‘Bridging the Gap’ Fund set up to empower future leaders

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

The organizers behind a new fund in Sioux Falls are hoping to develop the next crop of leaders within the city’s diverse population. It’s called the “Bridging the Gap” Fund.

Eric Roberts was a graduate of the founding class of the Leaders of Tomorrow program, in 2018.

“It’s given me confidence to invest in myself, to be more confident in the opportunities that I have, to be able to apply myself effectively, and to do things that I didn’t have the confidence to do before,” Roberts said.

Now, Eric is championing the program himself.

“As we have leaders that are transitioning out and going into retirement, there’s a gap there that will be there for these new leaders, and we don’t want to leave that up to chance,” Roberts said. “We want that to be intentional, and have an impact on how these leaders develop.”

To make this happen, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation is working with local business owners, and co-founders of the Leaders of Tomorrow program, Tamien Dysart and Vaney Hariri, to equip aspiring leaders, like Eric, with the skills they need to excel.

“We know Sioux Falls is changing, and it’s important we invite more people into that dialogue about the community we become,” Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation President Andy Patterson said. “We think this fund will create those opportunities.”

Grants from the Bridging the Gap Fund will be awarded by an advisory committee made up of emerging leaders throughout the city, each of whom is a graduate of the Leaders of Tomorrow program.

Hariri says 90 students have already been through his program, and he hopes to see 500 young leaders complete the course by 2025.

“We need your help, we need your help to support this program, to take it to the next level, to ensure that it’s going to be here, not only for these young people right now, but the young people in your lives, people around you that you know have a talent or potential,” Hariri said. “Help us realize that talent and potential, and help make sure that we set up the community for the next 100 and 200 years with generations of great leadership.”

The Bridging the Gap Fund has already received its first major contribution, a $50,000 gift from Midcontinent Communications.

For more on how you can make a difference, you can head over to the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation’s website.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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