Sometimes the best thing you can have access to is like-minded people, and that’s just one great reason to partner with the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF), says GROW South Dakota Director Marcia Erickson. “We look to them for advice and peer learning,” she says, who has been with GROW SD for almost 30 years. “They’re willing to listen to different ideas and they’re very visionary.”

SDCF has been an important help as the organization has grown from a small trailer in Sisseton more than 50 years ago to a statewide operation with three satellite locations today. The organization was started with funding by federal, state and local resources, providing a means to assist low-income individuals and families become more self-reliant and improve daily living.

The organization offers a wide variety of services for low-income families, including food boxes, financial and housing counseling, and home weatherization. They also own schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation and own or manage low-income apartment complexes.

What started as a modest community action agency, GROW SD now serves as an organization that provides housing and economic development services across the state. The main office remains in Sisseton with additional locations in Langford, Webster and Aberdeen. Growth was always in the future, Erickson says.

The need has always been there,” she says. “As we identified other needs in the state, people would ask if there was something like us where they lived. If they have a community action agency that provides the same service, we don’t overlap. But if there’s a gap, we try to find the means to serve them.

— Marcia Erickson

Erickson says GROW SD will continue to look for ways to grow and become more sustainable. “We know that we shouldn’t rely on government funding sources,” she says, which means they will continue to seek funding sources that generate revenue and are sustainable.

Their partnership with SDCF started more than 30 years ago, when the foundation was just getting started. GROW SD has since received multiple grants from the Foundation and started a fund with them. SDCF staff has been friendly, helpful and professional, Erickson notes.

“They do an amazing job of not only investing wisely the money from individuals, but they invest wisely in groups and nonprofits from across the state,” she says. “It gives me personal reason to continue supporting South Dakota Community Foundation.”