Thank you for writing this important article and sharing lessons learned. Especially in current times, I greatly appreciate NPQ’s coverage of nonprofit leaders and organizations operating in South Dakota and the many other parts of the US where there is not strong public support for nonprofit organizations or the services they provide.

  • David Patt

    How did you handle political matters affecting this issue? Were the Governor and Board members from the same party? Was the existence of the organization a liability for the Governor? You seem to blame the Governor for a lot of the problems, but did you didn’t discuss any political concerns that must have been in play.

    • The commission membership was bipartisan, as required by federal law for all state service commissions. South Dakota is a very red state, but I don’t think that had much to do with the governor’s stance. I’m a Republican and have, in the past, been very politically active, so I don’t think the governor’s lack of communication with me or the commission had to do with party or ideology. I’m not a friend of the governor, but we are acquaintances and my wife/partner once worked for the same nonprofit he led before he became governor.

      I believe it was a simple lack of knowledge, lack of interest, and the strong inclination to not commit ongoing state funds to anything that we as a commission faced. To be fair to the governor, he never promised anything else – he was consistent in his lack of interest and lack of support. The question is, should the state commission even have been established in the face of this lack of state government support?