History shows that southwest Minnesota is resilient and full of caring, committed people—including you. Thanks to our donors for supporting our work this year! Because of you, we can respond to our region’s changing needs and ensure our communities remain vibrant and welcoming for our next generation.
We began the year with big plans for Grow Our Own. Together with communities and partners, we were implementing innovative ideas to help our kids succeed. From expanding child care options for families and employers, to career exploration for middle school and high school students—we saw positive results by taking a cradle-to-career approach to support our kids.
Then, the pandemic hit. It has brought human loss and suffering, halted our economy and changed our daily lives. Thanks to your support, Southwest Initiative Foundation was ready for emergency response, and we deployed
$3.4 million in four months to help southwest Minnesotans most affected by the crisis.
At the same time, longstanding disparities that separate people along racial and economic lines have come into full view. Our vision is for our communities to be a place where all people thrive. We believe that dignity and belonging are core human values, and we will work together with communities to address the systems and barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential. We invite you to be part of our continuing work!
Thanks to support from our donors and friends, this year alone we …
- Awarded 1,077 grants totaling $2.17 million from all our funds to help nonprofits and communities in our region, including $452,000 in Emergency Child Care Grants to 520 child care providers caring for more than 4,500 kids of emergency and essential workers.
- Closed 134 new loans totaling $4.21 million to support businesses in southwest Minnesota.
- Welcomed three new local community foundation affiliates in Lamberton, Windom and Winsted.
Read stories of impact from southwest Minnesota
Caring for our kids during the pandemic
In her 33 years as a child care provider, Jane Hovey has not experienced a challenge like COVID-19. She struggled to secure supplies for updated cleaning protocols, to meet food requirements with cost increases and to manage revenue as families dropped out. Southwest Initiative Foundation awarded her an Emergency Child Care grant that helped her remain open.
Grocery store on wheels builds bridges
One small trailer filled with food is bridging the gap between people, knowledge, cultures and much more in Worthington. It’s World Mart, a store on wheels that’s steered by the passion of Nathalie Nkashama. The brick-and-mortar store she’d opened in 2018 was already facing challenges when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to reimagine her business model.
Quick thinking for COVID-19 response
Sensing growing needs in the community as people were getting laid off and businesses were closing in April, Benson Area Community Foundation worked quickly to distribute $51,400 in local grants for COVID-19 relief. The board was able to make awards in May, a month earlier than their usual grant round, and granted out every dollar they had available into the community.
The notes to these statements are an integral part of the financials. Please email us or call us at 800-594-9480 to request our complete audited financials. Note: Our fiscal year 2020 runs from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.