Grow Our Own: Prosperity for our kids and the communities they call home
In southwest Minnesota, more than one in six children live in poverty. Not all of these kids—no matter how hard they try—will be able to reach their full potential without help.
Kids from low-income families have less access to everything from quality early childhood education to Advanced Placement courses in high school to sport and enrichment activities that provide mentoring, teambuilding and other life-long skills they need to be good citizens and good employees.
These kids are our future employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, volunteers, homeowners and taxpayers. We believe that our region’s economy depends on their success. We need to break the cycle of poverty to help our kids have the chance to succeed.
In the first year of our strategic initiative to “Grow Our Own,” Southwest Initiative Foundation has fully embraced our role as a community foundation through bold leadership and a regional perspective as we focus on closing the opportunity gap, increasing the economic and social well-being of our region. In fiscal year 2017 …
- Southwest Initiative Foundation received $2.7 million in gifts to all our funds from the people, businesses and organizations that care about southwest Minnesota and make our work possible.
- We awarded 497 grants totaling $1.3 million. to help nonprofits and communities in our region.
- Our family of 26 community affiliates and 105 funds supported critical local needs and projects.
The support of donors and friends makes our region an even better place to live, learn and earn. Thank you!
Email or call us at 800-594-9480 to receive a printed copy of our annual report.
Our volunteer Board of Directors, led by Board Chair Janice Nelson, represents the best of southwest Minnesota. They are a committed and experienced group of regional leaders actively involved in serving our mission. Past Board Chair Rob Saunders, Bird Island, completed a 10-year term and retired from board service June 30, 2017. We are grateful for his unwavering optimism, thoughtfulness and vision for our region’s future.
Terry Gaalswyk of Worthington and Teresa Peterson, Utuhu Cistinna Win, of the Upper Sioux Community were elected to our board effective July 1, 2017.
Legacy Gift Planner Bob Golberg retired in December 2016. And in 2017, we welcomed staff members Selina Berning, Entrepreneurship Finance Specialist; Lori Anderson, Accounting Assistant; and Marie Zimmerman, Communications Specialist.
The notes to these statements are an integral part of the financials. Please email us or call us at 800-594-9480 to request our complete audited financials.
- Awarded 497 grants totaling $1.3 million to benefit the people and communities of southwest Minnesota.
- Awarded $183,314 in grants for early care and education.
- Awarded $89,956 in Grow Our Own responsive grants
- Launched Southwest Initiative Foundation’s new strategic initiative and focus on supporting all southwest Minnesota kids. More than 500 employers, community leaders, elected officials, educators and students attended the Grow Our Own Summit to kick off this work.
- Participated as one of 18 community foundations from across the Midwest in Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency, and Emergency Partnership (PPREP), a disaster-preparedness, response and recovery
- Offered Grow Our Own opportunity grants to our affiliate partners, with 12 affiliate foundations granting $30,000 to their local partner organizations through the program, while growing their endowment funds through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from SWIF.
- Added the Darwin Community Legacy Foundation to our funds, bringing our total to 26 affiliate partners.
- Made 31 loans totaling more than $1.4 million through our Business Finance and microloan programs.
- Awarded $87,000 economic development grants, including support by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
- Received $100,000 through the DEED Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program (ELP).
- Participated in the second cohort of the BALLE-RSF Social Finance Community Foundation Impact Investing Circle, a group of 13 community and place-based foundations learning, sharing information, assessing best practices and advancing the field.
- Sponsored the 2016 Ag and Animal Science Conference in Willmar and the 2017 Bioscience Conference in Worthington. SWIF was also a focus group host and regional event host for the Enterprise Minnesota 2017 State of Manufacturing Survey.
- Through work with the Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovators Network (REDPIN), SWIF assembled a 14-member task force to map the child care system in our region.