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Rural American Initiatives Receives $250,000 Grant From Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux

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Rural America Initiatives (RAI) plans to build a new Head Start/Early Childhood Development/Community Center in Rapid City, South Dakota, with the help of a $250,000 Challenge match grant the nonprofit was awarded by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Prior Lake, Minnesota.

RAI has served the most at-risk American Indian families in Rapid City for 22 years. According to RAI Executive Director Bruce Long Fox, “We currently serve 90 families at Head Start and 40 families at the Early Head Start, prioritizing low income families who have moved to Rapid City from a reservation in the past year, as well as foster children and handicapped children. This gift is a great help to launch our campaign to replace buildings, designed to last 12-20 years that have now been in use for over 20 years.”

The conditions of the gift require that the $250,000 be matched with an additional $250,000 in funding from other sources by December 18, 2014. Long Fox said, “We ask for the community’s help in meeting this match. Any donations will actually represent a total of $500,000. If we do not match the Shakopee gift, those funds will be withdrawn.”

Rural America Initiatives (RAI), a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization, was founded in 1986 to serve the most vulnerable Native American families in Rapid City. RAI operates Head Start and Early Head Start programs, serving 130 families, and the Ateyapi (Fatherhood) program providing positive and sober role modeling and mentoring to approximately 1200 elementary, middle and high school students in the Rapid City School District.

For more information about RAI, or for information on how you can help, contact Deborah Gangloff at 341-3339.