Connecting people is part of Southwest Initiative Foundation’s mission. That means something different to us today as we face an unprecedented time.
We care deeply about all people who call southwest Minnesota home and continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation and exploring how we can play a role in supporting the individuals, families, businesses, organizations and communities in our region.
Our regional response
At this time, we’re offering loan deferments for all our current business clients and extra support to child care providers. We’re also working with chambers and economic development partners to help ensure our southwest Minnesota businesses have information about accessing resources through state and federal agencies. If you’re connected to one of our community affiliates or other funds, you’ll be hearing from us with additional details.
We’re also collaborating with statewide partners on the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for Coronavirus. We anticipate there will be even more we can do, and a response like this is possible thanks to the generous donors and partners who support our work.
Adjustments to our operations
The health and safety of our team, partners and communities is our top priority. Together, we are being asked to do our part to limit the spread and speed of the infection by person-to-person contact. Many of our community members are vulnerable to more serious reactions to this disease due to age and underlying health conditions. People of all ages should follow guidelines to stay healthy and avoid transmitting this disease to others, even if you are experiencing mild or no symptoms yourself. We are hopeful that preparation and caution will reduce the impact felt by our communities.
We have canceled or postponed in-person meetings and events through at least May 1, including The Power of ONE banquet scheduled April 16. Please watch our website for ongoing event updates. Our office is closed to the public, but our work continues with staff working remotely. This operational model has been in place at Southwest Initiative Foundation for 20+ years, and we’re confident we can continue our work effectively using technology. You can find our team’s direct contact information online and we encourage you to reach out!
Ways to help
We’re also asking each of you to do your part. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Stay informed using information from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health. Check the source of information you see for credibility and accuracy before sharing it on social media, with colleagues or your family.
- Follow federal and state guidelines for schools, work and social settings to reduce the spread and speed of COVID-19.
- Learn how to talk with children about Coronavirus Disease. Be honest and reassuring. The CDC has a resource page to help you.
- Put empathy and kindness first. Disease outbreaks can cause fear and disrupt daily lives. Think about ways you can help members of your community who are especially impacted during this time through lost wages and business revenue, child care and school closures, food insecurity and more.
- Avoid social stigma or discrimination toward people of Asian descent, people who have traveled and emergency responders or healthcare professionals. Use COVID-19 or coronavirus when talking about the disease. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger toward others.
Southwest Initiative Foundation was created in response to challenging times in 1986, and we will be here to respond to the challenging times ahead. We are grateful for our healthcare professionals, educators and leaders who are on the front lines providing aid and making decisions to care for and protect us. Our thoughts are with those who are fighting this disease. We’re thinking of you, as we’re all impacted. Now is the time for us to work together!