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Association of Fundraising Professionals – South Dakota Chapter Recognizes Outstanding South Dakota Philanthropists

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In conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, the South Dakota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will recognize individuals, businesses and communities for their extraordinary work in philanthropy in South Dakota. On October 29, the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon will be held at 11:30 AM at the Kelly Inn and Conference Center in Yankton, SD to recognize those who have given time, talent and treasure to improve the lives of other South Dakotans.

Larry and Diane Ness will be honored as the 2019 Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year. South Dakotans at heart, Larry and Diane Ness take pride in the organizations and projects they have supported throughout the state. Since 1983 the Nesses have called Yankton home and while many of the projects they have supported together have started in Yankton, organizations and projects throughout our state have been recipients of their generosity. Their financial support has been instrumental to projects that have made an impact on thousands of people in South Dakota. They have supported education, the arts, children’s and social services, athletics, and countless other initiatives - many of them sparking growth and expansion in the community or across the state. Larry and Diane were nominated by the Avera Sacred Heart Foundation.

Sammons Financial will be honored as the 2019 Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation. Nominated by Lifescape, Sammons Financial Group donated more than $3.6 million dollars to local organizations in 2018, and their employees contributed more than 6800 volunteer hours, encouraged by their employer. They empower their employees to participate in community involvement committees, providing them with funds to donate to local charities at their discretion. They give to human services agencies, healthcare groups, veterans groups, and so much more.

The City of Yankton will be named the 2019 Outstanding Philanthropic Community. The philanthropic culture of Yankton is what makes this community survive and thrive. The Yankton Area Foundation has raised more than $860,000 and distributed nearly $435,000 back into the community. The Yankton School District has partnerships with the local Boys and Girls Club and many local donors support the district by providing additional support. The city’s biggest partnership has been “Dive in Yankton” to fundraise for the Huether Family Aquatics Center. The capital campaign raised nearly $2 million for the facility. Yankton County has a strong commitment to philanthropy contributing over $2 million to local causes this past year. These are just a few examples of the culture of philanthropy that makes Yankton this year’s Outstanding Philanthropic Community.

Dave Brende, Sioux Falls, SD will be named the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. Nominated by Children’s Home Society, Dave is the President of the local ABATE group. He has given many hundreds of volunteer hours to organize fundraising events but more importantly he takes the time to build relationships. Through his leadership the local ABATE group has organized poker runs that have raised more than $130,000 for Children’s Home Society. From gifts of food and beverages, to media and advertising, to tents and paper products and raffle and auction items, people respond to Dave’s genuine heart.

Ben Connor, Howard, SD will be named the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. Nominated by Horizon Health Foundation, Ben led the Tigers Step Up 2 Cancer Campaign (TSU2C) through the Howard Student Council to raise awareness and dollars to help patients affected by cancer in Miner County. Dollars raised from the campaign help patients in Miner County with travel expenses, food expenses, and pays for colonoscopy procedures for those in need. Ben has spent nearly 50 hours this summer working on the TSU2C Campaign. He joined the foundation team on all sponsor solicitation asks and made the asks himself - nearly $6,000 from seven business in and around Miner County. He personally hand-wrote thank you notes to each of these sponsors. He is the main contact to lead the entire student body, along with the staff. Ben has helped raise over $21,000 since the program’s inception in 2017.


 The South Dakota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a membership organization that serves as the standard bearer for professional fundraising. Through training, professional development, and networking opportunities, the organization strives to raise the level of expertise for fundraisers representing nonprofit entities of all sizes. If you have questions about National Philanthropy Day, please contact the AFP Chapter Coordinator, Angie Kuiper at (605) 743-0927. Tickets are still available.