Inspired to impact our youngest citizens, Southwest Initiative Foundation engaged with the other five Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) and created the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) in 2003.
This grassroots network of now 90 coalitions connects communities, volunteers, leaders, agencies and organizations to drive change to ensure that every young child in Greater Minnesota has the best possible start to a healthy life of learning, achieving and succeeding.
- Guiding Principles
- Every child must have the opportunity to learn, be safe, and be loved.
- Parents have the most important role to play, but need and deserve the support of the broader community to be successful.
- All children must enter school ready to learn.
- Investment in our youngest children leads to valuable economic impact in our communities.
- The best interests of our youngest children must be a priority for local leaders and all policy-makers.
- Project and Goals
- Recruit diverse stakeholders to engage in coalitions.
- Raise awareness about the importance of quality early childhood experiences.
- Stimulate leaders to create responses to local needs.
- Create a unified voice to influence public and private policy.
- ECI Teams
The Southwest Initiative Foundation has established 15 Early Childhood Initiative community coalitions in the 18-county area of southwest Minnesota. These grassroots coalitions work to increase school readiness locally for children ages zero to five and engage local citizens in advocacy for increased investments and sound public policy for young children and their families.
SWIF provides leadership and resources to these coalitions for three years and helps develop a plan for sustainability. View all of our coalition locations by selecting the Early Childhood Initiative Coalitions triangle at the top of our map page.
- Regional Teams
- Southwest Regional Thrive
The overarching goal of Thrive is to create seamless systems or networks of local services that support the healthy social and emotional development of Minnesota’s youngest children ages zero to five, with an emphasis on the first three years of life. It began in 2006 through a partnership between the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (including the Southwest Initiative Foundation) and the Bush Foundation.
- Early Childhood Dental Network-Southwest
Beginning in 2013, the Early Childhood Dental Network-Southwest strives to improve awareness, education, and access to oral health in Southwest Minnesota for all children ages 0-5. Funding is provided through a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation.
- Southwest Regional Thrive
- Building Nurturing Communities of Thriving Children
“Building Nurturing Communities of Thriving Children” was produced by Wilder Research on behalf of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations. In this report 18 of the nearly 400 projects and programs implemented thus far by the 64 Early Childhood Coalitions were assessed. The featured programs represent model or exemplary strategies in their respective regions, including southwest Minnesota.
- Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative Impacts and Insights
Produced by Wilder Research on behalf of the MIFs, this report describes the findings from a key stakeholder survey administered to 252 early childhood coalition members involved in the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative and highlights numerous key achievements.
- Promising Strategies
Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative coalition communities have developed projects and activities that are replicable for other communities. This serves as a resource for ideas about literacy, community engagement, advocacy, and school readiness projects. Included in this list are long-range, sustained projects to short-term activities or events that can be used by ECFE, School Readiness, child care and parent organizations with a wide variety of resources.
If you or your program have a Promising Strategy that you would like to add to this list, please contact Jodi Maertens at 800-594-9480.
We gratefully acknowledge our Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative funding partners.
- Buuck Family Foundation
- Bush Foundation
- Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation
- Mardag Foundation
- Medica Foundation
- The McKnight Foundation
- Otto Bremer Foundation
- Robert and Helen Remick Charitable Trust
- Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi L.L.P. Foundation for Education, Public Health and Social Justice
- The Schwan Food Company
- Sheltering Arms Foundation