Recent Activities

Here’s a sampling of some of the great things the Dakota Foundation has accomplished.

 
 

2018

+ Veterans CARE Project (Social Finance), Boston, MA

The Veterans Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Employment (CARE) Project is a social impact bond organized and managed by Social Finance. The Project recognizes that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, from which up to 20% of returning veterans can suffer, can interfere greatly with a person’s ability to thrive economically and socially following their service. The CARE Project is the first social impact bond to target improved employment outcomes for returning veterans. Along with other non-profit and corporate investors, The Dakota Foundation is contributing up to $93,680 to the bond. The funds will enable local VAs to expand “Individual Placement and Support,” a promising approach to supportive employment, to 480 veterans over the next three years in New York City, Boston, and the state of Massachusetts. A consortium of federal, state, and local government partners, including the Veterans Administration, has committed to pay investors according to the measured success of the project.


+ Face It Together, Denver, CO

Founded in 2009, Face It Together, Inc. of Denver, CO works with individuals battling drug and alcohol addiction. In particular, it recognizes the social, psychological, and economic benefits that accrue to families, communities, and employers when addiction is successfully overcome. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation invested a total of $100,000 to help defray real estate and technology costs incurred by the opening of their new Addiction Management Center in Denver.


+ Veteran’s Path, Mt. Juliet, TN

Veteran’s Path works with returning veterans to promote meaning, purpose, and joy through mindfulness and camaraderie. Activities are open to all veterans who have served since 1990, and include meditation, physical and outdoor experiences, and community building, thereby helping veterans rediscover peace, acceptance, and honor for their lives ahead. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation provided a $60,000 PRI to cover the carrying costs associated with its CenterPoint Retreat programs for women, which are retroactively funded by the US Veterans’ Administration.


+ Open Arms, Inc. (Bryan’s House), Dallas, TX

Bryan’s House provides care, education, and support to families and children in need in Dallas, TX. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation contributed $50,000 to support Open Arms, Inc., an affiliated organization that provides medically-managed child care; respite care; emergency services; and family-centered support services to low-income families with children through Bryan’s House. Medically intensive childcare for children with special medical needs is prohibitively expensive; by providing such services, Open Arms enables parents to continue education or pursue full-time employment.


+ USAFA Endowment (Stamps Scholarship), USAFA, CO

In 2018, the Dakota Foundation provided a grant of $30,000 to the United States Air Force Academy Endowment to support the Stamps Family Charitable Scholarship Program Fund. The Stamps Family Charitable Scholarship Program at the Air Force Academy exists to enhance the leadership development activities for cadets selected as Stamps Leader Scholars. The program fund supports activities such as study abroad, undergraduate research projects, internships, leadership training, and travel for academic and co-curricular conferences.


+ Veterans Yoga Project, Alameda, CA

The Veterans Yoga Project is dedicated to improving the health and resilience of military veterans and their families through yoga. Working with veterans, active-duty personnel, veterans' organizations, and other groups dedicated to the well-being of veterans, the Yoga Project aims to deliver a full range of complementary and alternative therapies to facilitate recovery and strength. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation granted $25,000 to support the expansion and revision of the Project’s Mindful Resilience Training program.


+Veteran’s Path, Mt. Juliet, TN

Veteran’s Path works with returning veterans to promote meaning, purpose, and joy through mindfulness and camaraderie. Activities are open to all veterans who have served since 1990, and include meditation, physical and outdoor experiences, and community building, thereby helping veterans rediscover peace, acceptance, and honor for their lives ahead. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation contributed $50,000 to fund a four-month anchor program for women veterans in Colorado as well as a follow-up program evaluation and research project through the University of Alaska.


+ iLearn Collaborative, Denver, CO

iLearn Collaborative, of Denver, CO, supports K-12 educators by helping them implement effective, student-centered learning in their classrooms and online. In 2018, The Dakota Foundation is investing $90,000 support the curation of dozens of full-length courses at the middle- and high-school levels in multiple subjects, to be compiled in the Collaborative’s Digital Content Warehouse. This project will help provide public school instructors across Colorado and beyond with valuable, customizable, and quality new curricula.


