Supporting South Dakota's Students 

Made possible by the generosity of First PREMIER Bank / PREMIER Bankcard, the State of South Dakota under the leadership of Governor Kristi Noem, Avera Health and Sanford Health, this public-private partnership has created the state’s largest financial need-based scholarship. The Freedom Scholarship is managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation and is in an endowment that will continue to provide scholarships in perpetuity.

Board Members

After its creation in 2021, Governor Kristi Noem appointed inaugural board members to help spearhead and support Freedom Scholarship endowment efforts.


Miles Beacom

CEO of PREMIER Bankcard

Phyllis Heineman

Former Educator

Diana VanderWoude

System Vice President of Learning and Development for Sanford Health

Dana Dykhouse

CEO of First PREMIER Bank

Chris Houwman

CEO and President of Malloy Electric

Scholarship Staff

Dedicated employees help us facilitate the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship Fund.


Elli Haerter

South Dakota Freedom Scholarship Coordinator

Brandy Drew

Scholarship Program Specialist

Generous Donors

The Freedom Scholarship wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors who believe in South Dakota’s future. With more than $225 million in commitments, the Freedom Scholarship Fund will continue to grow in perpetuity for the success of our students and our state.

  • The state of South Dakota led by Governor Kristi Noem
  • Denny Sanford
  • First PREMIER Bank / PREMIER Bankcard
  • Avera
  • Sanford Health
  • Private Donors