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.

Early Childhood Initiative

MN Early Childhood Initiative Logo Color JPGInspired 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.

Resources

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.

Click here to view the Strategy documents.

Partners

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
@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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