The Basics

Who qualifies as a low-income family?

We define a low-income family as anyone who struggles to meet their basic needs with the income they earn. Families come in all shapes and sizes, two parents and a child, a single mom and her three children, a grandparent and their grandchild, even a single person and their pet. Our grantees connect families and individuals of all types to the services they need to get ahead. Some require proof of income, others do not.

When we share data on our community, we use 200% above the poverty line as our threshold. We know this is rarely enough income for a family to thrive, but it gives us a starting point to understand our community better. Most government benefit programs cut off between 130-209% of poverty.

Let us be clear, we aren’t suggesting that if a household is 210% of poverty, they are able to afford minimum standards of living in our community. Poverty thresholds do not account for costs of living beyond a very basic food budget, leaving out important expenses like child and health care.

Family size 2023 Poverty Threshold (Annual) Poverty Monthly Income Low-Income Threshold (Annual) Low-Income Monthly Income
For individuals $14,580 $1,215 $29,160 $2,430
For a family of 2 $19,720 $1,643 $39,440 $3,287
For a family of 3 $24,860 $2,072 $49,720 $4,143
For a family of 4 $30,000 $2,500 $60,000 $5,000
For a family of 5 $35,140 $2,928 $70,280 $5,857
For a family of 6 $40,280 $3,357 $80,560 $6,713
For a family of 7 $45,420 $3,785 $90,840 $7,570
For a family of 8 $50,560 $4,213 $101,120 $8,427


What is affordable housing?

Affordable housing is rental or owned housing that a family or individual can pay for, while still having money left over for other necessities like food, transportation, and health care. That means that what’s considered “affordable” depends on a household’s income.

The federal government typically defines housing as affordable when renter, mortgage, and utility payments consume less than 30 percent of a household’s income. Our funding supports the development and retention of affordable rental housing for low income families in the Rapid City area, often with additional family support so families remain stable, reliable tenants.

What is early learning?

During the first five years of life, a child’s brain grows faster than it ever will. Early learning refers to the skills and concepts that children develop before they reach kindergarten. Early learning happens everywhere. In the home, a child care classroom, friend’s house, or on the playground.

At JTVF, our primarily Early Learning focus is helping low-income families afford child care and preschool and child care providers retain high quality staff. 

What is economic mobility?

Economic mobility is the improvement of a family’s financial situation. We hope that with education or skill building, mentorship, access to affordable housing and child care, low-income families find economic stability.

What is a basic need?

We know affordable housing, quality early learning experiences, and a livable wage are all basic needs for families. Our basic needs priority area groups together other neccesities for community members to lead a happy and healthy life. They include

  • Food
  • Behavioral and Physical Health
  • Safety
  • Social Belonging and Culture
  • Transportation


Is my organization a good fit?

Compelling grant applicants outline a program or project that:

    • benefits low-income individuals or families
    • addresses a demonstrated community need that falls within our basic needs priority area (food, physical/behavioral health, safety, social belonging/culture, or transportation)
    • cultivates trusting and collaborative relationships within the community
    • have other funding secured beyond John T. Vucurevich Foundation dollars
Is there a deadline for submitting our application?

No. We accept grant applications year round and do not have a defined grant cycle with specific submission deadlines. If we find you to be eligible and a good fit, our staff will set an application timeline specific to your organization.

What is your average grant size?

We rarely give out grants that total more than $100,000 per year. (Though sometimes we do give multi year grants at that amount.) We do make larger program investments for grantees that fall within our affordable housing, early learning, and economic mobility focus areas.

Who makes the grantmaking decisions?

Our board makes decisions on grantmaking in the affordable housing, early learning, and economic mobility priority areas. Staff determine grantmaking for basic needs applications.

What is the timeline from application to decision?

This depends. Our staff will be as transparent as possible with you during the application process. For some grants the process takes a few months, for others, longer.

Where do you give grants?

We believe that our efforts to support low-income families are most effective when they operate in a limited number of geographic locations in full partnership with communities. We concentrate the majority of our funding the Rapid City Area but do fund some work in neighboring communities where we have a longstanding history of grantmaking and strong partnerships.