+ Blue Star Recyclers, Colorado Springs, CO

Blue Star Recyclers provides suitable vocational opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities to ethically and profitably recycle electronics and other materials. This helps reduce the amount of toxic waste entering into the environment while engaging and empowering adults who might otherwise depend on charities or governmental assistance. Continuing our partnership in 2018, The Dakota Foundation invested another $20,000 to enable Blue Star to promote and educate others about its business model around the country.


2017

+ Bayaud Enterprises, Denver, CO

Bayaud Enterprises provides job training, employment services, and vocational rehabilitation to people with mental, emotional, and physical challenges in Denver, CO. Understanding that meaningful work and economic independence are central to happiness, Bayaud's mission is to create hope and opportunity by empowering people with disabilities and other barriers to employment to participate more fully in mainstream life and achieve self-sufficiency. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation made a PRI of $50,000 to help Bayaud pay down its existing mortgage and redirect its resources to its social mission.


+ Dayton Sewing Collaborative, Dayton, OH

The Dayton Sewing Collaborative uses sewing to encourage economic, creative, and civic opportunities in and around Dayton, OH, with an emphasis on assisting refugees and immigrants. Recognizing the role that sewing has historically played in the development of local economies and the economic empowerment of women, the Workforce Training Program imparts students with useful sewing skills and, if needed, training in English and standard workplace practices, all of which they might use to acquire secure employment in industry or otherwise put to profitable entrepreneurial use. In this way, the Collaborative supports economic growth in Dayton by providing practical education and valuable skills to those who can benefit the most from them. In 2017, The Dakota Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 to help support the Workforce Training Program.


+ Bryan's House, Dallas, TX

Bryan's House provides material and emotional support services to low-income families with children, including medically managed child care, respite care, and family counseling. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation provided a grant of $50,000 to help offset the operating costs of the Family Supportive Services Program at Bryan's House. The Family Supportive Services Program provides career counseling, financial assistance, housing assistance, and childcare to parents to enable them to continue education or employment with the ultimate goal of financial stability and independence.


+ Stamps Family Charitable Scholarship Program Fund, United States Air Force Academy

In 2017 The Dakota Foundation provided a grant of $30,000 to the United States Air Force Academy Endowment to support the Stamps Family Charitable Scholarship Program Fund. The Stamps Family Charitable Scholarship Program at the Air Force Academy exists to enhance the leadership development activities for cadets selected as Stamps Leader Scholars. The program fund supports activities such as study abroad, undergraduate research projects, internships, leadership training, and travel for academic and co-curricular conferences.


+ Center for Innovation Foundation, University of North Dakota

The UND Center for Innovation Foundation at the University of North Dakota supports innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers who aim to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies, and raise capital to realize their ideas. The Foundation also provides internships for UND students and supports the UND School for Entrepreneurship. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation provided $50,000 to help build the recently created Bruce Gjovig Endowment for Students and Startups at the Center for Innovation, named in honor of its founder and long-time director and CEO. The Gjovig Endowment will support entrepreneurial training programs while also providing venture development assistance to budding entrepreneurs and their startups.


+ Center for Innovation, University of North Dakota

In 2017 The Dakota Foundation provided a grant of $50,000 to the Center for Innovation to help support the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at the University of North Dakota's Center for Innovation. The Veterans' Entrepreneurship Program provides "boot camps" consisting of entrepreneurial education and assistance for distinguished and service disabled veterans who are interested in launching new ventures or strengthening their already existing businesses.


+ Veteran's Path, Mt. Juliet, TN

Veteran's Path works with returning veterans to promote meaning, purpose, and joy through mindfulness and camaraderie. Activities are open to all veterans who have served since 1990, and include meditation, physical and outdoor experiences, and community building, thereby helping veterans rediscover peace, acceptance, and honor for their lives ahead. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation granted $50,000 to Veteran's Path to help fund curriculum formalization, capacity building, and plans for expansion.


+ Veterans Yoga Project, Alameda, CA

The Veterans Yoga Project is dedicated to improving the health and resilience of military veterans and their families through yoga. Working with veterans, active-duty personnel, veterans' organizations, and other groups dedicated to the well-being of veterans, the Yoga Project aims to deliver a full range of complementary and alternative therapies to facilitate recovery and strength. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation granted $47,570 to support a home study program for professionals and paraprofessionals who work with veterans, to expand development programs, and help fund existing classes.


