You may have heard of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, but maybe you're not really sure about what it does. Now the non-profit and its mission will be more visible to everyone as it prepares to move into an historic railroad depot downtown. It's all part of the group's mission to make Sioux Falls a better place to live.
The 1887 Illinois Central Railroad Depot on the east bank of the Big Sioux is a little piece of history that often goes unnoticed. Half the building is empty; the other half houses federal immigration offices, but that will soon be changing.
"We started out wanting to preserve an old railroad depot and it's really exciting to have the opportunity for the Illinois Central because we are so committed to the revitalization of the Whittier neighborhood and this whole East Bank. It's just a win-win for us and the community to do this project now," Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation President Candy Hanson said.
That $1.5 million project for the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation means the Foundation will purchase and remodel the building before moving in next summer. It's being made possible through the Scherschligt family, which built Cherapa Place, and nine other family donations.
"I think it's important for all of us as individuals, or families like the Scherschligt family or organizations like the Community Foundation, to really care about keeping a strong, vital downtown and we're just thrilled to be a part of that," Hanson said.
The Community Foundation takes in about $10 million a year, only to give it all away. The organization creates endowments for anyone who wants to set them up to fund worthy projects in Sioux Falls.
"Our visibility is important to community because people in Sioux Falls need to know there's a place where you can come with a dream of doing something wonderful for the Sioux Falls area and we'll help you get that job done. It could be a short-term special project. It could be a family endowment; it could be an endowment for another non-profit, but we'll help you get that job done. We want every one to know where we are and how to get to us when they want to do something good," Hanson said.
The Foundation will close on the property in December. Construction begins in January with a completion date set for next June.