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.

Strategic Approach

We've adopted a focus on helping our next generation have the opportunity to succeed right here in our region.

We’ve adopted a focus on helping our next generation have the opportunity to succeed right here in our region.

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.

@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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