Grantmaking is a key role of community foundations like Southwest Initiative Foundation. We usually award grants for regional efforts that make rural southwest Minnesota stronger or support a specific area of our work. We also may award grants for local efforts that meet critical needs of people in our region.
Most of our grants are awarded through our more than 120 fund partners. We provide the administrative support that allows local volunteers and families to raise funds and support good work, without worrying about all the paperwork. If you have a fund in your area, they might be a resource for you.
We can award grants to nonprofit organizations, schools, government agencies and projects that use one of these entities as a fiscal partner.
One of the most common questions we’re asked is, “Can I get a grant to start my business?” We don’t award grants to individuals or to start a business. Instead, entrepreneurs can talk to our loan team, and if their plan seems like it could be a fit for Southwest Initiative Foundations, apply for loan assistance.
Check out our most recent edition of Looking Forward, Giving Back to learn more about how Southwest Initiative Foundation and our fund partners are able to award grants through the generosity of our donors.
Types of Grants
- 2017 Early Care and Education
Competitive grants of up to $5,000 to help regional nonprofits address early care and education. Areas of focus include PreK-3rd grade alignment, social and emotional development, and early care and education. Deadline is 5 p.m. April 21, 2017.
- Nonprofit Capacity Building
Competitive grant cycle to build the strength and long-term sustainability of southwest Minnesota nonprofits to deliver quality programming more efficiently and effectively. Application deadline has passed for this grant cycle.
- Local Impact
Responsive grants to helps meet the critical needs of people living in southwest Minnesota.
- Regional Impact
Supports projects, programs or organizations that have a widespread impact on southwest Minnesota.
Proactive grants to support Southwest Initiative Foundation partners in programming, from development to project implementation.
- Fund Partner
Awards grants with dedicated assets from Southwest Initiative Foundation fund partners. Criteria, application process and selection is managed by local fund partner advisers.
How to Apply
If you believe your project fits within our guidelines and criteria, you may complete our online pre-application questionnaire.
After we receive your questionnaire, here’s how the process works:
- You will receive an e-mail confirming our receipt of your pre-application questionnaire.
- Our team meets monthly to review and discuss each grant inquiry. After reviewing your completed questionnaire, we will contact you to either invite or decline a full application. If we invite a full application, you are still not guaranteed a grant. This is an indication that we want to hear more about your project because it meets the basic requirements for funding. If we decline a full application, we will share our reasons and may refer you to other potential funders.
- We send you the full application, for you to complete and return.
- Upon receipt, your full application is assigned to a staff grant reviewer. They will contact you with questions and schedule a site visit, if deemed necessary.
- The grant reviewer will make a recommendation to the president or board of directors, depending on the amount requested.
- You will be informed after the final decision is made, which may include a reduction in the amount of requested funding, a full or partial matching challenge, payment schedule or other stipulations.
- Once we receive the required documents, the funds will be distributed as outlined in the grant agreement and announced to the media.
- Project reports will be required as outlined in the grant agreement. This information may be used as a learning tool to help other organizations and guide future foundation funding.
Remember, the grant process begins by completing the pre-application questionnaire.
For more information:
E-mail Nancy Fasching
Community Impact Director