Faces in the Crowd: Lori Barnett

Local business owner and real estate agent Lori Barnett spends her free time volunteering with multiple organizations throughout the Black Hills.

Barnett got her real estate license 7 years ago, and 5 years after that, she purchased VIP Properties

Aside from owning the business, the Piedmont native finds time to volunteer for Working Against Violence Inc(WAVI), the Rapid City Area School District(RCAS) and the Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity.

"Selfishly, it gives me a sense of purpose,” said Barnett. “I’ve struggled in my life, and now I’m in a position where I can really give back and be able to help those in the community."

Six years ago, Barnett joined the WAVI board and is now the board president.

"Not only is her expertise valuable,” said WAVI Development Director Kristina Simmons, “but the connection she has with the community – she has a strong reputation. And as a strong business woman and philanthropist and volunteer, she’s got great qualities for leadership and she’s very humble as well." 

Past life experiences motivate Barnett to give back to women affected by domestic violence.

"I’m humbled to be on the WAVI board and to be able to help in my small way,” said Barnett, “just for my organization that helps so many people. And it’s so important for the community. Domestic violence really reaches every aspect of people’s lives, whether its school, or work or personal levels."

Barnett is also a member of the RCAS Facility Task Force, assisting Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon. The task force works to develop a master plan to address the long-term facility needs of the district.

Being a single mother of three RCAS students, this position hits close to home.  

"Dr. Simon has just done an amazing job since she took her position,” said Barnett. “And as we know, it’s a never-ending battle with the budget. And [we] try to be able to serve the children as best as we can, so to be able to volunteer on these committees is certainly important."

She brings her real estate knowledge to her commitment to Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, helping to provide homes to people in need.

"It’s tough, you know,” said Barnett. “I’m a single mom and to be able to qualify for a mortgage and be able to make that down payment – it’s tough. “So Habitat for Humanity is a great organization here in the Hills."

She has great reputation within the community for her dedication to giving back.

"She’s humble,” said Simmons. “She’s gracious, she’s calm, she’s strategic, and she’s very trustworthy."

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