Innovative philanthropic ideas maximize good in Sioux Falls

Oct. 29, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to helping someone reach his or her philanthropic goals.

“Philanthropy is about so much more than just giving away money or assets,” said Andy Patterson, president of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. “For the giver, philanthropy is an opportunity to express one’s passions and values — an opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves. In essence, it’s an opportunity to be a catalyst for positive and meaningful change.

“So the best philanthropic plans are customized to unite passion, purpose and strategy,” he said. “Philanthropy works the best when one’s generosity and values overlap with the needs of their community, creating a vision that’s collective and vibrant.”

A customized philanthropic strategy is exactly what South Dakota Trust Company needed when it first turned to the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation some time ago with an innovative idea for how to better support local nonprofits.

Inspired to help create a brighter and more vibrant tomorrow, South Dakota Trust Company first began encouraging its clients to give back to the state’s nonprofit industry shortly after the firm’s founding in 2002.

The idea was a noble one, but it also proved challenging, according to Pierce McDowell, South Dakota Trust Company co-founder and president.

Challenging because, McDowell said, although clients from outside South Dakota wanted to support the state’s nonprofit organizations, they didn’t always know where to give or who to give to.

So eventually Matt Tobin, the firm’s managing director and chief operating officer, developed an idea to make it easier. From there, he turned to the Foundation to make the idea come to life.

The firm established the South Dakota Trust Company Foundation, an endowment fund held at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

“We encourage all of our clients to give back to South Dakota,” Tobin said. “So now, we can say, ‘You can give directly to an organization or a cause. Or, as an alternative, if you don’t know where to give, you can give to our foundation, which supports nonprofits throughout the state.’ ”

Today, the firm holds both a donor-advised endowment fund and a donor-advised charitable fund at the Community Foundation.

“We had the idea that we wanted to build something that would last a long time, and so we established the endowment,” Tobin said. “We also wanted to be active right away, so that’s why we created the charitable fund.”

Tobin said establishing the foundation has been a great way to help clients give back to the state.

McDowell agreed. “These families that we’ve been fortunate enough to serve — we want them to consider themselves citizens of our state. Family and roots are important to us. Our business is about families and life and service, so doing this type of thing is important,” he said.

“It’s important work that’s making a difference,” McDowell and Tobin said, sharing that the South Dakota Trust Company Foundation’s endowment recently reached $1 million.

‘Spirit of generosity and engagement’

Coming off what it calls a “record year for local philanthropy,” the Community Foundation took in a record $40 million in new gifts last year, increasing its assets to more than $179 million, the largest in its 35-year history.

The numbers, Patterson said, illustrate the spirit of generosity and engagement alive in the community today. They also reflect the growing number of individuals, families and business who, like South Dakota Trust Company did, are choosing to come to the Foundation with ideas on how to make our community better.

“As a facilitator of dreams, we can matchmake between charities we know well, important grant programs, visionary donors and thought leaders, and an innovative city that’s hungry to participate in building a better tomorrow. We have the privilege of convening these resources to help drive meaningful social impact and to create positive change for our community,” he said. “In partnership with donors, we’ve granted more than $175 million to local nonprofits and causes since our founding and more than $18 million in the last year alone.”

Patterson said the strategy developed for South Dakota Trust Company is just one example of the Foundation’s commitment to developing tailored, customized philanthropic plans — an approach made possible because of the Foundation’s unique organizational structure.

A community investment team works with local nonprofits and community leaders to identify gaps, assess needs and explore possibilities. At that same time, a philanthropy team works with individuals, families, advisers, businesses and nonprofits, offering expertise in philanthropic strategy, charitable and organizational endowments, and legacy planning.

A good partner

Tobin said working with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has been a positive experience.

“They’ve been really good for us — handling the administrative side and helping us facilitate grants,” he said.

Tobin also said he values the insights and analysis offered by the Foundation’s community investment division — a team dedicated to working with local nonprofits and causes to understand community needs, explore possibilities and help develop solutions.

“There are times I’ve called on the Foundation and said, ‘Hey, tell me about this nonprofit,’ ” Tobin said. “In addition to being a good sounding board for us, they’ve also helped us develop some discipline around the practices of raising the money, accounting for it, making grants and reporting.”

Patterson said collaborating with South Dakota Trust Company is a “win-win.”

“Here, we harness the power of philanthropy to help improve the quality of life for members of our community,” Patterson said. “Partnering with South Dakota Trust Company on its foundation is another way to help support the nonprofits in our area who are doing important and meaningful work for our neighbors. We’re grateful to Pierce and Matt for spearheading the idea, and we’re grateful to their clients for their investment in our community.”

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Innovative philanthropic ideas maximize good in Sioux Falls

Their clients wanted to give back to South Dakota, but finding the right way took an innovative partnership. Here’s how South Dakota Trust Company and the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation made it happen.

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