Dreaming is easy. Funding dreams is not.

Every small town across America knows this well. Britton Area Foundation, one of 77 communities with a Community Savings Accounts (CSA) at South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF), was created to address this and other local funding issues experienced in the rural community.

“After years of being involved in community development, I noticed we spent a lot of time chasing our tail,” Britton Area Foundation Board Member Patty Roehr says. “We’d come up with a great project idea and then we’d have to raise funds. With our CSA, the whole idea is that we are always fundraising for our community, and we get to decide how specifically to use it to help our community. And it’s working.”

Roehr has been involved in the Britton Area Foundation since its inception in 1995, when former South Dakota Governor and Britton native Frank Farrar posed a challenge grant to the community with the help of Bernie Christenson and SDCF. Britton Area Foundation took off from there as a CSA.

Funding for the CSA comes from various fundraising functions and mechanisms, grants, and donations from generous donors. These funds are permanently endowed meaning a gift to the fund is never “used up.” With SDCF’s careful investment, a town’s CSA will continue to grow and support annual awards in perpetuity ensuring the town continues to thrive and prosper for years to come.

The whole idea is to create a fund whereby the interest can be brought back into the community and used for whatever, forever and ever. We’re not just talking about tomorrow, we’re talking about when your kids are adults and when their kids are adults.

— Patty Roehr

The beauty of a CSA is that it can be used for any charitable purpose. Recently, the Britton Area Foundation committed several thousand dollars per year to the North Marshall County Volunteer Fire Department to help build a sorely needed new fire hall. They also helped fund arts and cultural events in the Britton and Fort Sisseton area.

The CSA also provided an opportunity for the late Donald Naddy to leave a $1.3 million estate to his hometown, which will support the community forever (read more about that here)

Roehr says that without the Britton Area Foundation CSA, the community would struggle to fund important projects and cultural events—the sort of things that keep people in small towns, keeping them prosperous.

“It’s more than just philanthropy,” she says, “it helps us survive.”