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Greater Sturgis Foundation makes donations

July 1 2021
Deb Holland | Black Hills Pioneer

STURGIS — The Greater Sturgis Foundation has donated $31,000 to four local non-profits and pledged to match $107,500 for two other Sturgis projects.

The presentations were made at the Music on Main event on June 23.

Receiving donations were the Meade County Senior Center, $5,000; Sturgis Kiwanis Food Pantry, $5,000; Sturgis Area Arts Council, $3,000 and Serenity Inc., $18,000.

The group also pledged matching funds of $7,500 to the Gold Star Memorial planned for Harley-Davidson Rally Point, and $100,000 for the proposed Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park.

The Greater Sturgis Area Fund is a permanent endowment with the South Dakota Community Foundation and managed by a local advisory council who include Brett Lynass, Rosemary Roth, Bruce McFarland, Terry Hermann, Dawn Geppert, Dean Kinney, Kathy Behrens, and Luci Bradley.

It supports nonprofit and charitable projects and organizations in and around the community.

Roth said longtime Sturgis resident Vern Jones left a legacy of service in Sturgis during his lifetime. And, he left funds of nearly $1.2 million to the Community Foundation with the interest used annually to help local organizations.

“Both the food bank and senior center were very important to Vern,” Roth said. “We know that both of those agencies are important to so many people. We want to continue to honor Vern’s memory with donations to those organizations.”

This year, the Foundation also made a one-time donation of $18,000 to Serenity Inc. for the Serenity Building on east Main Street in Sturgis. The building is used for Serenity Club meetings for the Sturgis Alcoholics Anonymous group.

“It has fallen into disrepair and this will help with renovations,” Roth said. “We felt like it was an important investment to provide a safe place for these individuals to gather in recovery.”

Funds donated to the Sturgis Area Arts Council will be used to help partially fund a new sound system at the Sturgis community center. “It is something that has been needed for a long time,” Roth said of the sound system. “It will serve the community well for many years to come.”

The Foundation also offered up matching funds to help with fundraising for two projects currently underway in Sturgis.

Last fall, the Sturgis City Council approved a request to place a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in downtown Sturgis. With that approval, a Sturgis fundraising committee was formed and is working to raise $46,000 needed for the monument.

This would be the first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in South Dakota, said Alex Nauert, Director of Programs for the Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. They currently have 72 monuments in 49 states.

“We really feel it is an honor for Sturgis to have this memorial here,” Roth said.

To help with the fundraising, the Foundation offered $7,500 in matching funds for the memorial.

The Foundation has also committed $100,000 in matching funds for the proposed Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park.

The Sturgis Aquatics Committee’s proposal calls for building a four-acre lake with beach, water slides, an aquatics obstacle course, pickleball courts, volleyball courts, a walking path, a memorial splash pad and mini golf at the site of the Sturgis Fairgrounds on Ball Park Road. The lake also could be used for ice skating and sledding in the winter.

“We heard about this lake and were contacted by that committee. We think it is a great idea and we’re thrilled to support it,” Roth said.