United Way of the Black Hills raises $2,150,715 for 2020-2021 Campaign Season

United Way of the Black Hills has sights on 2021 goals as they set own record high for most funds ever raised in a year


Date: 2/4/2021

Contact: Audrea Amstutz

Email: audrea@unitedwayblackhills.org 


RAPID CITY – United Way of the Black Hills (UWBH) exceeded their campaign goal of $2,052,000 by raising $2,150,715 to fund nearly 50 nonprofit agencies throughout the Black Hills. 

In addition, the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund raised $474,030 in 2020. 100% of funds from the COVID-19 Relief Fund were distributed to nonprofit organizations that applied for and received funding.

Through both fundraising efforts, UWBH was able to raise $2,624,745 in donations for the 2020 year. The most in donations that UWBH has ever raised during a year was $2,409,211 for the 2014 campaign season.

One year ago, United Way of the Black Hills launched their new strategic framework - transitioning from a traditional fundraising model to addressing top community needs by creating new initiatives and funding organizations providing necessary services and resources through grant funding opportunities.

“We revitalized and redefined our commitment to fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in the Black Hills region. Through our findings in our 2019 Community Needs Assessment* our goal for 2020 was to launch our new Mental Health Initiative and also design new grant opportunities to address the top pressing community issues indicated in the study and foster long-term outcomes,” says Jamie Toennies, Executive Director of United Way of the Black Hills.

The implementation of this strategic impact work started sooner than anticipated when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Black Hills. UWBH was able to create a specialized grant opportunity for nonprofits to address some of the urgent pressing needs like access to food, emergency shelter, and economic assistance.

“COVID-19 exacerbated many of the chronic issues we are working to address in the Black Hills. According to the SD Nonprofit COVID-19 survey*, 88% of nonprofit organizations that participated expressed a negative impact; from increase in demand for resources, to adapting their models to continue to serve those in need. We have a long road to recovery as a region, but we are committed to supporting our communities to rebuild and become more resilient” says Toennies.

Over the next months, our UWBH board will review 2020-2021 allocations and determine the most effective way to utilize these additional donations raised beyond the 2020-2021 fundraising goal.

“The goal as we move forward into 2021 is to provide new grant opportunities that we can invest in programs and resources that address long-term solutions to the chronic needs mentioned in our 2019 Community Needs Assessment*. Donors will have the ability to connect donations and advocacy efforts to work they are most interested in helping such as education, health, and financial or basic needs resources. UWBH already has these impact designation options for Black Hills Reads (education initiative) and the Mental Health Initiative. In addition, donors will still be able to make designated donations to the areas they serve (Rapid City, Sturgis, Northern Hills areas and Southern Hills areas),” says Lorie Vega, Board President of UWBH.

*Click here to view the 2019 Community Needs Assessment: https://www.unitedwayblackhills.org/community-needs-assessment

About United Way of the Black Hills

United Way of the Black Hills unites people and resources to improve lives in the Black Hills by delivering measurable long-term solutions to community issues in education, financial stability, and health. Our initiatives include Black Hills Reads, an education initiative, and our recently adopted Mental Health initiative. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and programs that serve the greatest needs in our community. UWBH serves the areas of Rapid City, Sturgis, Northern Hills (Belle Fourche, Deadwood/Lead and Spearfish) and the Southern Hills (Custer, Edgemont, Hill City, Hot Springs and Keystone).