HUTCHINSON, Minn.— Aspiring leaders looking for guidance on their leadership journey are invited to apply to be part of the Growing Local: Emerging Leaders cohort. This program supports emerging leaders in southwest Minnesota and is a partnership between Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and University of Minnesota Extension. Applications are open through Feb. 17 at swifoundation.org. There is no charge to participate.
Growing Local: Emerging Leaders provides tools and resources for participants to build their confidence and empowers them to shape the future in southwest Minnesota communities. An emerging leader is someone who is ready to start their leadership journey. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply for this leadership program, especially those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of color (BIPOC).
Khou Lor coordinates Growing Local: Emerging Leaders as part of her role at SWIF. Lor serves as the foundation’s Rural Equity Specialist and is a resource for communities across the region, while helping build and strengthen local Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and organizations in southwest Minnesota.
“By participating in this program, my hope is that emerging leaders will be given that opportunity to shine and by shining, their communities will get to say, ‘That leader came from my community!’ I hope a new wave of leaders will bring energy to their communities,” Lor said. “By nurturing these leaders, communities will be able to invite fresh perspectives, have boards and commissions that reflect the make-up of their communities and invite the intention of belonging in a community space. As humans we all long for connection and the feeling of belonging. I can’t imagine a community that wouldn’t want that in their community.”
Growing Local: Emerging Leaders sessions will be a combination of three in-person and three virtual meetings. The sessions start in April and go through September. All participants are required to attend all sessions and related activities.
Participants must be 18 years or older at the time of applying, be able to speak and read English and have transportation to and from sessions. In addition, they should reside in one of the 18 counties or two Native that make up SWIF’s region: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties; Caŋṡayapi Oyate (Lower Sioux Indian Community) and Peżihutazizi Oyate (Upper Sioux Community).
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $107 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs.