This month, we’d like to express our deepest gratitude to a very special group of CRYP supporters: the champions of the 2015 Christmas Toy Drive. With their help, we smashed our goal of serving 1,500 children. This past December, CRYP and its partners brought Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children across the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
Please read on, and click on the individual links to learn more about these worthy organizations, each of which has demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas with its generosity, friendship, and love.
American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund, established in 1989, is the nation’s largest and highest-rated American Indian scholarship organization. It provides Native American student scholarships and programmatic support for the nation’s 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities located on or near Indian reservations to provide access to an affordable, quality higher education.
Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation
Crazy Horse, SD
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians. Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation demonstrates its ongoing commitment to this promise by continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture, providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations, acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center, and by establishing and operating the Indian University of North America, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.
Donald Driver Foundation
Donald Driver is a Super Bowl Champion, Dancing with the Stars Champion, Green Bay Packers All-Time Leading Receiver, 2013 AMVETS Humanitarian of the Year and 2013, a New York Times Best Selling Author and 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner attendee who has overcome homelessness to become one of the most community-minded athletes of his generation. The mission of his Donald Driver Foundation is “to display Strong Hands, Strong Minds and Loving Hearts to serve as a hand up, not a hand out.” The foundation is dedicated to serving underprivileged children and families; health, wellness and safety; and education and career development. It has helped hundreds of families escape poverty by providing the necessary resources to succeed — from educational resources, to nutritious meals, to scholarships.
NOTE: The Donald Driver Foundation sponsored the beautiful community meal CRYP hosted at its Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center during the Christmas Toy Drive last month. The bountiful feast is pictured here.
Fairview High School
Not only is Fairview the No. 2 high school in the State of Colorado, it has a strong tradition of community service. For more than a decade, the school’s student council has adopted our toy drive as its fall community service project; with the leadership of these dedicated students, the Boulder community fulfills Christmas wishes for more than 500 children each year.
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLC
This law firm is dedicated to representing American Indian tribes and organizations throughout the United States, going beyond basic legal services to include legislative and governmental issues, corporate and financial affairs, energy and tax issues, as well as litigation. Attorneys at Fredericks Peebles & Morgan have developed a reputation as aggressive litigators, advocates, and accomplished negotiators. They offer a diverse skill set to tackle the toughest and most complex issues facing Indian tribes today.
San Francisco, CA
Lyft is a peer-to-peer ridesharing app that connects nearby drivers with passengers who are in need of a friendly, affordable ride. Co-founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer, Lyft is the fastest-growing rideshare company in the United States. Available in 150 cities, Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its safe and friendly experience, and its commitment to bringing about positive change for the future of America’s cities. The company’s culture celebrates altruism, community and family.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth
Running Strong is one of the most effective and respected American Indian not-for-profit organizations in the nation. With the help of donors and committed supporters, it creates lasting change in the lives of American Indian people, especially Indian youth. Not only does it address the physical needs of the American Indian people it serves, it also fosters a sense of hope among people who want to make a better life for their families and create positive change in their communities. Running Strong is committed to building the capacity of local Indian communities so that they are well equipped to respond to the challenges that they face. Working together with local communities, Running Strong addresses the important needs of food, shelter, youth initiatives, and culture and language preservation.
St. Louis Chapter of CRYP
St. Charles, MO
This group of dedicated Missouri friends banded together years ago to support our youth project. Each year, they take part in volunteer service trips to our Cheyenne River campus, and they are constant supporters of the Christmas Toy Drive, Passion for Fashion, and many other annual initiatives.
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community is a federally recognized Indian tribe formally organized under federal reservation status in 1969. Tribal members are direct lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Dakota people who resided in villages near the banks of the lower Minnesota River. The SMSC presently owns more than 3,760 acres of land, all of which are located within or near the original 250-acre reservation established for the tribe in the 1880s. Tribal lands are located in Prior Lake and Shakopee, Minnesota.
Six Points Inc.
This Native American-owned business supplies high-quality steaks, ground beef, pork and chicken to customers around the world. Founder John D. Woolf is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and in 2009, Six Points established the Six Points-Cheyenne River Youth Project Fund at the South Dakota Community Foundation to manage all fundraising that supports CRYP.
Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation
Little Canada, MN
Spirit of Sovereignty is a national charitable organization that directly supports the efforts of Indian individuals and tribes to achieve self-determination through educational opportunities and positive children’s programming. Spirit of Sovereignty’s programming is driven by community donors who know that American Indian people need a base of self-determination from which to operate and that success is eminently achievable.
Student volunteers at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado-Boulder
This year, students who attend CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business collected toys for our Christmas Toy Drive. Founded five months before Colorado became a state in 1876, CU-Boulder is a public research university and the flagship university of the University of Colorado system. According to “The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities (2001),” it is considered one of the country’s 30 “Public Ivy League” schools. In 2010, the university consisted of nine colleges and schools, offered more than 150 academic programs, and enrolled 29,952 students.
We also wish to offer our gratitude to the many local businesses to supported our efforts, including D&R Propane, Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative, the State Bank of Eagle Butte and Western Dakota Bank. To all of these organizations, and to the many generous individual donors around the world who helped bring Santa Claus to Cheyenne River, words cannot express how much your support and friendship mean to us. We can only say, from the bottom of our hearts ~