The CFI Foundation

For about two decades the Center For Independence Foundation has been on a mission to promote community access and independence for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Foundation is uniquely equipped to affect change by educating the community, creating opportunities for individuals, and funding projects related to accessibility. All of this is made possible by the faithfulness and generousity of donors.

What has the Foundation been doing?

Improving Accessibility Around The Community

The Foundation works with the South Dakota State Fair Accessibility Project to help make the state fair and its facilities more accessible to people with disabilities and the elderly. As part of the project, donations allowed for the installation of multiple automatic doors—one on the Women’s Building and one on the north side of the Nordby Exhibit Hall. There are plans to install additional doors as funding becomes available. Additionally, the Foundation has funded other accessibility improvements throughout the community like the installation of hand rails, purchase of a pool lift, and arrangements to make playground equipment safer.

Increasing Awareness

The Lead For Life program provides an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to educate middle school students. This unique environment helps raise awareness of the challenges faced by many members of the community. Over the past several years the program has expanded to many area schools including Huron Middle School, James Valley Christian, De Smet, Wolsey-Wessington, Wessington Springs, and Iroquois. Additionally, the Foundation provided training to local law enforcement and emergency responders on ways to better meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Harnessing The Power Of Technology

The Foundation believes the power of technology can be used to assist with and improve the safety, security, and communication of people with disabilities. For example, keyless locks can be used to help people that may not have the memory or dexterity required to use a traditional key. Smart home products like Google Home and Echo Dot can assist people by offering verbal reminders throughout the day—to take medication or remember an upcoming event for example. These are just two instances of technological enhancements funded by the Foundation and its donors for use in homes around the community.

Get Involved

Shaping the future of persons with disabilities is a team effort! The CFI Foundation relies on contributions from its generous donors. Below are just a few ways to get involved.

Annual Open House

Each November the Foundation hosts an open house. This gathering serves as a meaningful time for members in the community to meet, laugh, and enjoy a meal together. Attending the open house is a great way to learn more about getting involved.

NCAA March Madness Fundraiser

Each year the Foundation holds a march madness bracket competition. For a small entry fee, participants are given the opportunity to win cash prizes for each game.

Major Donations

The Foundation is honored to accept financial and property donations including bequests, life insurance or retirement assets, real estate, tribute gifts in memory of a family member or friend, and other tangible items of value. The Foundation will provide essential tax recipts for all gifts in order to provide flexibility and tax advantages to the donor.

The Center For Independence Foundation recommends consulting with your attorney and other advisors about these giving options. For more information, contact Shannon Schelhaas, Staff Development Manager by calling 605.352.1008 or emailing

Board Of Directors

Chuck Rotert


Susan Searing

Vice Chairman

Lisa Long


Randy Meendering


Steve Charron

Blaine Leibnow

Rhonda Hanson

Scott Slepikas

Scott Cordts

Bob Rademacher

Carolyn Stahl