Black Hills Area Community Foundation Community Action Grant

This is a $50,000 grant opportunity available only to BHACF Agency Endowed Fund Holders. This grant will be awarded to an organization that is employing innovative ideas, leveraging community partnerships, and focusing efforts on sustainable practices. Letters of Interest (LOI) can be submitted for the first step of the process. Five of the organizations that successfully submit an LOI will be selected as finalists by the BHACF Board and will be invited to submit a formal application. For the finalists selected, applications and interviews need to be completed. After all interview have been conducted, BHACF's Grants Committee will choose and announce the award.



Applicants must be an IRS 501(c)3 public charity, school, government entity or religious organization. Applicants must also have an agency endowed fund with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation (BHACF). Requested support must be for organizations or activities that take place in one or more counties in the geographic focus of BHACF: Butte, Custer, Fall River, Lawrence, Meade, Oglala Lakota, and Pennington.

You must currently have an agency endowed fund with BHACF to qualify for the Community Action Grant.
What Types of Projects Are Funded?

BHACF supports a wide variety of proposals. Requests can address issues in: Arts and Culture, Environment and Natural Resources, Community and Economic Development, Youth, Social Services, Education, Disaster and Recovery.  Requests can support ongoing or new programs/projects.  Please no requests for support to capital campaigns.


What Types of Projects Are NOT Funded?

  • Grants will not be awarded to support religious activity, political activity, fundraisers or benefits, debt retirement, or organizations working to primarily influence legislation.
  • Supported activities may NOT discriminate against any individual or group based on race, gender, gender expression, age, disability, religion, ethnic or national origin, or otherwise legally protected groups.
  • BHACF will not serve as an applicant for sponsored programs.
  • Funding for multi-year projects or support will not be considered.
  • Grant funds cannot be used for reimbursement of any expenses incurred prior to the grant notification date.

Grant Review Criteria

In reviewing applications, the Foundation’s Grantmaking Committee will consider the following criteria:

  • The organization or project responds to a clear and compelling community need in the Black Hills area with well-developed program or project that responds to that need.
  • The organization must demonstrate that they have the operational capacity, the staff and the leadership to carry out the project/program proposed.
  • The organization or project must maximize community resources through cooperation collaboration and shared learning.  Programs and/or projects that demonstrate collaboration through joint ventures leading to increased effectiveness and efficiency among organizations and/or public agencies will be prioritized.
  • The organization must develop a plan for sustainability and demonstrate that they have considered the long-term impact of the project/program they are proposing.
  • The organization must submit an evaluation plan through which impact will be measured for the funds being requested.




Past BHACF Community Action Grant Awards

BHACF awards 'signature' grant to nonprofits
responding to community needs

Oct. 16, 2020

The Black Hills Area Community Foundation’s $50,000 Community Action Grant will be shared this year by two organizations working to address two very different, but critical needs in our area: food security and early learning.

BHACF awarded $30,000 to Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting to support a part-time Early Education Specialist based in the Rapid City area. SDPB says this position will provide direct project support to local childcare organizations and parents, as well as coordinate communications for Early Learning Initiative (ELI) resources and activities around the Black Hills.

“The SDPB Early Learning Initiative is an increased investment by the network to support caregivers from preschool to parents at home,” Larry Rohrer, SDPB’s Director of Media Content, said. “With this generous gift from the foundation, and particularly in this era of pandemic, BHACF funding is opening new ELI communication channels with locally-based professional staff and a new text communication platform with a broad range of information for parents of children from birth to age 8.”


BHACF awarded the remainder of the grant, $20,000, to Fork Real Community Café to support the café’s ongoing efforts to meet identified food security needs and help bridge gaps in the availability of nutritious meals in the Rapid City area.

“While homelessness is an issue, food insecurity is even larger,” Fork Real Founder and Executive Director Rhonda Pearcy said, adding that the café is the conduit that provides a dignified dining environment where all are welcome to eat, regardless of means.

The funds also will support volunteer recruitment and training so Fork Real can continue to serve Rapid City in a more efficient and focused manner.

