This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
Simplified: It started as a small group of business leaders looking to improve the Sioux Falls economy. Nearly 70 years later, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is a pillar of growth in the city – responsible for bringing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs to the area.
Why it matters
- The Sioux Falls Development Foundation's goal is to recruit new companies to town – primarily through creating industrial parks that make it easy for a business to come to town and start up with infrastructure in place.
- The Foundation has had a hand in bringing industry to town from the EROS Data Center in the '70s to the recently-opened Amazon distribution center.
- Over the years, the Foundation has also expanded to focus on helping find workers for Sioux Falls businesses – from recruiting college students to training high schoolers to getting Sioux Falls jobs on workers' radars far and wide.
"The overall mentality and attitude Sioux Falls has towards progress is really what makes us successful," Foundation President and CEO Bob Mundt said. "I think it takes all of us – the city, the foundation and industry – working together to make that happen."
So, what exactly does the Development Foundation do?
The ultimate goal is to boost the Sioux Falls economy, which in practice means increasing the tax base by bringing in more people and more businesses.
- That means the Development Foundation works to make it as easy as possible for new businesses to locate to Sioux Falls.
The easiest tool to attract businesses is the foundation's 10 industrial parks, the newest of which – Foundation Park – has roughly 500 acres ready and available for development.
Give me a quick history
The Foundation first formed as a nonprofit in 1954 and was volunteer led until 1969, when the first president was hired. According to Karen Ruhland, director of research, membership and communications for the Foundation:
- That was during the time when the Foundation was trying to get the federal government to consider building the U.S. Geological Survey EROS (Earth Resources Observation Science) Data Center in Sioux Falls.
- In 1970, Sioux Falls was selected as the EROS site, and it opened two years later.
The same year EROS opened – 1972 – the Development Foundation acquired 220 acres for its first industrial park.
Over the next few decades, the Foundation continued to acquire land as it was able to plan for future industrial parks.
In the late '90s, the Foundation added more focus on workforce development.
- That work now includes "WORK Sioux Falls," an employment website highlighting available jobs in town.
What should I be watching from the Foundation moving forward?
Growth is always on the horizon.
- Foundation Park – the newest and by far the largest industrial park in town – has even more room to grow, with 135 acres east of Interstate 29 and north of Interstate 90 set for future development (once infrastructure is in place).
- Workforce efforts are also increasingly top-of-mind for the Foundation as Sioux Falls grows but unemployment remains low.
"We're recruiting from different targeted areas, trying to bring as many people to Sioux Falls as possible to work the jobs that are currently available and the jobs we're creating," Mundt said.