Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, distributed holiday cheer near and far through $176,500 in donations this season. The funds go to 37 causes of organizations and programs that help people in need.
Holiday giving has become an annual tradition for the SMSC, recognizing that this can be an especially hard time of the year for people to provide a special meal or presents for children.
The largest recipient, at $20,000, was the CAP Agency, which serves residents in Scott and Dakota counties. The CAP Agency provided more than 5,500 individuals with gifts, food and assistance during the 2012 holiday season through the Hope for the Holidays Adopt-a-Family gift and sponsorship project. This year the need is expected to be even greater. The SMSC supports the CAP Agency throughout the year through food drives and by donating produce from its organic garden, Mdewakanton Wozupi.
Some of the other large local recipients include Catholic Charities at $12,000 for holiday activities at the Dorothy Day Center and St. Joseph’s Home for Children of the Twin Cities; the Department of Indian Work in St. Paul at $9,000 for food baskets and small gifts, and the Division of Indian Work in Minneapolis at $8,000 for food baskets.
An additional $68,500 was divided among a wide variety of organizations in the Twin Cities, such as Little Earth Residents Association of Minneapolis, Minnesota Compassion in Prior Lake, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools, the Salvation Army, Southwest Metro Educational Cooperative, Union Gospel Mission, and Upper Midwest American Indian Center. Some of those donations were matched by “Give to the Max Day” sponsors and partners.
The SMSC also donated $5,000 in grocery gift cards to low-income Native American families living in Scott County. In addition to the financial contributions, SMSC members and staff participate in a giving tree program, which anonymously gives presents to Native American children in need who live in Scott County. Bear Tracks, owned by Community member Lance Crooks and located in the Dakota Mall, is also a Toys for Tots gift drop-off location.
In areas outside the Twin Cities, the SMSC made $54,000 in holiday donations to a variety of American Indian causes, including tribal Boys and Girls Club chapters, toy drives, youth organizations, and more.
The SMSC and the SMSC Gaming Enterprise (Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino) are the largest employer in Scott County. Out of a Dakota tradition to help others, the SMSC has also donated nearly $272 million to organizations and causes since 1992, funds its own infrastructure, and contributes generously to regional governments and infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and emergency services.