“We are beyond grateful for the support of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and its donors that make these grant opportunities possible,” Pearcy said.

The Community Action Grant is considered BHACF’s “signature” grant available only to nonprofits that hold funds at the foundation. The purpose of the grant is to support an organization that employs innovative ideas, leverages community partnerships, and focuses on sustainable practices. BHACF Executive Director Liz Hamburg says the Community Action Grant award always receives vigorous discussion by the Board of Directors.

“There is so much good work happening in our nonprofit organizations,” Hamburg said. “This year, the Board has chosen to divide the Community Action Grant award to fund the work of two worthy recipients, impacting two different areas of need – feeding the hungry and access to learning opportunities.”

Black Hills Area Community Foundation Awards $50,000 to eWaste Recycling and Student Education

September 20, 2019

The grants were announced at a grant celebration on September 18, 2019 at the home of BHACF Board member, Haven and Terry Stuck. This year, we had 20 organizations indicate an interest in applying for the grant and we invited 6 organizations to apply.  All finalists submitted requests for innovative projects with the potential for great impact, which made the final selection process difficult. Ultimately, the Black Hills Works: Echo Works Project was selected based on the partnerships formed, the multiple areas of impact from environment to employment and student education, and the gap in services to our community that Echo Works will address. BHACF is honored to announce Black Hills Works: Echo Works Project as the 2019 recipient of the Community Action Grant.

Echo Works, a division of BHW, is a member of CyclePoint with SourceAmerica. CyclePoint is an eRecycling network that offers communities convenient, safe and secure electronics disposal. Its mission is to create sustainable jobs for people with significant disabilities and to contribute to environmental health.  Currently, there are limited recycling facilities in or around Rapid City for processing of recyclable materials from electronic waste.  Echo Works is collaborating with Western Dakota Tech (WDT) to establish a physical location for an on-campus and community-accessible e-recycling facility and to develop new policies regarding responsible recycling practices that reduce the disposal of dangerous electronics in local landfills. As part of this partnership, WDT will provide facilities for Eco Works operations as well as transportation of commodities.  Students and instructors from the WDT Professional Truck Driving program will transport deconstructed materials to regional commodities exchange facilities. Additionally, the Program Instructor and students from the WDT Environmental Engineering Technology Department, will provide support to the project through development of policy, educational materials, outreach, and future partnerships, particularly with the City of Rapid City.

Over the last year BHACF has partnered with Feeding South Dakota, the 2018 recipient of the Community Action Grant, to distribute food via mobile food pantries to 21,694 family members; distribute 247,170 pounds of food in neighborhoods located in food desert areas of Rapid City; foster ongoing partnerships with 13 nonprofits and 35 sustained volunteers who support the mobile distributions; and implement new mobile data management software to help better track community impact.

Black Hills Area Community Foundation Awards $50,000 to Feeding South Dakota.

September 2018

Feeding South Dakota was selected as the 2018 recipient of the inaugural Community Action Grant. They are mobilizing food distribution, bringing needed food to our neighborhoods rather than expecting our most challenged residents to travel long distances to a food site. Working together with numerous community stakeholders through the Rapid City Collective Impact initiative, Feeding South Dakota helped to identify neighborhoods in our community that were most in need of access to food. Through this mapping effort, 13
geographic areas were identified. Many innovative solutions to address this need have been proposed and are being put into practice. Among those solutions is Feeding South Dakota’s mobile food truck. On a monthly basis, Feeding South Dakota will take their mobile food truck to individuals and families in the priority areas identified. Families will have access to food closer to their homes, removing the barrier of access to transportation.

This effort has already been piloted for several months and the response has been incredible. In addition to supporting the mobile food truck, these grant funds will help Feeding South Dakota purchase new technology and software to better track individuals and families receiving services. The information collected with this technology will help to inform the entire service area, define what the broader needs are, and shape better ways to address those needs.

We were honored to award Feeding South Dakota with this year’s Community Action Grant and look forward to our year of partnership in addressing hunger in our community!