As Southwest Initiative Foundation President and CEO, Diana Anderson considers it an honor to be part of the incredible network of people working daily to keep southwest Minnesota strong and vibrant. Originally from western South Dakota, her rural roots run deep, and she champions the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines small towns across the Upper Midwest.
Since joining Southwest Initiative Foundation in 2001, Diana has brought her expertise to every aspect of the foundation’s work. From fundraising and programming to operations and human relations, Diana has built relationships, strategy and infrastructure that make the foundation a trusted partner and regional leader. Her skill in making connections and an iterative learning approach has elevated the foundation’s unique position, bringing together its work in economic development, social growth and philanthropy for an even greater impact.
Diana’s vision launched a new movement in 2016 called Grow Our Own, an effort to ensure all southwest Minnesota youth can find success. Her philosophy has been shaped by raising her family in multiple rural communities, Southwest Initiative Foundation’s work and her previous work in healthcare administration and communication. She sees supporting our next generation as a long-term economic development strategy and simply the right thing to do.
Diana received her bachelor’s degree from Augustana University in Sioux Falls and continued her education at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She applies her education, strategic thinking and advocacy through volunteer leadership on several boards, including the Minnesota Council on Foundations, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, Anderson Center, Aveyron Homes, Inc. and the I. J. Burich Foundation.