Rural America Initiatives (RAI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit social services agency targeting low-income Native American families.

We address the needs of our community through educational programs that include resources for the whole family. 


Started in 1986, we are the largest, non-profit, continuously operating Native American organization in Rapid City.


We serve our families through Head Start and Early Head Start programs for children from pre-natal through age 5, and through mentoring programs in Rapid City's elementary, middle and high schools.


We employ over 100 full time staff; ninety  percent are Native American.


All of our Activities:


...are alcohol and chemical dependence free (all activities/all staff)


...provide role models demonstrating success for Native families


...strive to support the Seven Lakota Values:


  • Respect (Wauonihan)

  • Generosity (Wacante Ognake)

  • Wisdom (Woksape)

  • Humility (Wahwala)

  • Compassion (Waunshila)

  • Service "helps the last one"(Wawoihakikte)

  • Honesty (Wowicake)




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RAI Board training with Tom Allen June 2021

We are governed by a seven member, all Native Board of Directors. 


Our Current Board of Directors:


Carol Marshall-Coon, Chairperson, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Home Health Care Provider

Kati Pechota, Vice-Chair, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Teacher-Wilson Elementary, Rapid City Area Schools

Jacquie Arpan, Secretary, Oglala Sioux Tribe

Community Health Education, Sioux San Hospital

Sharon No Heart, Treasurer, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Ancestors' Art of the Black Hills, Owner


Kathy LaBonte, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Registered Nurse

Denice Murphy, Member, Three Affiliated Tribes of ND

Indian Child Welfare Expert

Charles Durrell Robertson Jr., Member, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Attorney         

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Bruce Long Fox, Rural America Initiatives

Executive Director