistance allows working families to keep their child care and source of income. To better assist families, VOA in Rapid City has joined the National Diaper Bank Network and plans to acquire a diaper distribution warehouse and is becoming eligible to distribute free diapers.
  • Youth & Family Services, Inc. (Rapid City), $10,000, to address the lack of effective services for middle-schoolers. The group is focusing more resources, research and energy into helping middle-schoolers learn to thrive.

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