Southwest Initiative Foundation is helping support the individuals, families, businesses, organizations and communities in our region who are impacted. Below you’ll find links to the resources we have available and updates on our day-to-day operations.
If you have questions, please contact us. Find our team’s direct contact information here.
Watch out for fraudulent activity! Please be cautious when opening emails, files and sharing any personal information online.
- If you receive a message from one of our Southwest Initiative Foundation staff that you’re not expecting, proceed with caution.
- If you are working with a member of our staff and receive a suspicious message, do not open it and delete it immediately. Our staff will include their contact information and signature line in their correspondence to you. If you’re unsure about a message, contact our staff before opening attachments, sharing personal information or forwarding/responding the message.
Small Business Assistance
Small business owners in southwest Minnesota impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can get help with these resources, including disaster loans.Find small business resources
Help for Child Care Providers
The Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and Child Care Aware of Minnesota are working together to distribute funds appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature. Find details at Child Care Aware.
Help for Nonprofits
Southwest Initiative Foundation will award grants as funding is available to southwest Minnesota nonprofits providing basic needs and working with people who need more and different support during this crisis.Learn about grant guidelines
You can also check out this set of resources shared by Propel Nonprofits, which includes scenario budget planning tools, strategy and planning templates, governance guides and more to help your nonprofits stay informed, prepare and respond.
Resources for Farmers
Farming can be a stressful occupation. Often, you live where you work. Your coworkers may be your spouse and/or other family members. While you get to be your own boss, you feel responsible for a lot and can control very little.
Financial problems, price and marketing uncertainties, farm transfer issues, production challenges, marital difficulties, and social pressures can be real sources of stress — even crisis — for farmers and farm families.Connect to resources for farmers
Help for Diverse Communities
It’s critical for all members of our communities to stay informed and feel safe. Access resources in multiple languages to share key messages with employees, neighbors and community members.Download key Minnesota Dept. of Health messages View Twin Cities PBS videos
Help with Internet Access
The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that access to broadband is necessary for everyone in Minnesota. Our partners at the Blandin Foundation have a list of free and low-cost internet plans available to Minnesota families in need.See the list of internet providers
Help with Housing
The MN COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) offers financial help to families who are struggling to meet their housing related payments. Families who reside in Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville and Rock Counties can access this assistance through United Community Action Partnership (UCAP). An on-line application is available at www.housinghelpmn.org. Below are flyers in English, Somali and Spanish with contact information for each local UCAP office to get help with questions.
Ideas for Families
Many entities are sharing ideas to ease anxiety and keeping families engaged while staying safe at home. Check out ideas from Minnesota Extension.Find ideas for families and bilingual resources
Changes to our operations
Connecting people is part of our mission; however, the health and safety of our team, partners and communities is our top priority during the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, we are being asked to do our part to limit the spread of the infection by person-to-person contact. We are hopeful that preparation and caution will reduce the impact felt by our communities.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) continues to update its guidelines for community mitigation strategies for schools, work and social settings to reduce the spread and speed of COVID-19. These guidelines will remain in place until further notice and can be found here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/action.html.
Southwest Initiative Foundation will follow these guidelines and encourages our community partners to follow them.
- Our office and conference rooms are closed to the public until further notice. Our team is communicating with groups scheduled to use our space. Staff continue to work remotely at this time.
What can you do to help?
- Stay informed using information from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health and check the source of information you see for credibility and accuracy before sharing it on social media, with colleagues or your family.
- Follow federal and state guidelines for schools, work and social settings to reduce the spread and speed of COVID-19.
- Learn how to talk with children about Coronavirus Disease. Be honest and reassuring. The CDC has a resource page to help you.
- Put empathy and kindness first. Disease outbreaks can cause fear and disrupt daily lives. Think about ways you can help members of your community who are especially impacted during this time through food insecurity, lost wages and business revenue, child care and school closures and more.
- Avoid social stigma or discrimination toward people of Asian descent, people who have traveled and emergency responders or healthcare professionals. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people.
We’re confident that southwest Minnesotans will continue to work together and care for one another during this unprecedented time!
Southwest Initiative Foundation was born from crisis in 1986, created to keep our communities strong and vibrant. We’ve been moving our strategic work forward, and when the current COVID-19 crisis hit, we also launched an immediate and thoughtful response. Here is a recent look at how our team is supporting southwest Minnesotans.