‘Community’ of Rancher Relief Fund contributors to be recognized for philanthropy | TSLN.com

‘Community’ of Rancher Relief Fund contributors to be recognized for philanthropy

Photo by Sharon Longwood

In conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, the South Dakota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognize individuals, businesses and communities for their extraordinary work in philanthropy in South Dakota including a special Governor's Philanthropic Award, to be awarded to the national 'community' that supported ranchers following the October 2013 storm Atlas.

The events begin with a 2-day conference at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Ft. Pierre on Tuesday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

The events conclude at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 with the Governor's Awards Luncheon that will also be held at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center. These awards recognize those who have given time, talent and treasure to improve the lives of other South Dakotans. Lt. Governor Matt Michels will present the awards to the 2014 recipients at the luncheon. Tickets to attend the luncheon are available to purchase by registering at on the South Dakota AFP website, afpsouthdakota.afpnet.org, or or by calling 605-310-4198.

Here is more information about the 2014 recipients.

• In South Dakota, agriculture is a way of life and every facet of society is affected by it. Last fall, when more than 500 western South Dakota ranchers lost some of or their entire livelihood, people all across South Dakota took action. The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund demonstrates this sense of "community" and is the recipient of the Governor's Special Philanthropic Award.

More than 43,500 cattle, sheep, horses, and bison died during the freak October 2013 storm, hundreds of ranchers faced an uncertain future. In response, the Black Hills Area Community Foundation created the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund. Soon after, money and replacement livestock started to arrive. Representatives from many agricultural organizations, Catholic Social Services, Lutheran Social Services along with many others went to work to help ranch families. On Halloween instead of accepting treats, children went door to door accepting donations for ranchers; college students organized dance marathons; people from across the country opened their hearts and their wallets to help South Dakota ranchers rebuild. Support came from all 50 states, but not surprisingly, South Dakotans stepped up to care for their own—giving nearly half of all gifts and 13 percent of the gifts came from 7 western South Dakota counties. The result – on June 30th, 2014 the fund topped $5.4 million, received through more than 7,500 donations.

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• Henry and Eleanor Carlson of Sioux Falls have been selected as this year's Outstanding Philanthropists. "The Henry Carlson family has been making a positive impact in Sioux Falls and across South Dakota since the early 1900's," said nominators from the Lifescape Foundation. Henry Carlson Sr. emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1900 and in 1924 bought out his business partner to create the Henry Carlson Company. His company grew rapidly and was soon considered one of the largest building and construction companies in the state of South Dakota. Under his leadership, the company began constructing many of the landmark buildings throughout the state including the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City and the State Capitol Annex in Pierre. Henry Carlson Jr. joined the company in the 40s and 50s, and his son Henry "Chip" Carlson, III, followed in the late 1970s. Together they created one of the largest commercial construction employers in the state. More recently their construction work is visible in the Sioux Falls Arena, the Minnehaha County Courthouse, the original Sioux Valley and McKennan Hospitals and most recently in Sanford Children's Hospital and the Heart Hospital.

The Carlson family's philanthropic work may not be as well know. The Carlson family has changed the lives of thousands of children through their support of children's services at LifeScape, the Carlson Family Children's Cancer Care Endowment Fund, the Sanford Children's Hospital, Make-A-Wish of South Dakota, Sioux Falls Youth Baseball, Sioux Falls Boys and Girls Club, Forward Sioux Falls and the Ice Sports Association just to mention a few. "Henry and Eleanor are people who have helped propel Sioux Falls to the thriving community it is today," said their nominators.

• CHS Inc. has been chosen as South Dakota's 2014 Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation. CHS is a leading energy, grains and food global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. CHS is represented by several co-ops located throughout South Dakota–all with the same passion and dedication to bettering our local communities through unified philanthropic efforts. In South Dakota, one in eight people is food insecure. Since 2011, CHS has hosted "Harvest for Hunger" every year, raising nearly $450,000 to aid Feeding South Dakota and its efforts to eliminate hunger. This funding, along with donated food and grain, has provided more than 1.7 million meals to individuals and families in need across the state. CHS, along with its members, have shown that they will not stand idly by, while South Dakotans go to sleep hungry. For this effort, Feeding South Dakota and Avera St. Mary's Foundation nominated CHS as the 2014 Philanthropic Corporation.