+ Blue Star Recyclers, Colorado Springs, CO

Blue Star Recyclers provides suitable vocational opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities to ethically and profitably recycle electronics and other materials. This helps reduce the amount of toxic waste entering into the environment while engaging and empowering adults who might otherwise depend on charities or governmental assistance. Continuing our partnership in 2017, the Foundation made another two PRIs totaling $100,000 in enable Blue Star to promote and educate others about its business model around the country.


+ Credit Builders' Alliance, Washington, DC

The Credit Builders' Alliance aims to help low-income clients build credit as a means of achieving long-term financial stability and independence. Focusing on helping nonprofit lenders navigate credit bureau credentialing processes, its services include financial education, technical support, credit-building training, and referrals. In 2017 The Dakota Foundation made a PRI of $50,000 in the Credit Builders' Alliance to seed a Small Dollar Loan Technical Assistance and Loan Fund, intended to assist the Alliance's nonprofit affiliates in offering microloans to their clients. The PRI will enable a demonstration project touting the possibilities of the fund.

2016

+ Blue Star Recyclers, Colorado Springs, CO

Blue Star Recyclers provides suitable vocational opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities to ethically and profitably recycle electronics and other materials. This helps reduce the amount of toxic waste entering into the environment while engaging and empowering adults who might otherwise depend on charities or governmental assistance. In 2016 The Dakota Foundation made two PRIs totaling $59,000, enabling Blue Star to purchase equipment necessary for expanding its operations.


+ Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO

Discover Goodwill provides numerous programs designed to help individuals and families attain their highest potential, backed by its nonprofit thrift stores. Since 2015, The Dakota Foundation has partnered with Discover Goodwill to provide numerous PRIs to help strengthen and consolidate many of its most innovative and beneficial programs. The Fresh Start Commercial Laundry employs dozens of people, many of whom have disabilities, and provides them with job coaching, transportation, and benefits. In 2015, The Dakota Foundation provided a PRI of $145,000 to help purchase a more efficient and versatile washing machine. The nonprofit thrift store, which also employs disadvantaged adults, is essential to the financial stability of the Discover Goodwill's array of programs. Due to real estate market pressures, the previous thrift store in Woodland Park, CO, was small and uncompetitive with the region's for-profit thrift store chains. In 2015 and 2016, The Dakota Foundation made a PRI in two installments totaling $500,000 to help Discover Goodwill build a new, better, and much larger store.


+ Women's Bean Project, Denver, CO

The Women's Bean Project addresses the root causes of chronic poverty and unemployment by way of on-the-job training and personalized intervention and support services. Disadvantaged women are hired to work for six to twelve months in a safe, accepting environment to profitably produce gourmet soups, gift baskets, and other food products, thereby gaining financial stability, professional experience, soft skills, and self-esteem, and encouraging a future of economic and personal independence. In 2016 The Dakota Foundation directed a PRI of $50,000 to help support the Bean Project's Seed to Sprout Growth Initiative, designed to build resources by which to expand its operations and reach more women in need.


+ Exeter College – Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Internship, Oxford, UK

As a past investor in and partner with both Exeter College at Oxford University (UK) and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, in 2016 The Dakota Foundation was proud to announce support for a pilot program to implement a summer internship at the Fine Arts Center by a student from Exeter. During the summer of 2016 Exeter student Charanpreet Khaira will reside in Colorado Springs and intern at the Fine Arts Center, contributing her own skills and knowledge while gaining real-life experience with the operation and management of a non-profit organization.


+ Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, University of North Dakota Center for Innovation, Grand Forks, ND

The Center for Innovation’s Veterans’ Entrepreneurship Program provides an entrepreneurial learning and development opportunity for service disabled veterans and those who have uniquely distinguished themselves in the military, an at-risk population. The program (modeled on other successful programs at other universities) is an “entrepreneur’s bootcamp” designed for veterans who are interested in starting a venture as a means to financial independence or that have an existing business that they would like to grow. In 2016 The Dakota Foundation committed $25,000 to help support the startup and operation costs of the program and attract additional donors. The grant will help provide training to 30-45 veterans a year.


