Poverty: the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. Poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. -Encyclopedia Britannica


Each of us interacts with complex systems every day. Housing. Employment. Healthcare. Transportation. Childcare. We encourage our community to view these systems through a “different lens”, one that considers the barriers, stressors, and realities faced daily by people living in the crisis of poverty.

We also hope that this “different lens” helps everyone envision their role in changing the systems that keep people from economic mobility.

An initiative of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation believes that the most vulnerable in our community deserve equitable pathways out of poverty. Our grantmaking seeks not only to directly benefit these individuals, but also support their long-term economic mobility and self-sufficiency.

We know grantmaking is only part of the solution. The need for greater community understanding and collaboration underlines all the important work done by our grantees. Through our Different Lens Initiative, JTVF leverages its relationships, resources, and reputation, to provide fertile ground for systems change: an untangling of the programs, perspectives, and issues that create an environment that holds problems in place.

Foundation staff oversee Different Lens outreach efforts and maintain close connections with community partners involved in this work.

“Poverty is a crisis in our community. We know that people cannot just ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’. Different Lens is our way of encouraging our community to better understand our neighbors and foster broad participation in community solutions to poverty.”

-Alan S., John T. Vucurevich Foundation


Individuals attended a Poverty 101 Session

Individuals completed a Poverty Escape Room

Poverty-Informed Action

Different Lens on Childcare…

Lyndsay Schreiber shares how Pioneer Bank & Trust implemented an annual $5,000 childcare benefit to support and retain staff.

Different Lens on healthcare…

Dr. Derrick Kuntz explains the importance of having resident physicians at Monument Health attend Poverty 101 sessions and how this improves health care in the region.

Different Lens on housing…

Laura Jones of Elevate Rapid City describes the local housing market and how unaffordable it is for many local workers.