South Dakota Governor Designates State Service Commission

Apr 11, 2011
Pierre, S.D.  – Today Governor Dennis Daugaard (R-SD) will sign an executive order designating the South Dakota Nonprofit Association (SDNA) as South Dakota’s State Commission for National and Community Service.
The designation empowers the Vermillion-based association to act as the administrative organization for AmeriCorps and other national service and volunteer programs across the state.
“Volunteers are an important part of the social fabric of South Dakota, and this will enable the South Dakota Nonprofit Association to further expand and coordinate those efforts in the state,” Gov. Daugaard said.  “Volunteer work strengthens not only neighborhoods and communities but the entire state.”
“I commend Gov. Daugaard for his bold leadership in designating a state service commission to channel the energy and talents of South Dakotans into making a difference in their communities,” said Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick A. Corvington, who will be present for today’s signing ceremony at the state capitol.  “South Dakota has a strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, and this commission will strengthen the reach and impact of volunteers and nonprofits in addressing critical problems facing the state.” 
Supporters of a state commission in South Dakota have been working for several years to find the appropriate nonprofit organization to serve in this capacity. Until now, South Dakota was the only state without a state service commission recognized by CNCS. 
“The South Dakota Nonprofit Association is well-positioned to serve in this important role,” said SDNA Board Chair Rich Braunstein. “SDNA exists to help South Dakota nonprofits be successful through training and networking. Volunteers contribute significantly to helping nonprofit organizations of all sizes carry out their missions. This is a win-win.”
SDNA Executive Director John Grayson said the designation will also provide federal economic stimulus funds for volunteer efforts in South Dakota.
“Federal funds that support national volunteer programs will now have a destination in the state,” Grayson said.  “Those funds provide for support staff, training events and stipends for some participants in certain programs.”
This year, CNCS is providing $3.1 million to support South Dakota nonprofits and communities through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs.  Those funds support more than 8,500 citizens of all ages and backgrounds who serve through 930 nonprofits, schools, public agencies or faith-based groups across the state.
In creating the modern system of national service, Congress ensured that Governors would have a key role in determining how national service resources are used in states through the creation of Governor-appointed state service commissions.  The commissions determine social needs in each state, set policy and program priorities, competitively award approximately two-thirds of AmeriCorps grants to local nonprofits and agencies, provide training and technical assistance, monitor grantees, and broadly promote service and volunteering in their states. 
State commissions provide the additional benefit of contributing to a statewide culture of volunteerism for causes, large and small. An administrative organization to manage the numerous programs helps ensure that South Dakotans can actively participate in strengthening the state through public service.
South Dakota ranks sixth in the nation for its volunteer rate, with more than 37 percent of its adult population volunteering through a formal organization each year, according to the 2010 Volunteering in America report conducted by CNCS in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau.  On average, 227,000 South Dakotans volunteer more than 23 million hours each year, providing an economic value of more than $490 million in service to the state. 

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