How to Give

Work with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to make a deep, lasting impact in the region you love. We’re here to help you set and achieve meaningful philanthropic goals.

The resources below will help you get started

We can help you use the most powerful and effective philanthropic tools available. From Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to customized legacy giving plans and beyond, we’re here to help you make an intentional impact that fits your situation.

Four steps to philanthropy

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’re already thinking about how you can help the Black Hills thrive.

Here are a few steps to help organize your thinking:


There’s no wrong way to give

Every personal and family situation looks a little different. Thankfully, there are many flexible and effective ways to make a difference.

Some people give annually to multiple organizations. Others support a single initiative over many years or arrange to send a large donation after they’ve passed on. Many people do a little bit of everything and adjust their strategy as their situation evolves.

Our job is to help you understand the process and work with you and your financial advisors and attorneys to maximize the effectiveness of your philanthropy.


Consider your goals

Get started by reflecting on your own or asking your loved ones these questions. It’s okay if you don’t know the answers yet. We are here to help!


  • Will you start giving now, use your estate to leave a legacy, or both?
  • Will you give to one organization or support many causes?
  • Do you want to provide a one-time gift or annual donations forever?
  • Would you like to give anonymously or use your philanthropy to honor someone?
  • Would you like our guidance about which organizations are doing good work in the area?


Reach out to us

Connecting with our staff is the best way to realize your philanthropic goals. Drop by our office at 243 Founders Park Drive in Rapid City, call us at 605-718-0112 or email us using the contact form below. Our donor-directed giving team is happy to answer your questions and excited to meet you.


Enjoy giving

In the end, it doesn’t matter what form your generosity takes. What matters is that you give with confidence and a sense of fulfillment about your positive impact.

The Black Hills Area Community Foundation exists to support critical work across our region, and we want our partners to enjoy the process as much as possible.

Your philanthropy toolkit

There are many ways to structure your philanthropy to maximize the impact of your charitable dollars.

Our giving team can build a customized giving plan that aligns with your passions and goals.

Ways to Give

You can give donations of nearly anything with monetary value to fill your fund.

For non-cash assets, we usually take in the property, and you receive a deduction for its assessed value. Then, we then sell it and send the revenues to your fund.


Many people work with their tax professionals to decide an appropriate amount to give while maximizing tax advantages. We can receive a wire transfer or deposit a check into your fund.


We can receive securities such as appreciated stock. We’ll work with your financial advisor or broker to take in these assets, then sell them and forward the proceeds to your fund.

Estate assets

You can name your fund as the beneficiary of your life insurance policies, annuities, or retirement accounts. We can also receive art, jewelry, and other items of value.

Real property

You can give donations of land, buildings, and other real property. You’ll receive a charitable deduction based on the appraised value at the time of the donation.

Complex donations

Occasionally, donors reach out with creative and sophisticated donation ideas. We’ll happily work with your advisors and attorneys to manage these situations.
What to give

There are two fundamental ways to give: during your lifetime (Active Giving) and through your estate (Legacy Giving). 

In either case, you’ll start by setting up a fund. Think of your fund as a charitable spending account: as assets come in, they’re invested and grow. We’ll direct grants from that account based on your giving plan.

Active Giving

This describes any charitable giving you complete during your lifetime. Often, our donors choose to set up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). Donors can make grants to nonprofits just by sending us an email or setting up recurring gifts. DAFs are popular because they are convenient and maximize your tax deductions. Our program keeps your money here in the Black Hills, doubling your impact on the local community.

Legacy Giving

This giving strategy is about using the resources earned during your lifetime to leave a lasting legacy. It refers to any gift that will be distributed via your estate plan after you’ve passed. We offer an easy, flexible way to give to nonprofits either as large lump-sum payments or as annual grants made in perpetuity. You can update your plan, a one-page document, any time without the effort and expense of redoing your will.

Have questions? Connect with our Giving Team.

Eric Zimmer, Director of Philanthropy, and Kathleen Fitzgerald-Ellis, Associate Director of Philanthropy-Northern Hills, work to align your charitable giving with the issues you’re most passionate about.

They can answer questions about the philanthropic tools we offer, share insights about organizations working in fields you care about, and more.