Jackson County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Jackson County. We’ve awarded 416 grants totaling $1.9 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 35 loans totaling $2.3 million to finance local businesses. Mark Titus of Jackson serves on our board of directors. Chanthavy Singvongsa serves on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet.

McLeod County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of McLeod County. We’ve awarded 371 grants totaling $1.9 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 124 loans totaling $4.6 million to finance local businesses. Christie Hantge of Hutchinson serves on our board of directors. Don Martinez and Karlie Mosher, both of Hutchinson, serve on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet. Office headquarters are in Hutchinson.

Lac Qui Parle County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Lac qui Parle County. We’ve awarded 579 grants totaling $4 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 26 loans totaling $1.8 million to finance local businesses.

Meeker County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Meeker County. We’ve awarded 301 grants totaling $1.9 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 57 loans totaling $2.2 million to finance local businesses. Randy Reinke of Litchfield serves on our board of directors.

Swift County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Swift County. We’ve awarded 510 grants totaling $3.5 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 40 loans totaling $2.7 million to finance local businesses. Jan Lundebrek of Benson serves on our board of directors.

Big Stone County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Big Stone County. We’ve awarded 206 grants totaling $2 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 14 loans totaling $549,800 to finance local businesses.

Kandiyohi County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Kandiyohi County. We’ve awarded 418 grants totaling $3.7 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 117 loans totaling $5.4 million to finance local businesses. Our current board chair is Bob Thurston of Spicer. Patti Loehr-Dols of Willmar also serves on our board. Fardowsa Ibrahim of Willmar, Jonathan Morales of Spicer, Ayan Muktar of Willmar, Chasity Ommodt of Spicer and Robert Valdez of Willmar serve on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet. Jeff Vetsch of New London is on staff.

Chippewa County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Chippewa County. We’ve awarded 523 grants totaling $3.6 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 34 loans totaling $1.3 million to finance local businesses. Janice Nelson of Montevideo serves as vice chair on our board of directors. Scott Marquardt of Montevideo is on staff.

Renville County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Renville County. We’ve awarded 344 grants totaling $2.8 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 69 loans totaling $2.5 million to finance local businesses. Board chair Bob Thurston owns Thurston Genetics in Olivia. Rob Saunders of Bird Island serves as our past board chair. Susie Lang and Rob Thurston, both of Olivia, serve on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet.

Redwood County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Redwood County. We’ve awarded 332 grants totaling $2.5 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 84 loans totaling $3.5 million to finance local businesses. Sarah Warner of Walnut Grove serves on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet.

Yellow Medicine County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Yellow Medicine County. We’ve awarded 434 grants totaling $3.6 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 49 loans totaling $1.9 million to finance local businesses. Theresa Peterson of the Upper Sioux Community serves on our board of directors.

Lyon County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Lyon County. We’ve awarded 492 grants totaling $3.7 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 61 loans totaling $2.6 million to finance local businesses. Mary Maertens of Marshall serves on our board of directors. Jodi Maertens of Ghent is on staff.

Lincoln County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Lincoln County. We’ve awarded 301 grants totaling $2.1 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 39 loans totaling $1.1 million to finance local businesses.

Cottonwood County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Cottonwood County. We’ve awarded 396 grants totaling $2.1 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 44 loans totaling $2 million to finance local businesses.

Murray County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Murray County. We’ve awarded 230 grants totaling $1.6 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 15 loans totaling $822,350 to finance local businesses.

Pipestone County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Pipestone County. We’ve awarded 260 grants totaling $2.2 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 24 loans totaling $1.2 million to finance local businesses.

Rock County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Rock County. We’ve awarded 181 grants totaling $1.8 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 29 loans totaling $2.2 million to finance local businesses. Tim Connell of Luverne serves on our board of directors.

Nobles County

Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in the people and places of Nobles County. We’ve awarded 480 grants totaling $2.2 million to support local nonprofits, schools and community projects. We’ve also made 75 loans totaling $4.1 million to finance local businesses. Jordan Huisken and Jessica Velasco, both of Worthington, serve on our Emerging Leaders Cabinet. Amy Woitalewicz of Worthington is on staff.

Board of Directors

Robert Thurston Photo

Robert Thurston

Chair
President: Thurston Genetics
Olivia, MN

 
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Robert L. Thurston, Spicer, is currently the president of Olivia-based Thurston Genetics, a national and international corn genetics licensing company. He has worked in agriculture—and specifi cally the seed corn industry—his entire adult life, and founded Thurston, Inc. in 1980 and Thurston Genetics in 1994. Thurston holds leadership positions in other organizations including the Ridgewater Foundation, Corn Capital Trust in Olivia, American Bank of Olivia and Renville, Minnesota Postsecondary Agricultural Students Organization, Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace – Alliance for Talent Development, American Seed Trade Assn., Independent Professional Seedsman and other state and national agricultural organizations and committees.

Janice Nelson Photo

Janice Nelson

Vice Chair
Attorney: Nelson Oyen Torvik, P.L.L.P
Montevideo, MN

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Janice Nelson, Montevideo, is an attorney with the firm of Nelson Oyen Torvik, P.L.L.P. in Montevideo where she concentrates in real estate, estate planning, elder law and probate, as well as serving as the Montevideo city attorney. She is the secretary of the real property council for the Minnesota State Bar Association and will progress to the position of president. Nelson graduated from Augsburg College, Minneapolis, worked in banking and later graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School. She returned to practice law in her hometown of Montevideo.

Rob Saunders PhotoRobert Saunders

Past Chair
Senior Partner: Saunders Mertens Schmitz, P.A., Certified Public Accountants, Bird Island, MN

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Rob Saunders, Bird Island, is senior partner at Saunders Mertens Schmitz, P.A., Certified Public Accountants and owner of Island Financial Planning, Inc., in Bird Island. He is a member of the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy and the Minnesota Financial Planning Association, past president of the Minnesota Association of Public Accountants, past chairman of the Bird Island Economic Development Authority and treasurer of the BOLD Foundation. Saunders attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, was a TopGun graduate and served as a U.S. Naval Flight Officer.

Tim Connell

Tim Connell

Secretary
Retired: Judge-Fifth Judicial District, Rock County, Luverne, MN

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Tim Connell is a retired judge of the Fifth Judicial District, Rock County, Luverne, Minn. He was appointed by former Gov. Rudy Perpich on June 30, 1987. Connell is a high school graduate of Luverne High School, has a B.A. in Humanities from St. John’s University and received his Juris Doctor Degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1976. Connell was in private practice for 11 years before being appointed judge. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Connell is very active in the Luverne community, serving as chair of the Rock County Children’s Justice Initiative and Rock County Collaborative 6-12 Work Team. He is also active in various civic groups including his church, Rotary Club, Rock County Community Education Board and many others. Connell resides in Luverne with his wife, Connie. They have three adult children.

Jan Lundebrek

Jan Lundebrek

Treasurer
President: First Security Bank
Benson, MN

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Janet Lundebrek is the Benson Branch President of the First Security Bank of Sleepy Eye. She has worked extensively in the field of agriculture at a county, state and national level. She was a founding member of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Plant Board and has been an executive officer of the company since. Jan has served on many civic boards including the Salvation Army, Benson Hospital Foundation and Benson Area Community Foundation. Jan has been active in the Renewable Fuels Association, ACE and Farmers Union. She also served on the MNREM leadership board that sponsored the WIRED Energy Grants. In addition, she served as past president of the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce and as community development chair for several years. Jan has a long history with Southwest Initiative Foundation, including participating in the Project LEAD women’s program and volunteering on the loan advisory committee.
Christie Hantge

Christie Hantge

Consultant for Community and Economic Development in southwest Minnesota and in Minneapolis
Hutchinson, MN

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Christie provides community and economic development consulting services to small cities and Minneapolis neighborhood organizations. Her previous work experience includes serving as economic development coordinator for the City of Norwood Young America and the St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership, EDA director for the City of Hutchinson, and executive director of the Longfellow Community Council, a nonprofit neighborhood organization in Minneapolis. Current board and volunteer service includes the incoming president of the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, chair of the Hutchinson Planning Commission, assistant coach of the Hutchinson Girls Track and Field Team, Children’s Grief Connection, and Historic Hutchinson. Christie also served three terms on Southwest Initiative Foundation’s Loan Advisory Committee. 
Patricia Loehr-Dols

Patricia Loehr-Dols

Retired – Elementary Principal
Willmar, MN

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Patricia Loehr-Dols makes her home in Willmar and is a retired elementary school principal. Most recently, Patricia served as principal at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar where she was responsible for 900 diverse students and 100 staff.Patricia has a long-standing commitment to rural communities and education. She is a member of the Minnesota Elementary Principal’s Association and Association of Supervision & Curriculum Development. She is active with the SWIF’s Willmar Early Childhood Initiative. She also serves as co-chair for Empower “Women United in Philanthropy” and president for the Willmar Public School Foundation.In 2001, Patricia was named a Business and Professional Women – Women of the Year. She is a co-founder of the area lakes Studio Hop art event and coordinator of Wonder Camp, a math and science camp for girls. She has also provided leadership in her church.

Mary Maertens photoMary Maertens

President/CEO: Avera Health
Marshall, MN

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Mary Maertens is the regional president/CEO of Avera Health in Marshall and a voting board member of Avera Marshall. Mary provided leadership during the sale of the medical center in 2008, repositioning the organization as an integ rated system.Mary has extensive leadership and healthcare experience in rural Minnesota. She has recruited 30 physicians and mid-level practitioners to the community. She also redesigned the foundation structure to improve Avera Health’s philanthropic a ctivities in the Marshall area.Mary serves on the Minnesota Hospital Association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She is active with other community organizations including Rotary, United Way and her church and is past board chair of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce.

Randy Reinke 7-14 webRandy Reinke

President/CEO: Custom Products of Litchfield
Litchfield, MN

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Randy Reinke is President/CEO of Custom Products of Litchfield, a sheet metal and tubing fabricator specializing in the design, testing and manufacture of cab enclosures and rollover protection for off-highway vehicles. Randy joined the company in 1979. In addition to his leadership at Custom Products, Randy serves on multiple state and local boards and committees. Current positions include Grow Minnesota!, Workers Compensation Research Institute, Litchfield School Board – School Improvement Advisory Council, Trifac Workers’ Compensation Fund, Aggregate Security Insurance Group – A Risk Retention Group, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Randy is also active with the Litchfield Area Community Foundation, one of SWIF’s 24 community foundation affiliates.  

Mark Titus

Mark Titus

Semi-retired: Veterinarian
Jackson, MN

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Mark Titus is a veterinarian living in Jackson. He is currently employed by Newport Laboratories in Worthington as Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs and Technical Support. Prior to his career in the animal health industry, he worked as a practicing veterinarian in Jackson. Mark received his undergraduate college education at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, and his DVM and MS degrees from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn. He is a past director of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association and past president of the Association of Veterinary Biologics Companies. Mark is a life-long resident of southwest Minnesota and has served his community as a member and officer of the Jackson and Jackson County Central (JCC) school boards, JCC Education Foundation and Jackson Community Foundation. 
 

Former Board Members

J. Terry Anderson
Jim Bakken
Gary Becker
Doug Bultman
Connie Burchill *
Elroy Burgeson *
Cliff Carmody
Robert Carothers
Connie Connell
Marcy Costello
Connie J. Crowell
Joyce Dass
Rick Ellingworth
Ron Erpelding
Jeff Ettinger
Wayne Freese, D.V.M.
Gary Geiger
Larry Graf
Kent Gustafson
Jeff Haag
James Hamilton
Alicia Johnson
Ronald Johnson
Jim Keul
Dennis Klute
Myron Koets
Mark Lofthus
Sander Ludeman
Mary Magnus
Dr. Phil Maus
William McCormack
Connie VanDerBill    Medin
Gerald Michaelson *
Francis Mortier
Ron Noyes
Mary Page *
Becky Parker
Margaret Preska
Joan Ratzloff
Greg Raymo
Dr. Mary Retterer
H. Cris Remucal, M.D.
Vince Robinson
Berdette Schoep
Don Stella
Bob Taubert
Elwood Throndrud *
Timothy B. Ulrich
Gloria VandeBrake
Laura Warne
Hugh Wegner *
Lyle Weismantel
*Deceased

 

 

@2017 Southwest Initiative Foundation, an equal opportunity provider and employer.

15 3rd Avenue NW
Hutchinson, MN 55350
(320) 587-4848 (Local)
(800) 594-9480 (Toll Free)
(320) 587-3838 (Fax)
info@swifoundation.org

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