What started as a $35,000 gift from First Interstate Bank has turned into $520,000 in support of relief efforts for ranchers affected by winter storm Atlas, which hit western South Dakota in early October.
“At First Interstate, we pride ourselves on being neighbors helping neighbors,” said Shawn Rost, President of First Interstate Bank in Sturgis, South Dakota. “The support given to rancher relief efforts by our Company and our communities proves that we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.”
First Interstate’s initial contribution went toward the purchase of 33 heifer calves which were then sold at various sale barns throughout South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Texas. The calves were sold through rollover auctions, meaning the calves could be sold more than once. Thanks to generous donors, $478,000 was raised at 27 rollover auctions.
In addition to funds generated at the sale barns, First Interstate supported rancher relief efforts in other ways. First Interstate Bank’s founding family, the Scotts, contributed $5,000 from their Padlock Ranch, and the Dan and Jeanne Scott Foundation donated $10,000. The Bank also challenged employees, Board members, and Advisory Board members to personally support relief efforts, with the First Interstate BancSystem Foundation matching contributions; this raised an additional $27,000.
“Talk about triumph from tragedy,” Rost said. “The generosity that resulted from such a devastating storm is truly inspiring.”
All funds raised went directly to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund, which was established by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association. The Rancher Relief Fund is being managed by the Black Hills Area Community Foundation. To date, the Rancher Relief Fund has received over $2 million in contributions.
“As stewards of these communities, we feel a strong connection and commitment to the families affected by this devastating storm,” explained First Interstate BancSystem Chairman Tom Scott. “Although these funds compensate for only a small part of what was lost, we hope it will help ease some of the burden and remind our neighbors that First Interstate Bank believes in supporting our communities during both good times and bad.”