RAI Welcomes Funding

April 06, 2017 BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ A Rapid City nonprofit will receive a $1 million grant toward the construction of a facility that will house a program that helps Native American children with school readiness.

Rural America Initiatives announced the grant Thursday from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, the Rapid City Journal (bit.ly/2nkPV0t ) reported.

“We could not realize this vision without their support, and we are deeply thankful,’’ nonprofit Executive Director Bruce Long Fox said.

The grant brings the group closer to the nearly $7 million it needs for the project.

Currently, the nonprofit’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs are housed in older modular structures spread among several South Dakota locations. The new facility will consolidate the programs into one location, along with its administrative offices currently downtown.

Head Start is a federally funded program promoting school readiness for children ages birth to 5 from low-income families. Rural America Initiatives’ programs are exclusively for Native American children. The group also has a role-modeling program for the students incorporated into Rapid City elementary, middle and high schools.

“What we try to do is have children imagine the future they want and give them the tools and a set of goals to get there,’’ Rural America official Deborah Gangloff said.

Gangloff said the group hopes to begin construction later this year, however she was unable to speak about the identified new facility site because it has not yet been formally acquired.