The Joy of an Unexpected Gift

Mar 3, 2024 | Community Stories, Donor Stories

Janet Kahler and her daughter Deonne gave an impromptu gift at a Black Hills by Choice giving circle event in June of 2023. When the collective grants were announced, the pair exchanged a knowing glance from across their table and made an instantaneous decision.  

Moments later, the Kahlers funded a request from Wambli Ska Okolakiciye, a Rapid City nonprofit dedicated to supporting Native American youth and their families. Members of giving circles typically direct grants through a popular vote, but some philanthropists like Janet and Deonne fund additional requests. 

In this case, the Kahlers’ grant purchased supplies for youth to craft traditional clothing and regalia—a step toward helping Native American communities reclaim cultural practices and reconnect with their roots. 

“I knew it was the right thing to do,” said Janet, a longtime Black Hills resident, who emphasized that she’d like to learn more about Native American communities in the region. Deonne agreed, saying “I was personally really happy to help them. That kind of culture and experience has to live on.” 

Later that evening, the pair left the event feeling uplifted and inspired. It’s often said, Janet noted, “but when you give, you get back a lot more.” In this case, it felt energizing to learn about Wambli Ska’s mission and then meet one of their needs.  

Adding to the positive energy, the giving circle cultivated a sense of community. “There’s something about being in a room physically with people who share your values that is so important, and it keeps you going,” Deonne said. “It gives you a little hit of energy and hope.” 

These little infusions of hope become especially important amid life’s challenges. As Janet said, “There are so many crazy things happening in the world that I could really let myself get down if I didn’t do things like this.”  

Together, the mother and daughter duo aim to quietly exemplify how people can impact the world — whether it’s through giving resources or volunteering their time. 

Along the way, they share the joy and fulfillment that comes with giving back. 

“I’m always telling people,” Deonne said. “’What are you curious about? Where is the energy for you? Then, just go toward that, and good things start to happen.’”