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South Dakota Master Gardener Association Earl Dailey Memorial Endowment Grants

Updated February 08, 2021

Aimee Ladonski

SDSU Extension Volunteer Development Field Specialist and State Master Gardener Coordinator

View the criteria and applications for the Earl Dailey Memorial Endowment Professional Improvement Grant and Project Grant.

Applications are due March 30.

Grant Applicants: These criteria will be used to evaluate each application on how it supports or promotes gardening education and experiences. The questions in the application will target these criteria. The Grants Committee realizes that not all applications will meet all criteria. By addressing as many criteria as possible, applicants will improve funding chances.


  • The application must include a component to directly address the needs of Covid-19, social distancing and no large group meetings as addressed by the SDMG Covid-19 guidelines.
  • Strong educational component
  • Plan for sharing information (professional improvement grants)
  • Cost effectiveness – bang for the buck – number of individuals/groups reached, expected continuity of project
  • Number of partners involved – financial, in-kind, Master Gardeners
  • Diversity of groups reached with education - who is the targeted educational audience and how many individuals do you expect to reach?
  • Quality of application
  • Long-term impact – is this a one-time project or on-going?
  • Visibility of project/publicity potential
  • Likelihood of success/viability of project – does this project have strong volunteer support? Does this project require on-going funding to continue?
  • Active Master Gardener applicant - one who has reported at least the minimum qualifying volunteer and continuing education hours in 2019. An active intern is one who is registered on the Volunteer Reporting System [VRS] and has been reporting volunteer hours toward certification on a regular basis.
  • Preference will be given to new applicants and projects vs. those that have received previous grant funding.
  • Non-master gardeners and organizations are not eligible to apply for this grant.

History of Earl Dailey Endowment Fund

Every gardener knows that the smallest seed contains all the possibilities – flower, fruit, and seed for future generations – for the potential of the plant. In 1995, Pennington County Master Gardener Earl Dailey had a small idea with great potential. It was simple: establish an Endowment Fund to support education and professional improvement grants for state-wide Master Gardeners.

State president Bob Spomer worked steadfastly to shepherd the necessary papers through predictable bureaucratic mazes and in 1999 the Endowment was approved.

The state membership set 2004 as the deadline to reach the goal of $10,000 as principal to support the Endowment. The Endowment Fund received status as a 509(a)(3) entity. Raising the principal was done by individual and club pledges, wildly creative auctions, and individual efforts including a gold coin offered for auction by past president Bob Spomer and a quilt designed, produced and raffled by past president Judy Haas and Tammy Glover.

Grants were first dispersed in 2006. Since that time numerous individual Master Gardeners as well as Master Gardener groups have received grants. All the grants must support or promote gardening education and experiences. Recipients of grants are expected to give a brief presentation at the Update (the year of the grant), further spreading good ideas…planting those ‘seeds’ of ideas that Earl Dailey promoted.

The amount of money available for grants is determined each year by the Master Gardener Executive Board and can include interest on the principal as well as monies from the general account as determined by the Board. The principal keeps its role as support for the Endowment and is not spent.