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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

ONE Spirit

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Emergency Assistance, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Food Programs, Human Services, Youth Centers & Clubs

Mission: The ONE Spirit Mission is to assist the Lakota people in preserving and revitalizing the Lakota culture, language, and self-sufficiency while meeting the basic needs of Lakota families, children, and elders. We strive to cultivate an intercultural relationship that recognizes that we are all related and that American Indians are an equal and valued part of our society.

Results: Food delivered monthly to the homes of 3000 people on the reservation, transitioning to food pantries in each district. Lakota employed in wood and food delivery programs supported by One Spirit. Allen Youth Center built this year for the Lakota community. Fundraising now for youth centers to be built in every area of the reservation. 700 children and elders in sponsorship program.

Target demographics: The 40,000 people on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1500 per month in food program20 children regularly in the safe house150 homes heated through the wood program700 children and elders served through the sponsorship program500 people benefitted from the Okini program

Geographic areas served: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

Programs: Sponsorship, food, heat, youth programs

Community Stories

154 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I read an article about this charity and was amazed at all that they manage to do with so little. As a person who has worked for non-profits, I was often saddened by how much money at those charities went to pay CEOs or for other business items rather than going straight to the people in need. One Spirit goes right where it is needed and saves lives and futures every day with very little....and are unflaggingly positive and grateful. I suggested to the school I work at that we adopt some families last winter , and we did. The things the families asked for? Things like socks and coats....these families live in South Dakota! OF COURSE they need these things to survive.....these are our fellow Americans! If you belong to a school or a church or a scout troop of a temple or a community center or well, ANY group and are looking for an incredible, spirited charity to donate to that uses EVERYTHING they've got to keep people fed, sheltered, educated and clothed, One Spirit is it. They are absolutely my heroes.

Joel T.

Donor

Rating: 5

I follow ONE Spirit and I am excited by their mission. I have worked with other non-profits that follow a similar vision: empowering people to get out of poverty. I give as I can, but they have my full support; I only wish I could do more!

Laura L.12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I learned of One Spirit in 2016 and have been involved with them ever since ! The Director is passionate about helping the Lakota help themselves with new businesses and employing tribal members. Besides the long term goals and respect given to working with the Pine Ridge Reservation, this excellant non profit is also helping coordinate and distribute monthly food boxes to families in need and elders. They help with firewood in the winters and have opened up the Allen Youth Center and a Buffalo processing plant recently. Many programs have been established and anyone interested in helping in some way directly can access the Okini list for clothes, food or sponsoring. Please share; they need help ! Blessings !

1 Maximino F.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a 32 yr old Oglala Lakota member and I've been sober for 2 years now and I lived on the pine ridge reservation. I don't anymore, and I doubt I'll ever go back. Organizations like this Truly help bridge our traditional ways and modern technology to help across distances. I believe that will lead us out of these seemingly hateful times. I now do my best to give back, and one spirit provides that opportunity. Thank you.

Comments ( 1 )

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jbaker 08/04/2019

Maximo, your words are particularly precious as you are Lakota and know the Reservation well. Thank you for taking the time to write this review. Should you have time and interest in working with us to help the Oyate, please contact me.

1 Valerie N.1

Donor

Rating: 5

Rather than exchange gifts for the holidays, a friend and I prefer to donate in one-another’s names to charities that are meaningful to us. In 2016, my friend requested that I support the water protectors and Native American communities impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another friend recommended One Spirit, and it’s been my joy to contribute to the Oglala Lakota through One Spirit ever since. I love being able to contribute directly to families in need through the Okini program, and I try to donate groceries, household goods, school supplies, or pet food once per month to families on the list. The process couldn’t be easier. Cheryl, the Okini manager, always provides helpful updates and really ensures that the experience is a personal one. Facebook updates from One Spirit are inspiring and informative, and there are so many ways to give, from selecting a family on the Okini list, to sponsoring a family or individual directly, to sending firewood or a food box. I’ve been thrilled to see real impact on this community through partnerships with solar programs, the new Charging Buffalo Facility, the Allen Youth Center, and other community centers opening up to support those on the reservation.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with One Spirit for several years. I see directly the life changing projects they have accomplished and the positive impact on the lives of the native people. I spent four days at the Allen Youth Center this spring. This has become the hub of this small community and surrounding areas. The days schedule is packed with sports events, classes, games, food distribution, lessons on life skills and meals prepared and served.
Jeri Baker is the founder and director of One Spirit. She is loved and respected by the people on Pine Ridge. Her number one goal is to identify the needs and work with the people to find solutions. I feel honored and excited to help Jeri do this work.

