Become a Champion of Change

Being an advocate means to speak in support of a cause or mission. Being an advocate is rewarding in the sense that you get to work towards a goal you are passionate about with like-minded people. It is also rewarding to those who are impacted by the cause. Your commitment and effort can make a difference in someone's life. 

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Get Involved on our cabinet

Our funding decisions are lead by community leaders and peers that make up our regional board of directors and local community cabinets.

We have four community cabinets that include: Rapid City, Sturgis, Northern Hills (Lead/Deadwood, Belle Fourche and Spearfish), and Southern Hills (Edgemont, Custer, Hill City, Hot Springs, Keystone). 

Cabinet members meeting once a month and responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Participating in reviewing grant applications and making decisions in allocations
  • Annual campaign planning - i.e: Workplace campaign ideas, community outreach, etc
  • Advocating for community needs

If you are interested in participating on our cabinet, please contact Jamie Toennies at or 605-343-5872

Get involved with Early Learning efforts through Black Hills Reads


According to Early Learner SD,

  • Childrens' health sits at 45th out of 50 states.
  • Childhood education ranks 31st out of 50 state
  • 43% of people in SD live in a child care desert. A child care desert is any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots
  • Children who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out and dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.

Early Learner SD's vision is that all children have access to high-quality early learning experiences and environments to create a solid foundation for lifelong success.

Join the movement! Much of this policy and advocacy work is happening within the Early Learner SD work. If you are interested in becoming involved, we can get you connected - contact Early Learner SD.

Become an Early Learner South Dakota community!

Get Involved with our Mental Health Initiative

According to the 2019 Community Needs Assessment, access and affordability of Mental Health services throughout the Black Hills is the #1 identified area of need. We recently launched our Mental Health Initiative to address this area of need. If you would like to get involved or learn more, please contact Murray Lee, Mental Health Initiative Director at, or (605) 343-5872.