I’ve been spending my days with my chocolate lab, Leo, by my side. He hangs out in my home office and he joins my husband, John, and me on walks. I’ve been playing peeka-boo on video calls with my seven-month-old grandson, chatting on the phone with my mom and attending virtual meetings with many colleagues.
There are brief moments when life seems almost normal. And yet, we couldn’t be further from the world we knew not long ago—before COVID-19.
Days are also filled with moments of sadness, anxiety, fear and frustration. It’s hard not knowing what will come next. But I find comfort in the ways in which I see people coming together, caring for one another and helping those who need us the most.
More than 30 years ago, our southwest Minnesota region was facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Farmers were losing land their families had owned for generations. Businesses along main streets and industrial parks were closing. Homes were being foreclosed. Families were moving away. People were losing hope.
That’s when concerned and committed community members created Southwest Initiative Foundation to help.
Our immediate goal was to alleviate human distress and support economic recovery. Since then, we’ve built incredible relationships, developed unique programs and collaborated across all sectors to keep our southwest Minnesota communities strong and vibrant.
We have the resources and experience to respond to our region’s changing needs. It’s positioned us to respond quickly during the current crisis with support to businesses, child care providers and nonprofits. We know there will be more we can do.
Our newest issue of CONNECT newsletter comes at a time when “connecting” looks very different. But connecting people remains an important part of our mission, and I’m excited to share stories highlighting recent Grow Our Own successes. They serve as examples of how our educators innovate to ensure our kids get a quality education. How our entrepreneurs work hard to keep businesses going and growing. And how generous people give what they can to make a difference.
These people—and so many others—give me hope. Southwest Initiative Foundation was created in response to challenging times in 1986, and we will be here to respond to the challenging times ahead. Now is the time for us to work together!Read the CONNECT newsletter