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.

Past Programming

Southwest Initiative Foundation is a catalyst—we provide a spark to help make positive change in our region. Sometimes that’s in the form of financial support, leadership training or discussion facilitation. And sometimes it’s through proactive programming.

Our programs and initiatives address specific needs and opportunities of our region and take on different forms. We’ve administered programs using statewide resources for renewable energy and created our very own programs in partnership with other organizations.

At some point, all of our programs (with the exception of our loan programs and our community foundation partnerships) sunset for any number of reasons:

  • We achieved the desired outcomes.
  • Work transitioned to local or other leadership.
  • Funding ended.
  • Needs of our region changed.

Past programs created an impact in our region. In many cases they led to further action and support beyond Southwest Initiative Foundation. And, lessons learned inform our future programming.

Parish Nursing
Through the Paul and Alma Schwan Aging Trust Fund, we started a Parish Nurse program to support productive again in the region. Parish nurses provide wholistic care in various capacities by providing health education and counseling, teaching and coordinating volunteers, connecting community organizations with congregational members, and helping to clarify the close relationship between faith and health. Our grant funding supported the startup of many successful parish nurse programs since 1996, many of which are still going today through alternative funding sources.
Connected Communities Partnership
Piloted in 2008, this intensive program was designed to bring leaders and citizens together to identify and prioritize community opportunities and then develop and implement an action plan. The program was piloted in Montevideo and New London. Both communities implemented projects and trained local leaders. Rather than offering this stand-alone program one community at a time, Southwest Initiative Foundation chose to implement leadership development into all of our program areas, expanding our reach to many more communities.
Renewable Energy Marketplace
This regional brand was introduced in the early 2000s as a way to educate and inspire economic opportunities connected to the new and growing renewable energy industry. While the brand is no longer in use, the efforts have helped move southwest Minnesota to the forefront in the bioscience, renewable energy, food and agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.
Rural Energy Development Initiative (REDI)
This program was administered in 2009 by Southwest Initiative Foundation with funding from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. It provided outreach and education about wind energy development opportunities in rural Minnesota. It also provided financial assistance to owners of eligible community-based wind energy projects. Loan funded wind studies and transmission interconnection studies. REDI Resources was created to continue offering support to our renewable energy industry.
Rural Technology and Telecommunications Project (TNT)
In 2000, we launched the Rural Technology and Telecommunications Project (TNT) to help businesses, communities and individuals understand and implement telecommunications technology. While this is no longer one of our initiatives, effects of our efforts can be seen as support for increased technology accessibility expands throughout the state. This includes laying groundwork that has supported the current Blandin Broadband Initiative led by the Blandin 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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