It’s only one Tiwahe Foundation core value, but it’s one that donor Dave Bice embraces.
Reciprocal giving and communal generosity are what drew the Lino Lakes business owner to Tiwahe more than a decade ago after being recruited by the organization’s leadership.
“The biggest thing you see is that everyone who has gotten a grant from Tiwahe comes back and gives back,” says Bice, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and owner of Bald Eagle Erectors, a structural steel company outside of St. Paul.
“You can see the impact when they give the grants out,” he says, recalling attending a giving circle celebration ceremony with grantees, foundation employees and board members when new grants are announced. He says the when grantees all talk about what they are going to do with the funding “you can see how it lifts them up, how it gives them the motivation and extra boost. You can hear how this funding is really going to help them.”
Bice, a Marine Corps veteran who has been in business for 26 years and also has served on the Tiwahe’s Board of Directors, is also giving back in his own way. Bice, whose business the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Upper Midwest named the 2015 Subcontractor of the Year, is currently mentoring a grantee who is starting a floor sanding business.
Tiwahe’s economic independence grant wasn’t in existence when Bice, who comes from a long line of union ironworkers, started his business but he said having a grant and a mentor could have helped.
“It’s tough when you’re just starting out,” Bice says. “You don’t know all the ins and outs.”
But now in a position to offer support to others who can benefit, he’s glad he can lend a hand. Bice, who was honored by Finance & Commerce magazine with the 2015 Individual Progress Minnesota Award, is also community-oriented and has served on several boards, including the American Indian Community Development Corporation, the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce and The Circle online publication.
“You believe in giving back because you see how it really helps out those people who receive the grants.”