University of Illinois students partner with LDS Church to aid Indian reservation
Kola Foundation, a non-profit organization started by University MBA students, will be distributing $80,000 worth of supplies to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Friday.
The foundation has partnered with Latter-day Saint Charities, a national relief organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Adam Ratner, chief executive officer of Kola Foundation, said there is a high suicide rate among the young people on the reservation, a drop-out rate around 70 percent, an unemployment rate over 80 to 85 percent and a median income of $6,000.
“This is the third world right in the middle of the United States,” Ratner said. “I really could not leave there and be happy as an individual and content with my decisions if I did nothing. There was no way I could have done that.”
Nick Reynolds, chief development officer of Kola Foundation, said Latter-day Saint Charities has donated goods such as winter clothes, hygiene kits, school kits, newborn kits and several thousand quilts. He added that these goods fill an entire 55-foot semi-truck.
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