Rural America Initiatives receives two checks from First Interstate Bank

The Bank's "Believe in Local" campaign brought the nonprofit organization thousands of dollars

Rai Grant7RAPID CITY, S.D. – Keeping things quiet, First Interstate Bank surprised Rural America Initiatives with not one, but two checks Tuesday morning.

They received a $25,000 grant through the bank’s “Believe in Local” campaign.

“When First Interstate Bank and Great Western Bank merged, they created this ‘Believe in Local’ Campaign and it’s across our entire 14 state footprint and our local employees within our communities nominated local non-profits for $25,000 grants. So, our company set aside $1 million, so 40 grants to be given out to 40 different local nonprofits for $25,000 each,” Scott Reiman, mark president for First Interstate Bank in Rapid City, said.

Rural America Initiatives was picked out of 400 nonprofits that were nominated.

But the local donations committee decided to match the grant as well, giving $50,000 to the Head Start programs.

“One of our core values within First Interstate Bank is giving back to our communities — our commitment to our communities. We believe in promoting that through our employees,” Reiman said. “We encourage them to give back and donate and volunteer hours and time and money as well. With that being a core belief at First Interstate Bank, we just believe that that helps further enable out local nonprofits within our communities to continue to be successful.”

The check was a huge surprise and a great way to start out the day for bother organizations.

The bank felt like it was great timing, since Rural America Initiatives plans to start a fundraising campaign soon to expand their current facilities. They are aiming to add eight more classrooms.

“It was a real surprise, because the president of the First Interstate Bank is on a fundraising committee for us, but he had not mentioned that yet,” Bruce Long Fox, executive director of Rural America Initiatives, said. “And so, it was real nice because when you get some donations early on, it’s easier for other people. They trust in the project. So, we’re hoping that’ll encourage other people to donate to RAI as well.”

The reason for the expansion project is to help serve more Native American children between the ages of zero and five.Rai Grant11

They currently serve 170 kids at their Rapid City location and 130 at their Crow Creek location, but they know there’s more families they can help.

“According to the Indian Health Service, There’s about 2,400 Native American children between the ages of zero and five, and we have a 50% poverty rate,” Long Fox said. “So, there’s about 1,200 kids that are eligible for Head Start. So, there’s a lot of unserved kids out there and we would like to make room so that we can serve them and their families.”

“We target Native American families who’ve moved here from a federally recognized reservation within the last 12 months. We want to be able to provide free childcare and transportation to single moms, especially who are then free to go to work and earn the rent and earn the food and create a stable family environment for their family,”  he said. “And that’s kind of what in the long run we would like to see is that the kids will be more successful if they have a healthy family to grow up in.”

Anyone could donate to the Rural America Initiatives, you can call them at 605-341-339 or visit their website to learn more.

You can also join RAI in the Native American Day Parade that they are sponsoring for the seventh year. On Saturday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m., anybody can participate in the parade at Third and Main Street. And there will be prize money for first ($500), second ($300) and third place ($200).

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News