3 Lisa547

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are few nonprofits that are all volunteer- most of the large charitable organizations pay salaries to the employees, but not One Spirit. A full 90% of all donations go directly to the Lakota with the other 10% being used to pay an accountant, web hosting, postage, computers, phones, etc. Can you find another non-profit organization so fully committed to their cause financially? Probably not. Also of note, the Oglala Sioux Tribe council unanimously passed a resolution supporting and endorsing One Spirit and their programs, after being concerned about groups saying they raise money for Pine Ridge but in reality, keeping it for themselves.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer since 2012 and have seen first hand the good we do...everything from building a safe house, a Youth Center and a meat processing facility while delivering food boxes to 500 homes each month and providing firewood for cooking and home heat to elders in need. Our donors are fantastic and together, we've done the (nearly) impossible.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hello my name is Steve and I’m an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. I have known about One Spirit and the good work they do on the Pine Ridge reservation for a number of years. I have had the opportunity to partner with One Spirit when I worked with the OST VP office and with a couple of different local nonprofits I’m involved with. So I have seen what they have been able to accomplish for the benefit of the Oglala people in the past few years. Recently I’ve had a more direct role in helping to further One Spirits goal of “helping the Lakota help themselves” by being one of the three Lakota employees of One Spirit here on the reservation helping to bring self sustainability to the Lakota through the many opportunities One Spirit offers. These include
Allen youth center which provides youth activities, field trips, cultural activities, and entertainment. They also provide meals & snacks.
Charging Buffalo meat house that will process local grown buffalo and cattle as well as wild game. It will be able not only to employe Lakota people but also provide meat for another program of One Spirit the food/feeding program. This program not only provides 650 families with monthly food boxes, it also help with other programs that provide daily meals to the Lakota. One Spirit plans to expand into local grown produce to be used in the food box program and the other feeding programs.
In addition, One Spirit wood program buys loads of wood from Lakota vendors so that wood can be provided to help those families that use wood as their primary heat source. Having worked for state, tribal, and nonprofit entities here on the reservation I can honestly say One Spirit is one of the few that I have seen who help out the entire reservation with the intention of providing what help is needed at the local level by listening to the Lakota being served. And not by thinking they have the answer. By empowering the people with all these opportunities One Spirit hopes to “help the Lakota to help themselves” so that one day these services are no longer needed.
Wopila! (Thank you!) to all the donors, sponsors, and volunteers without you none of this would be possible

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I discovered One Spirit while looking for a place to donate my knitted items. I called and spoke to the founder Jeri Baker. She was welcoming and eventually offered me a volunteer position to assist the residents of Kyle, SD with their needs such as food, wood for heat, sponsors, and immediate needs after an emergency. I help them with what they want and need. It is extremely rewarding to assist them. I see my relationship with One Spirit continuing for many years.

Review from Guidestar

3 MStoops

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I posted my first review of One Spirit back in 2017. I am happy to say that the positive feelings I have about what this organization works to achieve continue two years later. The direction of the organization is driven by what the Lakota tell us they want, not what we think they need. It is an honor to be involved with an organization that takes that approach.

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found One Spirit while specifically looking for a non-profit organization that did work with the Lakota tribe in South Dakota. I am skeptical of non-profit organizations that ask you to send them money and trust entirely that it is going to the people you intend on helping. I was immediately impressed by the fact that One Spirit has programs that allow donors to connect, and contribute, directly to families-in-need on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I called One Spirit and was able to speak directly with the founder, Jeri Baker. Fast-forward to four years later and I have been able to get directly involved with several One Spirit programs like their support for a group of youth runners from Pine Ridge who attended the NY City Marathon. I have been working for several years now on the Charging Buffalo project that is working to help build a meat processing plant on the reservation that will allow the tribe to process meat that is harvested from their buffalo herd. This facility will provide jobs and help the Lakota people take a step towards food independence. One Spirit is truly an organization that will allow you to be as involved as you want to be in their projects. I am truly happy to contribute my time and money to this organization.

