Thrive Strategy Council

Members of the Thrive Strategy Council are representatives of entities in the community that provide significant sources of funding and/or services designed to ensure the welfare of children and families who stand in need. They are appointed annually to a one-year term of office by the governing board on the recommendation of the organizations they represent. Thrive’s Board of Directors calls the strategy council, its “brain trust.”


The Council

  • Develops an informed understanding of the public and private resources available to assist disadvantaged children and their families in the community.
  • Works to improve communication among public and private resource providers.
  • Identifies and prioritizes obstacles to children’s well-being and educational success.
  • Informs Thrive’s governing board of its research recommendations.
  • Reviews research findings.
  • Based on research findings, recommends the formation of Action Teams.
  • With the approval of Thrive’s governing board, convenes Action Teams, soliciting applications for membership, reviewing the qualifications of applicants, and assuring that the membership reflects a cross-sector of business, government, nonprofit and faith-based sectors.
  • Monitors the progress of Action Teams. Reports findings to the governing board.


2023 Thrive Strategy Council Members

Kari Benz ─ Director, Minnehaha County Human Services
Alicia Collura ─ Assistant Director, Health Department, City of Sioux Falls
Tammie Denning — Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership, Inc.
Patrick Gale — Vice President, Community Investment, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
Kris Graham ─ Executive Director, Southeastern Behavioral Healthcare
Dennis Hoffman — CEO, Volunteers of America, Dakotas
Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen — President, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota
Janet Kittams ─ Executive Director, Helpline Center
Mike Lynch ─ Investor Relations Director, Forward Sioux Falls
Christina Riss ─ Community Impact Director, Sioux Empire United Way
Dr. Suzy Smith — Associate Vice President for Enterprise Data Analytics and Augustana Research Institute
Kerri Tietgen — CEO, EmBe

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