Morning Fill Up with Nick Tilsen

Executive Director, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Held April 6, 2017 at 7am at The garage

Nick Tilsen is the founding Executive Director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. He is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and has over 15 years of experience in working with non-profits and tribal nations on projects that have a social mission. As Thunder Valley celebrates 10 years of transformation on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Nick sat down for a conversation with Matt Ehlman of The Numad Group to discuss how systemic social change happens. He also shared insights on his vision for Thunder Valley's next 10 years in continuing to develop a regenerative community that is both sustainable and equitable.

Nick founded the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota to cultivate a new generation of American Indian leaders. He has played a vital role in creating a community development organization that is working with the local grassroots people and national organizations in the development of a sustainable regenerative community, that creates jobs, builds homes and creates new opportunity on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In 2012, Nick was recognized by President Barack Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference saying that “day by day, family by family, community by community, Nick and his non-profit have helped inspire a new beginning for Pine Ridge.” Since 2013 Nick has served as a local point of contact for President Obama’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, working to make targeted investments into America’s poorest communities. This community based grassroots work has led Nick to become a National leader in the Equity Movement. In 2014 Nick was selected as an ASHOKA Fellow joining a global network of the worlds leading social innovators.

news coverage

At Thunder Valley Tilsen Pushes to End Poverty on Pine Ridge”, Rapid City Journal, April 7, 2017

Nick was a very engaging speaker who was able to hold the audiences full attention. It was great to hear the voice of someone speaking about diversity and equity from personal experience and to learn more about Thunder Valley CDC as an organization and movement.
— Morning Fill Up with Nick Tilsen attendee