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St. Joseph's Indian School

Rating: 2.43 stars   30 reviews 15,180


1301 N. Main St PO Box 89 Chamberlain SD 57325 USA


St. Joseph's Indian School partners with Native American children and families to educate for life - mind, body, heart and spirit.

Target demographics:

Native American children and families

Direct beneficiaries per year:

220 Native American children

Geographic areas served:

South Dakota


Residential Care including Food and Clothing, Education, Counseling, Medical Care, College Scholarships

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Reviews for St. Joseph's Indian School

Rating: 3 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I am a recent donor to St. Joseph's Indian School, and plan to continue. www.stjo.org has the information I need to feel comfortable about financially supporting the charity. If you spend a few minutes on the website, you will find the Annual Report, Strategic Plan, Donor Bill of Rights and Communication Preferences, where you can adjust how often you are contacted. It's always a good idea to research a charity before giving, no matter how heart-tugging the appeal may be. As it stands now, St. Joseph's Indian School meets my qualifications.

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Rating: 1 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

I visited the reservation's list of schools and couldn't find St. Joseph's Indian school. I also noticed that like the reservation in Fort Hall, Idaho, the Indians on the reservation have built a $20 million dollar casino recently. Because of the casino at Fort Hall, the Indians here have raised themselves out of poverty.
They also have raised their self images and can't begin to say how much difference that has made in their self esteem. They have also been able to build a great infrastructure on the reservation including new good schools. More and more of the same Indians are now persuing college degrees and some have become lawyers. The lawyers are now able to help the Indians at the reservation.
They no longer need to send their children off the reservation to schools. Therefore, I don't think we need to donate any money to St. Joseph's Indian School. Also, not being able to find out exactly what St. Joseph's is doing with the money sends up a HUGE reda flag.

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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

St. Joseph's Indian School is located in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Our community is just south of both the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations, but not within the borders of either reservation. All our students are Native American. You can review our financial information at www.stjo.org/report.

Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I donate to this organization because these people so often get overlooked and they deserve every opportunity to succeed in life.

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Rating: 1 stars  

53 people found this review helpful

I was giving to this charity for several years then looked up it's financials.. I was giving so they could heat the school of 200 kids in the cold winter.. Then I looked at the financial statement.. They raise $67M a year and have $145M in the bank for 200 kids.. And they have Catholic priests run the place. God save them. THe foodbank that feeds everyone in my state doesn't have as much money. They are shameful.



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Rating: 1 stars  

46 people found this review helpful

this place is a huge scam. they do not care one bit about the money you send. my mother in law used to send these people money until we got ahold of her finances. i told them to stop sending me their ridculous info after seeing the expose about their kickbacks from the company that makes the crap they send. they told me they will keep me in their system for 3 months, even though i will not send them a dime. they know this and will not even try to stop this stuff from coming to me. if they do, they do not get their kickback
a complete joke of a charity
now they sold my info to another scam of a charity and they are sending me stuff!!! like i said, they care nothing about the school or kids, only the kickbacks for the crap they send.

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Rating: 2 stars  

45 people found this review helpful

Like perhaps most of you I'm a generous non-profit supporter who gets St Joseph's Indian School mailings. Check out the CNN report. It tells the complicated story of this school with happy-looking children, generic student pleas for help, and a $30 million fundraising budget. I've chosen not to donate.


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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

I've donated here for many years and while never a visitor there, I have asked friends to stop in and check them out. Universal praise for the children and persons they met there and the apparent good work they try to do. A skeptic as well, I've looked into these many "gifts" and courtesy phone calls. Apparently some organizations donate the gifts as their contribution in lieu of cash; other cover mailing and phone fees. Clearly from the School's follow-up activities, this is a very well-managed organization...far better than most others I've donated to. I wish they'd better conform to rated organizations (Charity Navigator's screens for example) but for my money, theirs is a worthwhile exempt charity to donate to.

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Rating: 3 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

I also have been receiving the "free gifts" asking for a donation - I have donated for several years but an skeptical. Seems as though I'm not the only one as I was thinking I was - not sure what to do - I don't need the gifts - save the money on printing all this stuff.

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Rating: 1 stars  

51 people found this review helpful

I have donated many years to this organization. They keep sending me 'junk' that I don't want/need...stickers, note pads, cards, address labels, dream catchers, etc...a lot of money could be saved if they would stop this practice and instead spend it on the children, etc
Until I see a full financial statement disclosed I am stopping my contributions.

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

84 people found this review helpful

Does this Catholic "non-profit" even need donations???? St. Joseph's has over $122 million in assets! Yet it raises over $50 million per year in donations, but spends less than 60% of funds on services. If 60% ($30 million) is actually spent to support the 200 Native American children at the school, each child's annual support is $150,000!!!

St. Joseph's will not report to Give.org. (Better Business Bureau). I give to reputable charities who disclose their donations and expenses to the public at Give.org, Charity Navigator, or similar outside agencies and where over 80% of funds raised go to actual services.

St. Joseph's spends 30% on fundraising, mailing fat packets to potential donors. Do donors really want $15 million per year (30% of $50 million) to support direct mail companies?! The 2015 packet I received contains a Windcatcher (made in China), 3 Christmas cards, an Advent calendar, Christmas gift tags, Christmas stationery seals, 2016 calendar, personalized Certificate of Appreciation, personalized address labels, large notepad and small notepad. Personally, I'd rather see the money spent on books and educational supplies for the children.

Also, even though 50% of the students are NOT Catholic, the administration acknowledges that " we do make our kids go to mass on Sunday." OUTRAGE! How is this different from the indoctrination of the 1920's, forcing Native American children to learn the "white man's religion?"

Hope more people will investigate before giving.
SEE: http://www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/american-indian/st-josephs-indian-school-and-missions-in-chamberlain-sd-675
SEE: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/
SEE: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1209

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