Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc.
P. O. Box 850
Aberdeen, SD 57402-0850
The Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc., formed in 1999, is an outgrowth of the Student Loan Finance Corporation (hereinafter SLFC), a South Dakota 501(c)(3) corporation. Student Loan Finance Corporation, located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, was formed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation in 1979 to assist in the delivery of United States Guaranteed Student Loans. SLFC did so by selling taxable and tax-exempt bonds to the public and then providing a “secondary market” for the sale of student loan notes by lenders. The system worked generally as follows. The student would obtain his or her student loan from a commercial bank or other federally authorized lender. Eligibility was determined by federal regulation. The lender could sell the student loan to SLFC at any time, but typically the lender was interested in selling its student loans only when those loans entered repayment after the student left school. Hence, by purchasing loan notes, SLFC provided liquidity to the banks or other lenders so that they would continue in the student loan program. When SLFC was formed, only a handful of banks in South Dakota participated in the federal student loan program. Within a short time, every lender in the State, except one, participated, and, thereafter, not one post-secondary student in South Dakota, eligible by federal law, failed to get a student loan!
As SLFC was originally incorporated, under federal law, in the event of a liquidation of the corporation, the surplus, if any, was to be paid to the State. Later, federal law was changed so that any surplus or value was to be paid to the federal government. Even later, federal law was again changed to provide for the reorganization mechanism adopted by Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc., in effect, paying the surplus and net value to a separate foundation to aid education.
In 1998, SLFC changed its name, under federal law, to Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc., and formed a for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary named Student Loan Finance Corporation (SLFC). All operations and student loan notes were placed in the wholly-owned subsidiary. Under federal law and procedures, and under the supervision of the State of South Dakota and the United States Department of Education, in June of 1999 the new for-profit SLFC was sold and all cash and assets became the Trust corpus of this Foundation, whose purpose is to further education in the State of South Dakota. The five Directors of the Foundation were appointed by Governor Janklow and included one former Director of the now for-profit SLFC. At the completion of the sale, there is no formal relationship between the for-profit SLFC and Great Plains. No Director of Great Plains Education Foundation serves in any capacity with SLFC. Also, no Director has any business relationship of any kind with the Foundation. The Foundation has no employees. The total sum resulting from the sale of SLFC, which became the corpus of the Foundation Trust, and after payment of transitional taxes to the U.S. Government, was $83,500,000.
This Foundation is organized to further and aid education in the State of South Dakota. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors of five individuals who serve without compensation. Administration, investment advice, and custodian of the funds services are provided by Dacotah Bank Trust and Wealth Management Department of Aberdeen, South Dakota. The Directors made several initial decisions concerning the administration of Foundation funds and grant policies which continue in force to this time:
1. The Foundation will, to the extent possible, preserve the corpus of the Trust and distribute only the "earnings".
2. The Foundation will plan to distribute five percent (5%) of the value of the Trust corpus on a trailing year basis, although the Foundation is not obligated to do so.
3. Only educational institutions, both public and private, located in South Dakota will be eligible for grants.
4. Grants will typically be limited to those institutions, or their foundations, whose primary function is the direct delivery of education to students.
5. Grants will not be delivered for items or activities that are materially for the purpose of economic development.
6. For-profit schools will not be considered for grants.
7. Foundations not associated with accredited educational institutions will not typically be considered for grants.
8. The construction or rehabilitation of buildings will not typically be funded.
9. The Foundation will not grant scholarships directly to students, but rather, to the extent it grants scholarships, it will do so through existing educational institutions.
10. The Foundation will attempt, to the extent possible, to fund grants that leverage the Foundation’s money or which make a significant impact on education in South Dakota and for which other funds are not available.
11. The Foundation will typically not fund salaries and, to the extent it makes grants, it will do so on a one-time or year-to-year basis.
12. The Foundation is not intended to be a tax avoidance device for school districts and educational institutions. Regular operational and capital expenses will not be funded to replace tax funds.
13. To the extent the Foundation approves purchases of capital assets or services, the approval is a "not to exceed" number. To the extent that purchases or services are obtained at a lesser price than contained in the grant application, the Foundation will pay only the lesser amount.
14. The Foundation will not pay expenses that have been "grossed up" to include overhead of the grantee, surcharges or rebates or like charges unless those overhead charges are very specifically brought to the Foundation's attention in the grant application and specifically agreed to in writing in the grant-approved letter.
Assets as of June 30, 2016: $84,939,746
Total grants paid: $97,128,923
Applications submitted -- 432
Number of grants approved -- 251
The current members of the Board of Directors are Mike Evans, Harvey C. Jewett, Tim Kessler, Eldon Swingler, and Jack Thompson all of Aberdeen. V.G. Stoia, Curt Jones & Ron Wheeler served on the Board of Directors from the founding of the Foundation until 2008 for Vi, 2010 for Curt, and 2012 for Ron.
The Foundation has not adopted a formal application form. An applicant should send six (6) original copies of whatever materials they wish to send. The Foundation recommends the materials include a description of the activity, plan, items, etc., and its uniqueness or importance. The Foundation pays particular attention to leveraging funds so as to obtain further funds. A financial statement and budget are essential, as well as an explanation why this Foundation should be the funding source. Applications should be sent to the following address:
Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc.
c/o Dacotah Bank
P. O. Box 1210
Aberdeen, SD 57402-1210
South Dakota Insurance Premium Tax Credits
Great Plains Education Foundation Inc. is officially registered with the Division of Insurance as a South Dakota Scholarship Granting Organization allowing them to solicit and accept educational contributions from insurance companies licensed to operate in South Dakota who are seeking to claim a tax credit.
As a 501 c (3) SGO, Great Plains will provide the administrative and financial infrastructure and oversight. South Dakota Partners in Education, a non-profit corporation with statewide board representation, will be providing many of the operational activities for Great Plains.
Information on all aspects of the program is available at sdpartnersinedu.org.