Lost&Found is one of two South Dakota recipients of the 2023 Bush Prize, a prestigious award honoring nonprofits in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The Bush Foundation funds the awards, and the South Dakota Community Foundation administers the South Dakota award program. Lost&Found will receive $185,000 to support its work.
“To receive the Bush Prize for Community Innovation is the ultimate recognition and validation of Lost&Found’s deep commitment to meeting community needs in South Dakota,” said Lost&Found Executive Director & CEO Erik Muckey. “This is a tremendous honor for our staff, our Board of Directors, the communities we serve, and above all, the thousands of young adults in our state who have made mental health and suicide prevention a priority in our state.”
Forty-eight nonprofits applied for the award in South Dakota; four were chosen as finalists, and two, Lost&Found and Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, won the award.
“We are thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to recognize both Black Hills Special Services Cooperative and Lost&Found for their innovative efforts to improve the lives of those they serve,” said Stephanie Judson, SDCF President & CEO, in a news release on the SDCF website. “Both organizations offer resources and diligently pursue solutions that benefit individuals and their families.”
The Bush Prize honors nonprofits “that are highly valued within their communities and have a track record of successful community problem solving,” according to the news release. “It’s a recognition of the transformational impact these organizations are having throughout MN, ND, SD and the 23 Native nations that share that same geography. Bush Prize winners have a drive to bring communities together to think bigger and differently about their approach to solving problems in innovative and collaborative ways.”
The full text of the news release is below.
Announcing the Bush Prize: South Dakota Winners!
The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) is proud to partner with the Bush Foundation to introduce the 2023 Bush Prize: South Dakota winners: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative (BHSSC) and Lost&Found. BHSSC will receive the maximum award of $500,000 and Lost&Found will receive $185,000. As finalists for the award, Dakota Resources and LifeScape will also receive $10,000.
“We are thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to recognize both Black Hills Special Services Cooperative and Lost&Found for their innovative efforts to improve the lives of those they serve,” said Stephanie Judson, SDCF President & CEO. “Both organizations offer resources and diligently pursue solutions that benefit individuals and their families.”
SDCF received 48 applications for the 2023 Bush Prize: South Dakota. Applications were evaluated on how the organization demonstrated being inclusive, collaborative and resourceful in their processes, how the organization demonstrated patterns of innovative solutions and how the organization leadership fosters a culture of innovation, in addition to being strong in terms of governance and finances. Out of 48 applications, 4 organizations were selected as finalists for the Bush Prize: South Dakota and two were selected as winners.
BHSSC practices innovative and collaborative processes in a number of ways in their work with schools and families across South Dakota. BHSSC provides specialized educational services and resources to cater to the unique learning needs of students and families in the Black Hills region and across the state. BHSSC is a champion for community-led education across the state, acting collaboratively as a liaison between schools and government policies. BHSSC has recently focused on boosting family engagement in education and works to empower local school leaders to better engage and include families in education initiatives. BHSSC conducts leadership training internally as well as in the communities they serve. Every school community is unique, and BHSSC works with each school to adapt programming and meet students and families where they are in order to improve student outcomes.
Lost&Found advocates for mental health awareness and provides resources for individuals facing mental health challenges, reducing stigma and connecting people with vital support. Lost&Found was formed by high school students and has focused their efforts on the target demographic of 15-34 years old. Lost&Found demonstrates innovation through their data-driven and collaborative work with colleges across South Dakota, which has included developing and deploying a Campus Resilience Index as a planning tool, guiding a student-to-student mentorship program, and currently developing a mobile app as a peer support tool for the digital age. In addition to internal practices that promote leadership and innovation internally, Lost&Found has already made an impact in driving messaging for mental health awareness across South Dakota.
“BHSSC and Lost&Found are both organizations that exemplify what it means to be a Bush Prize winner. In every area of their work within their organizations and with those they serve, they represent innovative solutions. We are so excited to be able to lift both of these organizations up as an example of what it means to be a Bush Prize winner,” says Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer.
The Bush Prize celebrates organizations that are highly valued within their communities and have a track record of successful community problem solving. It’s a recognition of the transformational impact these organizations are having throughout MN, ND, SD and the 23 Native nations that share that same geography. Bush Prize winners have a drive to bring communities together to think bigger and differently about their approach to solving problems in innovative and collaborative ways. Bush Prize awards are up to 25% of an organization’s last fiscal year expenses, with a maximum of $500,000. There are four Bush Prize awards throughout the region, operated by four community grant partners in partnership with the Bush Foundation. SDCF administered the 2023 Bush Prize for South Dakota.
“Bush Prize winners are doing big things in partnership with their communities,” says Jen Ford Reedy, Bush Foundation President. “I love that the Bush Prize gives flexible funding to organizations that are highly valued by their own communities. One of our operating values is to “work beyond ourselves,” which includes the commitment to both lead and follow. We are following the good counsel of the South Dakota Community Foundation as we jointly award the Bush Prize to organizations they selected. We congratulate the Bush Prize winners and celebrate their work!”
Bush Prize: South Dakota will be made available to nonprofits again in 2024.
To learn more about funding opportunities offered by the SDCF, including the Bush Prize: South Dakota, please visit our website at https://www.sdcommunityfoundation.org/