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ABOUT UNITED WAY OF THE BLACK HILLS Learn more about what we do and how your donation helps many lives in Custer!

At United Way of the Black Hills, We fight for the EDUCATION, FINANCIAL STABILITY and HEALTH of every person in the Black Hills Community...

ABOUT US

A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Click here to view a special message from our Director, Jamie Toennies

OUR IMPACT IN CUSTER FOR 2019 - 2020

WE PROUDLY SERVE THESE AREAS IN THE BLACK HILLS

We proudly serve the lives in these communities, and outlying areas in Butte County, Custer County, Lawrence County, Meade County, Pennington County, and Fall River County.

We fight for the EDUCATION of every person in the Black Hills

DID YOU KNOW? Less than 50% of third graders are reading proficient in South Dakota. BLACK HILLS READS HELPS TO ENSURE CHILDREN ARE PROFICIENT READERS BY THE END OF THIRD GRADE.

Black Hills Reads is a United Way of the Black Hills education initiative. The overall goal is to help children reach reading proficiency by third grade and support partners in this process. Black Hills Reads addresses reading through five pillar areas: School Readiness, Healthy Readers, Successful Parents, School Attendance, and Summer learning. Black Hills Reads accomplishes these goals by providing advocacy for educational programs, offering pilot programs, special events and innovation grant opportunities.

Learn more about Black Hills Reads by watching the video below!

We fight for the FINANCIAL STABILITY of every person in the Black Hills

We make this possible by funding programs for affordable housing, financial assistance and education and transportation.

In 2019 - 2020, 99 lives in Custer were impacted by these programs and services that we fund.

Affordable Housing

According to our 2019 Community Needs Assessment, lack of access to affordable housing was one of the top #3 needs in all areas throughout the Black Hills

Through United Way of the Black Hills, we were able provide 3 individuals and families in Custer the proper resources and education to access safe and affordable housing through programs like NeighborWorks and Black Hills Habitat for Humanity

We fight for the HEALTH of every person in the Black Hills

Much of what influences health happens outside the doctor's office. If we want children to do well in school they need to be well fed and rested instead of worrying where their bed will be that night. If we want adults to have stable jobs they need access to healthcare and counseling support. In 2019-2020, we impacted 1,364 lives in Custer.

Custer Flooding of 2019

American Red Cross - Central and Western SD Chapter

Neighborhoods began to flood after a storm in early August, and Red Cross volunteers immediately deployed to help. An emergency shelter was established at the local YMCA, where their volunteers cared for people who were evacuated from their homes. Residents were given a safe place to stay, along with food, beverages, blankets and other essentials until they were able to return home. The Red Cross distributed flood clean-up kits to households who needed them.

"It was heart-warming to see the community of Custer come together, and we are proud of the volunteers who successfully supported the community during this time of emergency. As you can see in the photos below, the Red Cross was on scene and prepared to help with any needs that would arise." - Richard Smith, CEO, American Red Cross of Central & Western SD

Custer Flooding of 2019

Boy Scouts of America, BH Area Council

"The Johnson family consists of a single mother and a daughter, who is one of our younger Cub Scouts. The mother works the night shift, so sleeps in the afternoon. She was asleep when the storm hit and her daughter had also fallen asleep. The family did not know that they were in danger of their house flooding. While they slept, water began entering their home. Meanwhile, other Scout families realized the Johnson family was not out of their home. The Scout families gathered themselves and some neighbors and made a human chain to wade across the waist deep water to the Johnson's home. This is a skill that is taught in our programs and demonstrated in our activities. The human chain had to knock on the door and wake the Johnson's up. Once the Johnson family was awake, the human chain helped them wade across the flood waters to safety. This story is an example of skills taught, caring for other people, and helping local communities in need. All of these skills and values are taught in all of our programs." - Boy Scouts of America, BH Area Council

COVID-19 Relief Fund in Custer

The impact of COVID-19 brought new challenges to the Custer community. United Way of the Black Hills stepped in to provide grant funding to organizations and programs serving the immediate needs of folks in Custer.

Food Assistance

United Way of the Black Hills awarded $5,000 to the Custer School District to provide summer meals to students. Click a video below to view a message from the Superintendent regarding the food program.

United Way of the Black Hills also provided funding to Feeding SD and Meals on Wheels to meet the increasing demand of new clients in need of food.

Child Care efforts

Programs such as the Custer YMCA Child Care program faced new health and safety guidelines limiting the number of children who could be served and increasing cleaning needs which has resulted in major increases in cost to operate. United Way of the Black Hills was able to help cover the cost of the cleaning supplies so Custer YMCA Child Care Center could keep their doors open.

Black Hills Reads COVID-19 Summer Slide Innovation Grants

Custer County Library received a $2,000 grant to execute and promote their summer reading program on a virtual platform.

YOUR DOLLAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN A VARIETY OF WAYS WHEN YOU DONATE TO UNITED WAY OF THE BLACK HILLS

For every $1 you donate to United Way of the Black Hills, we invest $1.72 back into your community

OUR COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY

At United Way of the Black Hills, we know our donors trust us to utilize their donations efficiently and effectively. We pride ourselves in our efforts to remain transparent. We are pleased to report that we have been awarded the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator for the 2019 and 2020 year. Charity Navigator evaluates charities on their financial health, accountability and transparency. Click more to learn about our rating.

JOIN IN THE FIGHT. DONATE TODAY.

Or text 'UWBH' to 40403 to secure text-to-give.

Credits:

Created with an image by Joss Woodhead - "This photo was taken looking up at a classic Nordic house in Reykjavik, contrasted against the winter sky"