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Nonprofit seeking feedback on disbursement of $50 million grant to Native communities

Nick Tilsen
NDN Collective
Nick Tilsen leads the NDN Collective in Rapid City.

The NDN Collective is seeking feedback to help guide the disbursement of a $50 million grant. The Rapid City-based nonprofit announced a survey to explore the most impactful ways to distribute the money in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

The money was awarded last December by the Bush Foundation. Under that agreement, the NDN Collective must seek community feedback before distributing funds, which will go to Native American individuals and families.

“We’re currently under a planning grant,” said Teresa Peterson, a program manager working on the project. “We currently don’t have the $50 million. That is slated to happen later this year after we submit our design process, as well as how we plan to evaluate how we’re addressing the wealth gap.”

The NDN Collective is working with consulting firm Kauffman and Associates on the project, which is called the Collective Abundance Fund. When the survey closes in July, Kauffman will put together a report on the results of the outreach process.

The survey, which is intended for Indigenous adults, asks respondents to indicate which wealth-building activities they’re interested in. Peterson says home ownership, education and business development are common answers.

With the grant, she says, NDN Collective hopes to shift the conversation surrounding economic development within Indigenous communities.

“What if our best days are ahead of us?” she said. “What are those things that we can build upon from a framework of abundance? We want people to think about sustainability, and this redefinition of wealth, and what is needed for that.”

The NDN Collective will have a pre-launch for the Collective Abundance Fund in December. Before then, Peterson says the group will develop a strategy for allocating the funds based on the Kauffman report.

More information can be found at the NDN Collective website.

Slater Dixon is a junior at Augustana University studying Government and Data Science. He was born in Sioux Falls and is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.