Our Model

At the root of our model is building community power to be the architects of our own future.  Each place has its own genius and collective wisdom.  We find our solutions in the genius of our own people.  The following strategies are the ways that we make our model work.

Community Engagement

Community Engagement is the base that we build all of our work on.  We have spent hundreds of hours asking our community what they would like to see happen.  We have asked the youngest children all the way to our elders for their visions, thoughts, and input.  Together we recognized the barriers to this work but then began to dream solutions that are at least as big as the issues we are faced with.  For us community engagement is both large scale listening and visioning sessions, and then hands on action through implementation of programs, initiatives, and solutions.  We continue to reach out to our community for feedback and to build awareness of this movement that is happening.

Ecosystem of Opportunity

We have developed a comprehensive, innovative and grassroots approach to collaborating with and empowering Lakota youth and families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to improve the health, culture and environment of our community in a way that heals and strengthens our identity.

We provide an "ecosystem of opportunity" that creates deliberate action and systemic solutions as large and comprehensive as the historic challenges facing our community. We are building our power to accomplish lasting change through dedicated grassroots practices, increasing the community's ability to flourish and setting an example for Native and rural communities everywhere.

Triple Bottom Line

In order to cultivate a more resilient, healthy community, we evaluate our programs on their adherence to a sustainable, triple bottom line, which holds people, planet and prosperity in equal standing. We are producing repeatable, measurable models based on our values that can be utilized by other communities to inspire viral, transformative change.


We are intentionally disrupting the status quo by creating models of change that will overpower intergenerational poverty and build momentum towards regional equity. As an act of sovereignty we are defining what regional equity looks like through a series of grassroots programs and initiatives.

Place Based

Thunder Valley CDC is building a regenerative community that goes beyond bricks and mortar—we are focused on creating our own pathway out of poverty by building local skill and leadership capacity, exercising our sovereignty, and creating a space that empowers our community to realize its fullest potential. All of our work is place-based and comprehensive, centered on applying indigenous innovation in a way that honors our cultural heritage and is adapted for the needs and vision of our local community.