Whiteclay, Nebraska borders the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota and has a population of about 12.  It is about two miles from the village of Pine Ridge, SD. There were four liquor stores in Whiteclay that sold about 4 million cans of beer, mostly to residents of Pine Ridge who left the dry reservation to buy their liquor at these stores. In 2017, the State of Nebraska Liquor Commission did not renew any of the liquor licenses in Whiteclay. As a result, all of the liquor stores closed. A non-profit corporation, Whiteclay Makerspace LLC was formed in Nebraska with the purpose of buying one of the liquor stores and transforming it into a makerspace for Pine Ridge area artists and craftspersons. The building has been purchased and a group of local artists and craftspersons are working along with the owner, Jon Ruybalid, to clean, renovate and paint the building.
Rotary District 5610 is in the process of writing a global grant from The Rotary Foundation (TRF) to support the artists and craftspeople who will be making use of the new makerspace in Whiteclay, NE.  Elements of the grant project include:
Equip the Artists and Craftspeople to directly impact the beneficiaries by supplying them with the needed tools and equipment to produce their art.
Provide Training to succeed in developing their small businesses of art production, the beneficiaries have noted that training is needed in business practices, financial matters, entrepreneurship, marketing, online marketing, computer skills, and professional development.
Stand up a Supply Shop in Whiteclay Makerspace Studio to provide an initial stock of the type of supplies used by local artists and craftspeople. A needs assessment of community artists has been completed.
Install Solar Panels for the Whiteclay Makerspace Building to indirectly impact the beneficiaries by lowering building operating costs and thus lowering the cost to the beneficiaries of using the makerspace.
Rotary District 5610 will be the host Rotary entity of the global grant. The district will write the grant application, with international partner Varanasi Sunrise club of India District 3120, and other funding participants. Clubs may contribute to the grant, see the Whiteclay Makerspace pledge form on D5610 website download area. The contact with District 3120 was facilitated by PDG Pat Sutliff, who has been the international partner for them on several global grants. Our two Districts have coordinated grant funding for sewing machines, and improving schools in India. The two Rotarian entities with oversee the implementation of the grant, measure outcomes, evaluate the effectiveness of the project, and report on grant activities to TRF.
Whiteclay Makerspace LLC as the Cooperating Organization will partner with District 5610 to deliver the grant project to its participating artists and artisans. We will write and execute a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between District 5610 and Jon Ruybalid, as owner of Whiteclay Makerspace LLC.
The beneficiaries of the project will be the resident Lakota artists and craftspeople in need of space and other assistance to produce and sell works that will enable them to raise their level of income. District 5610 will be the grant applicant and administrator serving these beneficiaries. Whiteclay Makerspace will be the cooperating organization assisting District 5610 in delivering the project. Other organizations may be brought into the grant project as advisors, vendors, or cooperating organizations.
We would like to be able to start delivering the project as soon as remodeling of the building is completed. Now that we have an international partners onboard, and upon approval and receipt of grant funds, we can immediately start grant implementation. Project delivery, particularly the training element, may take up to two years. Monitoring and evaluation may be done during project implementation and up to five years after project completion to ensure outcomes are achieved and the artists and craftspeople are sustaining their businesses.
Principal Contacts
Ina Winter, Hot Springs Rotary, D5610 DG 2019-20 kristine.ina.winter@gmail.com
Linda Peterson, Rushmore Rotary, PDG, RPIC 2018-20 linda4rotary@me.com
Tom Katus, Rushmore Rotary, Omniciye Committee tmkatus@gmail.com