Happy Anniversary! In 1999 the Southwest Initiative Foundation board of directors approved the development of a local community foundation program. At that time the communities of Dawson, Pipestone, Appleton and Worthington were chosen to participate in what was then considered a pilot program. Dawson was the first community to get started and they quickly raised over $25,000 in large and small gifts to build their endowment. Since that time, the Dawson Community Foundation has made over 150 grants from the funds they oversee and has helped strengthen their community through their support for the arts, education, youth development, community improvements and so much more. Several current board members are pictured here with me at a meeting this spring.
The Southwest Initiative Foundation affiliate foundation program has now grown to 28 communities with the recent additions of Cottonwood and Glencoe. In the 20 years since its inception, over 1,000 volunteers have served on community foundation boards helping to host fundraising events and grantmaking galas. Using their talents to create marketing materials, keep track of financial information and build community ties. They have done this because they understand that having a community foundation makes your community stronger.
Since 1999 SWIF affiliate foundations have:
- Raised millions for local endowments
- Funded hundreds of projects from baseball field renovations, to splash pads, to veteran’s memorials, to child care centers and so much more
- Made thousands of grants to local non-profits supporting the arts, health care education, civic pride, youth development and historic preservation to name a few
- Encouraged generosity and created a vibrant space for local philanthropy
Our community foundation program continues to grow thanks to the work of volunteers like you. Thank you for all you do to support your community and here is to the next 20 years!
About the Author: Jeff Vetsch serves as Community Philanthropy Officer at Southwest Initiative Foundation.