Rural America Initiatives
Rural America Initiatives is a Native American led (501)c3 non-profit organization formed in 1986 to help the most in-need Native American families in Rapid City, South Dakota. Rural America Initiatives employs approximately 100 people, 95% of whom are Native American, and has been led by Executive Director Bruce Long Fox since 1991. RAI is governed by a 7-member Native American Board of Directors.
RAI serves approximately 1500 at-risk children and their families in Rapid City. Our priority target population is “transitional” families, those who move from area reservations to Rapid City within the past year. These families are looking for greater opportunities, but instead discover difficulty in finding employment, housing, and services. Priorities are children who are homeless, in foster care, handicapped or whose caregiver is incarcerated.
RAI serves the community through educational programs that address the needs of the whole family: early childhood development programs Early Head Start and Head Start, serving poverty-level children prenatal through age 5 and their families, and Ateyapi (Lakota for “fatherhood”), a positive role-modeling mentorship program in Rapid City Area Schools elementary, middle and high schools. All programs and services are infused with culturally relevant teachings and values.