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Forward Sioux Falls raises nearly $17 million for economic development

Forward Sioux Falls

Forward Sioux Falls began its latest fundraising effort in November 2020. Less than a year later, it’s raised a record breaking $16.8 million.

The money will fund economic development initiatives in the greater Sioux Falls region through 2026.

Forward Sioux Falls is a public-private partnership between the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. It's raised $68 million since 1987.

Companies usually compete for workers and business, said Dave Rozenboom, co-chair of Forward Sioux Falls and president of First Premier Bank.

“But when it comes to making the economic pie bigger for Sioux Falls, we set those differences aside and we put our time talent and treasure together and we go ahead and do everything we can do to continue to expand our economy. And if we do that, there’s room for everybody and opportunity for all," he said.

Businesses raised about 80 percent of the funds. The rest came from public entities, mostly from the city of Sioux Falls and regional airport.

Startup Sioux Falls Graphic

A major goal of the campaign is to address the worker shortage — to match the amount of workers to the growing number of businesses and jobs.

Rozenboom is especially excited for the Career Connections program. Businesses team up with school districts to offer career exploration and mentorship to at-risk students.

Forward Sioux Falls’ funds are managed and dispersed by the development foundation and chamber of commerce.

Arielle Zionts, rural health care correspondent, is based in South Dakota. She primarily covers South Dakota and its neighboring states and tribal nations. Arielle previously worked at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, where she reported on business and economic development.