A Message from Our President/CEO and Board Chair
Our work is made possible only by the generous support from many people who care about keeping our rural region vibrant not just for those living and working here today, but for many generations to come. Every single gift—regardless of its size—makes a difference. When we all give a little, it adds up to a lot.
Throughout Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013), we received over $2 million in gifts to our SWIF General Endowment and all partner funds.
Together with all of our fund partners, we awarded a record number of grants totaling more than $1.4 million dollars. These are real dollars going out to grow and promote local activities and our entire region.
We have the tools and expertise to help people give back to support causes they care about. We balance thoughtful, strategic planning with taking on new, innovative opportunities, which our donors appreciate. And, our many connections—locally, regionally and nationally—help us leverage resources to make an even greater impact and give donors a great return on their investment.
Every single donor listed in this edition of Looking Forward, Giving Back represents a unique story of giving. The people listed in this book trusted us with their gift because of the impact they see us make—in our communities and our region. The donor stories featured in this book are a true representation of how just one person can play a huge role in helping others. We hope these stories will inspire you to think about your own giving. There is so much we can accomplish together!
Southwest Initiative Foundation’s accomplishments and lessons learned during Fiscal Year 2013 reflect a renewed sense of our mission to be a catalyst, facilitating opportunities for economic and social growth by developing and challenging leaders to build on the region’s assets, a rebranded organizational identity, and an enduring commitment to our impactful and innovative work.
- Learn about the impact of giving and grant making in our southwest Minnesota region by reviewing our latest edition of Looking Forward, Giving Back.
- Email us or call us at 800-594-9480 to receive a printed copy.
Bill McCormack completed his two-year term as board chair. Under his direction, SWIF improved processes and the impact our board and entire organization makes.
Board members Sandy Ludeman, Gary Geiger, and H. Cris Remucal, M.D., retired from the SWIF board at the end of FY2013. Each made a significant impact on SWIF and the entire southwest Minnesota regional community.
What has the Southwest Initiative Foundation done?
Processed many gifts and grants
- Processed and awarded a record number of community foundation and designated fund partner grants, representing an investment of over $1.4 million into our communities.
- Booked a gift of farmland into the Keep It GrowingSM farmland giving program.
- Partnered with Valspar Corporation to support community projects through the Minnesota Beautiful Picture It Painted program.
Organized and supported community leaders
- Community foundation program piloted new coordinators in three communities including Bird Island-Olivia, Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Montevideo.
- Nonprofit Leader’s Academy trained 15 leaders to build their individual capacity.
- Continued Community Engagement Work, including launching new Welcome Home training sessions for Blandin Community Leadership Program cohorts.
- YES! had 32 teams statewide and received the Environmental Initiative Award recognizing it as a leading educational program in Minnesota.
- Renewed our partnership with The McKnight Foundation in support of our Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative.
- Distributed 10,000 children’s books with an average value of $12 each for just $1 each throughout the region.
- SEED community of Willmar was selected to begin implementing statewide early learning efforts as part of statewide early childhood investments.
- Brought author of Boom Town USA: 7 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns Jack Schultz to Minnesota.
Helped businesses grow and improve
- Approved $1.8 million in Business Finance loans.
- Microloan/entrepreneurship’s CORE website won the DOT.Org Award and was named the first Minnesota trustee for Kiva Zip, an international microlending organization.
- Launched Social Media Breakfasts in multiple southwest Minnesota communities.
- Awarded four Anderson Center scholarships to businesses for their staff to attend extensive leadership training opportunities.
- Partnered with Enterprise Minnesota Manufacturing to support this important regional industry.
Shared southwest Minnesota stories and promoted the region
- Launched a partnership with the Linder Farm Network to promote farmland giving.
- Hosted professional advisor luncheons to educate financial professionals about giving options through SWIF.
- Welcomed five new members to the SWIF Board of Directors, representing communities throughout the region.