+ Aldo Leopold Entrepreneurship Program, Silver City, NM

With a challenging curriculum emphasizing direct experience, inquiry learning, intellectual and creative stimulation, community involvement, and environmental stewardship, the Aldo Leopold Charter School’s mission aligns closely with that of The Dakota Foundation. In 2015, The Dakota Foundation awarded ALCS a $25,000 grant to help cover costs associated with its participation in the Grant County Youth Entrepreneur Program, a program offering opportunities for middle and high school students to study and learn about entrepreneurship, such as developing a product for sale, marketing it, and managing finances. As of April 2016, there were 131 students from grades six through twelve participating in the program, some of whom have even begun to earn profits from their own local business ventures, such as a student-run smoothie bar. In recognition of its continued success at teaching the value of entrepreneurship and business discipline within at-risk communities, the Dakota Foundation elected to repeat its investment in 2016 with a grant of another $25,000 to support its costs through the next academic year.

2015

+ Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado—a member of the Feeding America network of food banks—is a regional hub for food acquisition and distribution in the fight against hunger. The organization connects nutritious food resources to those who are at risk of hunger, by supplying food to over 300 Southern Colorado partner agencies: community-based pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters. Last year, Care and Share distributed 19 million pounds of food, the equivalent over 15.8 million meals, to 108,000 people. Care and Share is forming GoalZero, a Colorado Springs-based waste-diversion social enterprise that will increase the rate of waste diversion in the region along with the nonprofit’s food and monetary resources. The Dakota Foundation has committed a $50,000 Program-Related Investment (PRI) to support GoalZero on its path toward a viable business. The Dakota Foundation is proud to partner with Care and Share in leveraging a business approach to improving their core mission, achieve greater efficiency, and minimize waste.


+ Discover Goodwill, Colorado Springs, CO

For decades, Discover Goodwill and its operations have empowered at-risk individuals to live independent and purpose-filled lives. In 2014, the Dakota Foundation committed $100,000 to Goodwill’s Veterans Vehicle Maintenance Program, a new initiative in conjunction with Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs to provide valuable mechanic skills to unemployed and underemployed individuals, particularly veterans. With the Dakota Foundation’s seed money, Goodwill was able to raise sufficient funds to launch the program, and the program has proven effective to date. Inspired by this initial success, the Dakota Foundation decided to make several PRIs in support of Discover Goodwill. The first two will fund a new retail facility, while a third will help purchase a new washer for Goodwill’s commercial laundry operation in Colorado Springs. Both investments will therefore enable new revenues and employment opportunities. The Dakota Foundation’s investments recognize Discover Goodwill’s contributions to promoting self-sufficiency in Colorado Springs by providing training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals in the area, many of them veterans or the disabled. Such opportunities provide them with the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in the workforce and safeguard their independence.


+ Aldo Leopold Charter School, Silver City, NM

Aldo Leopold Charter School was founded in 2005 by a group of concerned parents and experienced teachers to provide an alternative high school education to students in Silver City, NM. With a challenging curriculum emphasizing direct experience, inquiry learning, intellectual and creative stimulation, community involvement, and environmental stewardship, the school has been recognized nationally, and has expanded to include grades 6-12. In 2015, The Dakota Foundation awarded ALCS a $25,000 grant to help cover costs associated with its participation in the Grant County Youth Business Incubator, a program offering opportunities for middle and high school students to study and learn about entrepreneurship. Students contribute to an “entrepreneurship learning laboratory,” in which they acquire entrepreneurial skills and successful business habits by owning, managing, and operating real, dollar-generating physical and virtual businesses. By directly providing entrepreneurship experience to Silver City youth, the project aligns with The Dakota Foundation’s mission to support education and boost entrepreneurship as a means of social progress.


+ Nexus Recovery Program, Dallas, TX

The Nexus Recovery Program is a non-profit organization in Dallas that provides support to women struggling with addiction. Nexus provides a safe haven and recovery services to women living with addiction or abuse. Importantly, they are one of the few programs in Texas that allow women to bring children with them, and they are the only program in the Dallas area that is equipped to serve pregnant teens and teen mothers, thus boosting the success rate of the program. In line with The Dakota Foundation’s commitment to supporting mass education as one of the most important avenues to economic independence, in 2015 the board committed $50,000 to help cover costs associated with its adolescent care programs.


