Philanthropy & Nonprofits
Numerous charitable organizations help improve the quality of life for Black Hills residents. In fact, there are more than 900 nonprofit groups in Western South Dakota. They include organizations that provide food, shelter and other services to the needy, as well as groups that focus on business, veterans needs, education, the arts, health, sports, the environment and many other areas of interest. Nearly every Black Hills resident benefits in some way from these groups.
Most nonprofit groups rely on donations or membership contributions to keep their doors open. And despite national economic woes, charitable giving has remained steady in the Black Hills in recent years. Many residents contribute directly to the nonprofits in their community. Others take advantage of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation’s site: www.GiveBlackHills.org, which provides profiles of more than 128 area nonprofits and allows supporters to give online to support the organizations and projects they believe in.
United Way of the Black Hills helps raise money for 51 area agencies with an annual fundraising campaign. With campaigns in Rapid City, Sturgis, the Northern Hills and Southern Hills, United Way surpassed its 2010 goal of $2,278,000 by raising a total of $2,394,030 for member agencies. The Black Hills goal for 2011-2012 is $2.36 million. In 2008, 69 percent of donations made to United Way of the Black Hills came from individuals or employee contributions. Corporations donated 21 percent of the $2.28 million raised, and foundations contributed another 10 percent.
While United Way focuses on the immediate needs of non-profit social services organizations in the Black Hills, many organizations are actively building endowment funds to help ensure financial stability in the future. The principal from these permanent endowments is not used to pay for annual operating expenses. But the income on this principal provides a reliable source of funding regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. Some organizations maintain and manage their own endowment funds. Others turn to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation or the South Dakota Community Foundation to hold and manage permanent endowments for them.
As federal funding sources dwindle, nonprofit reliance on endowments and annual contributions is likely to rise. Fortunately, the long-term outlook for charitable giving is good. A study by Boston College researchers determined that as Baby Boomers age more than $41 trillion in wealth – on average, $389,000 per household – is expected to transfer from one generation to the next within the next 50 years in America. That wealth transfer extends to South Dakota. Researchers estimate that during the next 50 years, between $38 and $44 billion will be transferred in South Dakota, most of it in the form of land. In the Black Hills alone, rougly $1 billion is expected to transfer between 2005 and 2015.
Private and Corporate Foundations
Several private foundations also play a major role in supporting the work of nonprofits in the region. The largest was established by banker John T. Vucurevich “to make a piece of the world a brighter place.” Since 2000, the Vucurevich Foundation has provided grants of more than $18.6 million, mainly to groups focused on the arts, education, and health and human services. Other local private foundations include the Gwendolyn L. Stearns Foundation, the Clover Charitable Fund in Sturgis and the Grace Lemley Foundation. Private foundations based outside the region who give to Black Hills organizations include: Adams-Mastrovich Foundation, Bush Foundation, Hearst Foundations and Northwest Area Foundation. A number of organizations also provide scholarship funds for students.
Corporate foundations that are active in the region include Black Hills Corporation, the Qwest Foundation, RBC Foundation, US Bancorp Foundation and the Wellmark Foundation.
Nonprofit Impact on the Economy
Nonprofit organizations affect individual lives, but they also affect the local economy. According to United Way of the Black Hills, the 1,140 people employed by their 51 member agencies receive total salaries of more than $18.76 million annually. Those employees and their families help generate another 187 jobs for people who provide them with goods and services, for an additional $4.6 million impact on the Black Hills economy annually.
For more information on grantmakers active in South Dakota, check out the State Library’s South Dakota Grant Directory. The Rapid City Public Library also provides access to the The Foundation Directory, a useful source for information on grantmakers in the United States. The Foundation Center restricts access to this resource, so users must go to the Library. The Council on Foundations in Washington publishes state-by-state statistics on philanthropy. Read their report on South Dakota.