Ian Helms Award for Social Entrepreneurship

About The Dakota Foundation: The Dakota Foundation seeks to both facilitate economic independence among individuals as well as encourage business discipline in the non-profit world, especially small organizations with local impact. It does this primarily through Program Related Investments (PRIs) in nonprofit organizations working to address pressing social problems. This mission is derived from our belief that business discipline, entrepreneurialism, and creativity can help nonprofit organizations increase their social impact and reach while becoming more financially secure and sustainable.

Goals for the Ian Helms Award for Social Entrepreneurship: The Ian Helms Award for Social Entrepreneurship aims to assist local philanthropic organizations with creative and inspiring projects to increase self-sustainability while also providing a strong social return. Recognizing that small nonprofits are often constrained by the lack of capital and support, the primary objective of the Ian Helms Award is to help already-active small organizations to establish or grow a source of regular revenue that will both help secure the sustainability of the organization while also providing employment, education, or support to those in need. As PRIs have great potential but are still relatively unknown and under-utilized, this program will also help expand awareness of this funding vehicle within the broader philanthropic community.

About Ian Helms: Capt Ian K Helms, USAF grew up moving around for his father's Air Force career. He graduated in in 2008 from the U.S. Air Force Academy, CO where he served as the Fall 2007 Cadet Wing Commander. Upon graduation, Ian attended Exeter College, Oxford University as a recipient of the Holaday Scholarship, a Dakota Foundation program supporting graduate education. After Oxford, Ian flew the B-1 bomber in combat supporting the Global War on Terror. Ian passed away from cancer in March 2016 and is survived by his wife Alexandra, his parents, and brothers. In honor of Ian's tremendous record of leadership and devotion to serving his community, the Dakota Foundation is honored to sponsor this award bearing his name.

Ian Helms

Description of the award program: The program consists of three phases, subject to review at each stage, characterized by a reciprocal agreement between The Dakota Foundation and the beneficiary:

  1. First, The Dakota Foundation will provide an initial grant that the beneficiary will use as upfront capital to help establish or expand a source of revenue.
  2. If feasible, the once the initial phase has been realized, The Dakota Foundation will expect to consider a program-related investment (PRI) to consolidate the long-term stability and success of the new or expanded revenue stream.
  3. In the spirit of philanthropy and community, in subsequent years the beneficiary will agree to share expertise and knowledge gained on an informal basis with future recipients of the Ian Helms Award who may benefit from such mentorship.
  4. Progression to each phase will depend upon feasibility as determined by The Dakota Foundation in consultation with the beneficiary.

Award amounts: The amount of the initial grant and any subsequent PRI will depend on the specific details of the proposal, not to exceed $100,000. Depending on the availability of resources and the suitability of proposals received, The Dakota Foundation may choose not to bestow the Ian Helms Award in a given year.

Grant guidelines and eligibility: Before submitting an application, please review The Dakota Foundation’s application guidelines. While there are no geographic specifications, we encourage proposals from areas where The Dakota Foundation board members are active, both to foster relationships as well as to facilitate communication and oversight.

Application and deadline: Interested and eligible program leaders may submit a proposal via a link at the bottom of this page. The application requests some information about your organization and project leader, a brief but specific description of the intended project and justification for the funds requested, the intended social impact, and plans for the effective utilization and consolidation of any future revenues achieved. To be considered for 2017, proposals must be submitted by April 15th, 2017.