Education | National

Lakota Country Times: Grants create opportunity on tribal lands in South Dakota

Students learning the Lakota language. Photo: Lakota Language Consortium

Two Local Orgs Receive Funding
By Brandon Ecoffey

Lakota Country Times Editor

PINE RIDGE -- Two organizations that work directly in Lakota Country have been chosen as recipients of Community Innovation Grants from the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) and the Bush Foundation.

Lakota Funds and the Lakota Language Consortium were amongst the 15 South Dakota nonprofits selected to receive $10,000 to support their efforts to "find breakthrough solutions to community challenges across the state."

“The South Dakota Community Foundation selected these nonprofits out of 58 applicants to implement inclusive, collaborative and resourceful solutions that will benefit South Dakotans,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF program officer. “We look forward to the changes they will spark across the state.”

The funding provided to Lakota Funds will be used to address the racial and economic disparity faced by Native communities in accessing affordable homeownership opportunities, specifically with regard to the lack of certified inspectors operating on Indian reservations in South Dakota. The funds will be used to conduct an inspector certification preparation course and provide support for applicants to prepare for the exam.

Since its inception Lakota Funds has disbursed over 900 loans, totaling $7.2 million, resulting in the creation of 1,415 jobs and nearly 500 businesses on or near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It has provided training and services to over 1,600 artists and over 4,300 aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Lakota Language Consortium will utilize its grant to support its Lakota Owóksape eLearning Portal. The Lakota Owóksape eLearning Portal will provide interactive Lakota-language learning opportunities and an easily accessed online tool which will allow authentic Lakota learning to happen in multiple settings.

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Since 1987, the South Dakota Community Foundation has helped people reach their philanthropic goals and strengthened communities across the state. The SDCF administers over $250 million in total assets for over 760 funds. By commingling endowed assets, the SDCF gives its partners enhanced investment opportunities that provide long-term support to charitable causes. In 2016, the SDCF distributed nearly $12 million in grants from all funds administered.

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.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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