Endowment Campaign

Froiland Plains Indian Gallery

The Froiland Plains Indian Gallery at the Center for Western Studies.

CWS Launches Founders Campaign

At their April 2018 retreat, members of the CWS Board of Directors and National Advisory Council affirmed a proposal by Executive Director Dr. Harry Thompson to move forward with the Strategic Plan 2020 goal of achieving a $10 million endowment within five years. Sioux Falls businessman and philanthropist Darwin Sletten, a member of the Board, kicked off the Founders Campaign with a lead pledge and agreed to serve as honorary campaign chair.

The possibility of achieving the $10 million goal by 2023 is very likely, Thompson indicated. The value of CWS-designated endowment funds held at Augustana University, as well as those at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and First National Bank in Sioux Falls, is $9.1 million. Thompson provided illustrations to the Board and Council showing that $400,000 in new gifts and $500,000 in conservative capital appreciation over the next five years should reach the $10 million goal.

In April 2018, CWS launched the quiet phase of its Founders Campaign, and with lead pledges, gifts, and matching funds exceeding $200,000, the Center was already more than half-way toward its $400,000 goal by fall. Additional pledges and one-time gifts made by December 31, 2018, were eligible for a 15% match. 

The Founders Campaign also provides an opportunity during the 55-50 anniversary years to recognize those visionaries who saw the promise of a research center focused on our region. Many CWS members are familiar with one or more of the following founders and may designate their endowment gift in their honor.

  • Founding Director: Herbert Krause
  • Co-director: William Wyatt
  • Executive Secretary: Gary D. Olson
  • First Board of Directors (1971-72): Raymond Dunmire, Sven G. Froiland, William Geyer, Arthur R. Huseboe, Tom Kilian, Duane Matz, C. J. McDonald, Gary D. Olson, and Elliott Thoreson
  • Augustana President Supporting Establishment: Charles Balcer
  • First Full-time Executive Director: Sven G. Froiland
  • First Major Benefactor: Richard Cropp

The Founders Campaign builds upon the success of an earlier endowment campaign which reached a milestone in 2013. Gifts of $1.4 million earned a $300,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), bringing the total amount raised in that effort to $1.7 million. 

Core programs that continue to benefit from that campaign are the following: Archives and Library, Art Program and Educational Exhibits, Dakota Conference, Publications, and the Fantle Building. In 2013, Executive Director Harry Thompson, project director and co-author of the NEH grant (with Paul Krueger), remarked, "As the result of the generous commitment by many individuals to this endowment campaign, the Center is entering a period of unsurpassed financial stability."

Contact Harry Thompson at 605.274.4007 or harry.thompson@augie.edu to help build the CWS endowment.