"We have reached our capacity, we have patched and re-patched too many times, and the buildings are tired. In order to continue to serve the growing needs of our community, and keep our children safe, a new facility is essential."

-Bruce Long Fox 

Executive Director, Rural America Initiatives







RAI’s Head Start programs began in 1991, in trailer modular buildings intended to last 10-12 years. These buildings have now exceeded their intended lifespan by a dozen years.


We serve more Head Start families than ever before. Our increased capacity makes it necessary to rent additional space at a cost of thousands of dollars per year. The modular buildings are energy inefficient and utility bills for our three sites are shockingly high.


Rapid City's population continues to grow, with the rate of growth for the Native population more than double that of the non-Native population. We anticipate that the demand for our services will only increase.


Our research indicates that in order to best meet our current responsibilities, accommodate anticipated growth, serve the expanding needs of our community, and protect our Head Start accreditation, a new facility is required.


Current Head Start and
Early Head Start facilities



RAI has been the most effective service provider for Rapid City's neediest families for almost thirty years. In our years of service we have been project-focused and until now have not had a need to develop a network of financial support. 


Only 1% of our funding comes from local sources (through United Way of the Black Hills).


To launch the campaign the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community  generously awarded Rural America Initiatives $250,000 for the capital campaign, with the stipulation that it must be matched by other contributions by December 18, 2014. We met their challenge and our campaign began. 


In order to raise the funds necessary for a new facility, we have reached out to our community and others in the region and nation who share our mission to improve the lives of Native children and their families.

The community has responded with enthusiasm! We have been granted a $2 million gift from the Rapid City Vision Fund, $1 million from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, as well as gifts from many individuals, businesses and organizations. 

In December, 2016 an anonymous donor gave us a $500,000 challenged grant to be met over 3 years. For every dollar we raise, the donor will contribute $.50. 

We ended 2017 on a positive, hopeful note. We broke ground in October, we successfully met the first year of our challenge grant, and construction should be completed, weather permitting, in either late 2018 or early 2019! 

At the end of 2017 we had raised about $5 million of the $7.2 million project. We have work to do, but with the help of our community we will get there!


Rural America Initiatives  Receives $1,000,000 Grant from the 

John T. Vucurevich Foundation To Build an Early Childhood 

Education and Community Center

Rural America Initiatives, is pleased to announce that they have received a $1,000,000 grant from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation for their capital campaign.. This grant is conditional on meeting our fundraising goals and  will be added to a $2,000,000 gift from the City of Rapid City’s Vision Fund awarded last year.


“The John T. Vucurevich Foundation has been such a generous community partner and advocate for at-risk children and families like ours and we are so grateful for their vote of confidence in our work, and for their support. We could not realize this vision without their support, and we are deeply thankful” said RAI’s Executive Director Bruce Long Fox.




We conducted a feasibility study for us in the spring of 2015 to gage our capacity to raise money in the Rapid City Community. We got the results in the summer of 2015, and are encouraged that our campaign will be successful. 

We recruited four campaign co-chairs and a steering committee. We chose an architect and a construction manager at risk. We're on our way!



Rapid City Awards Rural America Initiatives $2,000,000 in Vision Funds for the New Building!

Rural America Initiatives is thrilled, humbled and proud to be the recipient of a $2,000,000 gift from the Rapid City's Vision Fund. This gift brings us to nearly half of our goal, and we have tremendous momentum moving forward.


We will break ground this year, with occupancy planned for 2018. Thank you citizens of Rapid City for this vote of confidence in us, the work that we do, and our value to the community.


We are so grateful!