1 Bamm B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hello my name is Charles Bamm Brewer I am a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. I met the nice people of One Spirit about 10 years ago. I have been a Horsemanship youth activities leader here on the Pine Ridge reservation for 22 years. I am most known for being the organizer of the Crazy Horse Ride. It was on the Ride that i first met Jeri Baker. she is such a kind lady and she really has a big heart for the people here. I also met the other people who help One Spirit and they too were all so nice. I actually went on to become the One Spirit Food Program Manager and the One Spirit Wood Program manager. It has been many years of beautiful relationship together we do our best to help our people of the Great Lakota Nation. Sometimes we have our work cut out for us but together we kept moving forward and have accomplished many goals, such as the Allen Youth Center and the Charging Buffalo Meat House Projects.
I have really enjoyed all these years of working with One Spirit and look forward to many more. I have been a living witness to the people of One Spirit who will go above and beyond to help dreams come true in a land were there is a constant struggle with poor living conditions. I have also lived in these situation right along with my people, and it sure is a blessing to know there are such nice people in this world who really care. We are able to help many with the help of One Spirit, but we also know there is more work to be done. In review of One Spirit I will stand and say thank you sponsors and supporters for helping the Lakota people in a time where it seems we were forgotten. To this day One Spirit remains the only Non Profit recognized by Oglala Lakota Tribal Resolution. Thank you One Spirit supporters

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great Job One Spirit, I live here on the reservation and we are thankful for all the kind hearted people of One Spirit. Your help is on target getting to the Tribal members in need. I enjoy being a part of one Spirit as the Manager of the Food Program and also the Wood Program . It's a better day in Lakota Country Thanks to One Spirit. Also we are now in rout to bringing back the Buffalo with our new Charging buffalo Meat processing House. Good job team work, and dedication is our way with one Spirit

Daniela Byington L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

My Brother works for them and he gets paid to scam Elderly Women all around the internet on their behalf

Comments ( 1 )

profile

jbaker 07/29/2019

This person is unknown to One Spirit and the statement is very much untrue and is obviously an attempt to degrade the organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

I read about One Spirit when trying to find the best ways to help indigenous people in my region of the country. This is a direct, clearly-communicating heartfelt, and transparent organization. When I donate to things like their firewood fund during winter months, I always get an email response from an actual person at the organization about how much they appreciate it. What is most impressive to me, though is that their work is embraced by the elders at Pine Ridge.

Angie B.2

Donor

Rating: 5

One Spirit is a great nonprofit to work with. It is an easy way to directly and effectively help families on Pine Ridge reservation.

Donor

Rating: 5

I so appreciate the work of One Spirit and how they provide so many different opportunities to easily contribute to and support their work with the people of Pine Ridge Reservation. I've donated items from the Okini list multiple times; I like knowing that items I send are what a specific family is in need of and go directly to that family. And I continue to be impressed with the commitment and friendliness of the One Spirit staff I've interacted with. A very worthwhile organization who makes real differences in people's lives.

Angela M.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I sponsor three families through this wonderful charity. Such lovely people, so pleased to help and support them with food and other items they need.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have always believed in the One Spirit Mission. I always try to donate extra when I have it available. This past summer my husband and I took a truck full of school supplys,clothing etc to the Allen Recreation Youth center. We were greeted so warmly by the children and I must have spent a couple hours just talking and hugging those precious souls. I respect their outlook and their resilient spirit. The need is so great there that I find myself organizing clothing drives,laundry supplys, back packs, warm hats,gloves and scarves. I wish I was a rich person because I would spend all my riches at Pine Ridge Reservation. I never miss an oppertunity to enlighten people about the Reservation and the great need to help through donations. This Thanksgiveing we are going again to deliver sleeping bags, and warm clothing for children and adults. I feel honored to help in any way possible. All anyone needs is a heart and a commitment to make life better for these honorable people.

Donor

Rating: 5

At a time when there is so much need, donating to One Spirit is a way to know your money is going directly to help those in need to survive a brutal winter or to begin building sustainable community infrastructure. You can make a difference.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have been a partner of One Spirit for a little over a year now as my nonprofit, Everybody Solar, has been working to bring solar to their youth center and the Buffalo House. Everyone at One Spirit has been great to work with. They are clearly passionate about the work they do to help relieve the extreme poverty of the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. What I really appreciate is that they work diligently to find long-term solutions to the local issues, not just band-aids and that every decision is made with the local communities. It has truly been a pleasure. We can't wait for the solar projects to go live.

Advisor

Rating: 5

One Spirit changes lives! Thanks to One Spirit and the generous people who support them. The Allen Youth Center has taken on a whole new life. We offer Lakota language and Arts, clay molding class, painting, movie nights, Star nights with telescope, field trips/outdoor hiking and soon, camping. We will offer quilting classes, first aid/cpr classes, basic cooking, lock-ins for the youth, basic carpentry class. We will be harvesting, in a very respectable and humble way, a Buffalo. The meat will be used to feed and the hide for a winter count for the youth center. The community members are assisting in this project. We are very thankful to have One Spirit backing us. Lives are being positively changed due to One Spirit. HOKA HEY!!!!