What began as a grassroots community-wide initiative designed to produce “Yankton’s Next Big Idea” has evolved into Onward Yankton, Inc., an officially-recognized nonprofit corporation in South Dakota.
In addition to achieving its nonprofit status, Onward Yankton has also selected its 2016 Board of Directors. Leadership members for the board are President, R.J. Rieger – First Dakota National Bank, Vice President, Tony Maibaum – CornBorn, and Secretary/Treasurer, Tabitha Likness – Mount Marty College.
Also serving on the board: Carmen Schramm – Yankton Chamber of Commerce, Chris Ferdig – Ferdig’s Transmissions, Michelle Cwach – Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc., Gary Wood – Yankton Press & Dakotan, Steve Sager – Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc. and Larry Olson – Larry’s Heating and Cooling.
The board, composed of community leaders and advocates, will serve as the governing body of the following three committees: Entrepreneurship, led by Maibaum and Wood; Education, led by Likness and Barb Rezac, chief advancement officer at Mount Marty College; and Creative Downtown District, led by Schramm.
The organization aims to advance the public interest in community preservation and improvement by encouraging the development of entrepreneurial thinking and activity. The three committees are core elements of Onward Yankton’s winning idea submitted by Jacob Fokken, which aims to identify Yankton as the Missouri River Capital of Entrepreneurship.
Fokken, who received $10,000 for his idea, has donated the majority of his winnings back to support Onward Yankton and his vision.
“I donated to Onward Yankton because I believe the organization has the means and the drive to help accomplish this vision,” Fokken said. “I feel fortunate that instead of letting the prize money sit, I have been able to put it to good use right now.”