For more than 15 years, our 2014 Philanthropic Volunteer Fundraiser, Scott Lawrence, has served in a variety of roles in the annual Sioux Empire United Way campaign. He has yet to meet a challenge he cannot overcome or a need that cannot be addressed. As the 2009 Campaign Chair, Scott chose the theme, "Failure is not an option." to remind his cabinet of volunteers that, despite the recession, they were responsible to their community for the campaign's success. Sioux Empire United Way President Jay Powell remembers, "He bought little replicas of Apollo 13 for each of the cabinet members. It was a blast, and we made the 2010 Sioux Empire United Way campaign goal of $9,427,450."

• As his nominator, Shelley Hanisch with the Sioux Empire United Way wrote, "His voice is loud, his view is respected, and his leadership is appreciated wherever he chooses to contribute." Scott Lawrence serves as a volunteer fundraiser in the Sioux Falls community, with his efforts mirroring the motto of his marketing agency, Lawrence & Schiller, as he goes "The Extra Mile" to support efforts to enhance his community. From leadership on the South Dakota Symphony board and Volunteers of America capital project, to his local church and to yearly Sioux Empire United Way campaigns, Scott channels his enthusiasm and influence into projects that seek to improve the community. In addition, his involvement sets an example for his employees at Lawrence & Schiller, where they are challenged to give back.

The First-Ever Recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award is Anna Maher. As the recipient of this award, Anna will receive a $250 check from the award's sponsor, the South Dakota Community Foundation, to give to the charity of her choice. Anna has been heavily involved in many community service projects, especially through 4-H activities. As an eight-year member, Anna has held every leadership office in the River 4-H Club, participated in state and national 4-H leadership programs and been a great role model for younger members. She has successfully written grants for her 4-H club and her softball team to enhance the Stanley County Fairgrounds and the local softball program respectively. She also volunteers for the South Dakota Discovery Center, the Youth Involvement program, the Dakota Horse Stars Therapeutic Riding Center and the State Equestrian Special Olympics competition. Anna is an avid 4-H equestrian rider competing at County Horse Shows, the Central South Dakota Regional 4-H Rodeo and the State Finals 4-H Rodeo. She has participated in Girl Scouts for 10 years, completing several community projects. As her nominator recognized, "Anna's work ethic and sense of self-motivation help her to see things that need to be done and she makes it happen, whether it is by calling a meeting to order or using a little elbow grease."

• Miller, South Dakota, 2014 Outstanding Philanthropic Community, has a history of meeting challenges. The residents there share a service-minded mentality allowing them to complete fundraising and community service projects with relative ease. In 1997, the City of Miller partnered with the South Dakota Community Foundation when they formally accepted a challenge to raise $100,000 in order to receive $50,000 from the SDCF and Northwest Area Foundation. The community reached its goal in less than three years and in 2007 accepted another challenge raising $150,000 to receive another $25,000 from SDCF. While the community celebrated the completion of the second goal in 2012, an individual donor in the community pledged an additional $100,000 if the community could raise $100,000. Upon completion of this goal, the Miller Community Foundation will breach $900,000. This has resulted in 273 grants totaling more than $322,000 of financial support. The community accomplished this in addition to raising $1.1 million for the Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital, supporting the Backpack Buddies program, building a new elementary school and making improvements to the 4-H grounds. "Sustainability and growth are only bound by the drive and initiative of community residents, and Miller as shown no sign of stopping," nominator Stephanie Judson, President of SDCF, said. "It is because of its residents, businesses, local groups and foundations that Miller continues to thrive in a time when some rural towns are not."

–S.D. Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals