Since 1986, Southwest Initiative Foundation has been committed to the social and economic growth of southwest Minnesota by evolving, growing and responding to the ever-changing region that we proudly call home.
Our original mission was to strengthen southwest Minnesota in three ways: improving the region’s economic self-reliance, overcoming human distress, and promoting regional leadership, coordination and partnerships. While our work continues to address these broad areas, the changing regional context now calls us to act in new ways.
Demographics illustrate a changing face of rural southwest Minnesota:
- Nearly one-third of our population is projected to be over age 65 by 2030.
- Since 2000, our total population of color increased nearly 74 percent, while the white population decreased by more than 8 percent.
- The region’s population is projected to grow by nearly 40,000 in the next 30 years, with almost 100 percent of this growth from kids of color.
- While rich with opportunities, many families in our region are not financially secure. One in six southwest Minnesota kids lives in poverty.
Workforce, housing and child care are the three big issues we hear throughout southwest Minnesota. Rural areas don’t have the necessary skilled employees to fill positions and support business growth. The housing stock is limited and aged, inflating rental costs and pricing working families out of homeownership. A drop in child care providers over the last decades is causing problems for families and their employers. These issues are interconnected. And, they’re intensified for those living in poverty.
Our aim is to bridge the gap between unfolding opportunities in southwest Minnesota and our most economically insecure residents, especially kids. While the majority of people in poverty in southwest Minnesota are white, we see a disproportionate number of people of color living in poverty. We see inclusion as a growth strategy that will impact our region in a positive way.
Our new strategic plan, which officially started July 1, 2016, represents a paradigm shift for the foundation. We have adopted a focus on supporting all southwest Minnesota kids–our future employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, homeowners, volunteers and taxpayers. We believe our region’s economy depends on their success.
We will continue the work we do best—business finance, grantmaking, early childhood, community philanthropy—with a focus on helping our next generation have the opportunity to succeed right here in our region.
Join our official launch to this exciting new work by attending the Grow Our Own Summit December 15 in Marshall.
IRS Form 990
Our audited IRS Form 990 is made available to the public. Download our current form representing Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014). Please note this is a large file and may take a few moments to open. Contact us at 800-594-9480 to request a copy.