Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Downtown Brookings involved with an economic development program?

Downtown Brookings Inc. IS an economic development program. In fact, their mission is to stimulate economic development in downtown Brookings and to promote it as an exciting place to shop, work, live, play and invest.The Main Street Program works to increase the economic, social, political and physical value of our downtown. Their work benefits the entire community because a stronger, more vibrant downtown increases the “quality of place” and the “quality of life” that people value. Of course, the reverse is also true—economic gains throughout Brookings benefit our downtown. We are all community partners and our accomplishments, collectively and individually, benefit the entire community.

How do I apply for a grant from Vision Brookings?

If you have a project that has the potential to be a long-lasting, game changing initiative, consider applying for funding! We aim to advance the economic viability of the Brookings area with our grants, so projects that directly and positively impact the Brookings community are idea candidates for our grants. If you would like to apply, fill out the form located here and send it to

How will investments be recognized?

Vision Brookings recognizes investors through giving levels based on pledge amounts over the five-year life of the campaign. Investment levels based on the pledge amount are as follows: Platinum-$100,000 and up; Gold-$50,000 to $99,999; Silver- $25,000 to $49,999; Bronze-$5,000 to $24,999; and Investors- $500 to $4,999.

Are pledges tax-deductible?

Generally payments on pledges are deductible as a business expense.  (See below). Should you have further questions, we recommend you seek advice from your tax or legal counsel regarding the deductability of your investment.For Businesses--Vision Brookings is operated under the Federal Tax ID of the Brookings Economic Development Corporation. BEDC is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Because you expect a return on your investment, payments made to Vision Brookings are deductible as a trade or business expense.The Vision Brookings Foundation is an approved non-profit corporation recognized by the State of South Dakota and the Internal Revenue Service. Persons desiring to make a charitable contribution should indicate their desire at the time the pledge is made.

Why don't the three organizations each raise their own money?

The three organizations decided on a collaborative effort to raise the funds needed in order to combine their strengths in a show of solidarity. Vision Brookings is an example of how several community organizations can work together for the good of the region. Local leaders felt the business community would be much more responsive to a single fundraising effort than to separate initiatives. Fundraising costs are reduced substantially in a single campaign as well.

With almost full employment, why do we need to worry about economic development?

The future of Brookings lies in its ability to attract and retain good paying jobs for all its citizens. International economic trends today show that America’s greatest strength is our educational system. Brookings needs to provide employment opportunities for its young people.  Projects like the Research Park at SDSU and the Brookings Technology Commercialization Center strengthen the community’s appeal for knowledge-based businesses. Brookings must be competitive for these jobs both in the United States and outside. This program is a step toward that objective.

What happens if the goal is not met?

If the financial goal is not met, the Board of Advisors and the Management Committee will need to restructure programs to match the available funds.

What happens if more is raised than is needed?

The disposition of all funds, including amounts above the goal, will be administered by the Management Committee upon advice of the Board of Advisors.

How much money is set aside for each of the three organizations?

There are no set aside funds for Vision Brookings Coalition members. The Board of Advisors recommends a budget based on the amount of funds raised. Funding of all projects depends on the amount recommended by the Board of Advisors each year and will be based on estimated cash flow.

What is Vision Brookings?

Vision Brookings is a five-year economic and community development fund-raising initiative of the Vision Brookings Coalition. Its goal is to improve the economic climate of Brookings and Brookings County in eastern South Dakota.

As the name implies, the Coalition is comprised of three organizations—the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce; the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, and Downtown Brookings, Inc. Three representatives from each organization and one at-large representative make up a Management Committee that handles ongoing organizational issues.

What if I can't pay my pledge?

Pledge payments are a very personal matter. If you have trouble making your payment contact the office and see if there may be another plan better suited for your circumstances.

Will I get reminder notices?

As a courtesy to investors, the Campaign Office will send reminder notices or invoices monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or as indicated on the pledge card.

Can I pledge over time?

Pledges are paid by investors on a schedule that may be spread out over the life of Vision Brookings. Most investors find they are able to make a meaningful investment by pledging quarterly payments. As an example, a pledge of $250 per quarter would mean $5,000 for the campaign over five years.

Why do you call it an "investment"?

Economic Development Initiatives provide project funds for the sole purpose of improving the economy and assure the business community of a healthy marketplace. Today economic development programs promote the exchange of ideas as well as goods and services. When the economy flourishes, those who contribute receive a “return on investment” through increased business.

What is the Board of Advisors?

The Board of Advisors consists of those investors who make a five-year commitment of at least $50,000. Only one representative per entity will be allowed regardless of the size of the pledge.  The Board of Advisors approve the budget and determine annual measurable objectives to judge the success of the initiative.

What does Vision Brookings hope to accomplish?

Vision Brookings wants to prepare the region for a new economy based on the strengths of a well-educated community with strong partners such as South Dakota State University. Vision Brookings II will focus on the region's major issues and opportunities: workforce, business development and entrepreneurship.

Why make it a five-year plan?

The program contains measurements to determine long-range success. At the end of each year, the organization reviews progress toward the goals established early in the campaign.  Success will be bench-marked against these measurements. At the end of each five-year period, community needs will be reassessed to judge project effectiveness and a determination will be made as to whether a new initiative would be needed.