VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) – The University of South Dakota Foundation, in partnership with the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company (VCDC) and the university, raised $193,075 in gift-card value for over 50 local businesses during a four-day Vermillion Victory Bonds campaign.

According to a release, a total of 2,897 gift cards were purchased. Of the 330 transactions, 294 were from within South Dakota and 222 of those were based in Vermillion.

“We are proud to have partnered with the VCDC on the Vermillion Victory Bonds program,” said Michelle Green, vice president for philanthropy and engagement at the USD Foundation. “Bringing alumni, friends and neighbors together to support the businesses that make Vermillion a vibrant and welcoming community for our campus is a strong complement to the work we do as an organization.”

“We are ecstatic with the results of this campaign,” said Nate Welch, VCDC president and CEO. “The commitment from the community of Vermillion and extended USD family working together – from the financial commitment from the USD Foundation to make this possible, to the spirit of our community members who supported businesses in Vermillion – we are all lucky to have one another.”

“The outpouring of support and generosity of the Coyote family to local Vermillion businesses during the victory bonds campaign was outstanding,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “We are grateful to everyone who gave and took part in the virtual activities. Though this Dakota Days was different, the Coyote pride was not lost.”

The campaign took place between October 1 through 4, during Dakota Days, a time when local businesses typically see an increase in sales. However, due COVID-19 safety precautions, most of the event’s traditional activities, such as the downtown parade, homecoming football game and student street dance, did not take place.

The university and USD Foundation worked closely with the VCDC to come up with an idea that would support local businesses without drawing crowds to Vermillion. Due to the success of the Vermillion Victory Bonds program launched in the early days of the pandemic, the USD Foundation sponsored the sale of victory bonds to encourage community members, friends and alumni to buy gift cards for local businesses.

“It’s undeniable that we are going through a difficult time right now, but after a weekend like this, it feels just a little better knowing we are all going through it together,” Welch said.