+ Student Venture Capital Summit by DVG, Grand Forks, ND

The Dakota Venture Group (DVG) at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks is the nation’s first student-run for-profit venture capital investment fund, established in 2006 with the support of The Dakota Foundation. It provides opportunities for students to experience and learn the ways of venture capital by investigating and investing in promising new enterprises, thereby fostering economic growth while preparing the next generation of angel investors. In 2015, the Dakota Foundation contributed $15,000 to help sponsor the DVG’s first student-led capital summit, the Student Venture Capital Summit . The Summit will be held Nov 8-10 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks, ND.

The Summit will attract young entrepreneurs from all over the nation to interact, share ideas, and learn of new investment opportunities. Attendees will experience a fast-paced hands-on experiential learning opportunity to better understand venture capital. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with professional venture capitalists, screen a company, complete a due diligence, network with like-minded students, and experience North Dakota. The goal for this Student Venture Capital Summit is to educate students on Venture Capital opportunities and foster personal growth.

Please see the DVG website for further information.


+ Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is a private, non-profit institution consisting of a museum, a live-performance theater, and an arts school. For nearly a century it has lain at the heart of the region’s cultural and artistic development. By promoting the fine arts and the aesthetics of the Rocky Mountains, it supports local artists, the business climate of downtown Colorado Springs, and the cultural literacy of the broader population. To facilitate the growth and sustainability of the Fine Arts Center, in 2015 The Dakota Foundation committed up to $50,000 to match one-to-one any profits generated by new or expanded commercial activities, including a museum shop and regular public events for local artists and patrons. It also provided $15,000 in the form of a PRI to help provide inventory for the shop, and is committed to supplement support from new donors through the spring of 2016 on a one-for-two basis. The Dakota Foundation’s support has helped revive fundraising activities at the Fine Arts Center, including new donor outreach in the form of galas and other events. Gift shop revenue has increased dramatically, as are contributions from new donors.

2014

+ Atlas Preparatory School, Colorado Springs, CO

Atlas Preparatory School is a fledgling charter school that provides high-quality education to children living in poverty, with an emphasis on intensive character and community development. Its curriculum promotes the cultivation independent and self-reliant citizens not only through academics, but also athletics, the arts, ethics, good health, and community service. Recognizing its role in encouraging self-reliance, in 2014 The Dakota Foundation committed $50,000 to Atlas’s capital campaign to erect new high school facilities, including classrooms, offices, and recreational and athletic spaces.


+ Saranam, Albuquerque, NM

Founded in 2004, Saranam is a 2-year housing and education program in Albuquerque assisting families in transitioning beyond homelessness. Its unique model has proven successful by targeting not just the alleviation of immediate suffering, but also the underlying causes of homelessness by providing housing, vocational training and education, and life skills within a supportive community of peers and volunteers. Recognizing Saranam’s efforts to promote self-reliance and independence, in 2014 The Dakota Foundation seeded an endowment with $50,000, the proceeds of which will support Saranam’s vocational and educational programs.


+ Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC), Grand Forks, ND

For 35 years, the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks has worked with local organizations and individuals to end cycles of violence by providing services, training, and new ideas to people in need. In 2014 The Dakota Foundation committed $50,000 to an endowment to support the CVIC’s Education Fund. In line with The Dakota Foundation’s commitment to promoting self-sufficiency, the Education Fund will provide short-term scholarships to women trapped in abusive relationships due to economic deprivation and a lack of skills. The scholarships will provide for vocational training, childcare, and other living expenses, thereby empowering the recipients and their children to escape dependency and the abusive situations that often accompany it.


+ Discover Goodwill, Colorado Springs, CO

For decades, Discover Goodwill and its operations have empowered at-risk individuals to live independent and purpose-filled lives. In 2014, the Dakota Foundation committed $100,000 to Goodwill’s Veterans Vehicle Maintenance Program, a new initiative in conjunction with Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs to provide valuable mechanic skills to unemployed and underemployed individuals, particularly veterans. Students receive formal training in vehicle maintenance and help maintain Goodwill fleet of trucks and vans. The grant recognizes Goodwill’s contributions to promoting self-sufficiency by helping aspiring mechanics acquire the training and experience necessary to succeed in the workforce and safeguard their independence. With the Dakota Foundation’s seed money, Goodwill was able to attract additional donors and raise funds sufficient to fully launch the program.