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.

Teresa Peterson Elected to Board of Directors

Board member Teresa Peterson

Teresa Peterson

HUTCHINSON, Minn.—Teresa Peterson, Utuhu Cistinna Win, of the Upper Sioux Community was recently elected to the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) Board of Directors. She makes her home near Belview.

Peterson is a tribal member of the Upper Sioux Community, where she serves as Tribal Planner. Prior, she worked as the Tribal Planner for the Lower Sioux Indian Community. Peterson is an adjunct faculty in the Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies for Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall and a founder of Dakota Wicohan, a Native nonprofit whose work is in Dakota language and lifeways revitalization.

“We are thrilled to have Teresa join our Board of Directors,” said SWIF President/CEO Diana Anderson. “She brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and expertise in community development. We are excited for Teresa to help us strengthen and build new connections with our two Native nations—the Upper Sioux Community and Lower Sioux Indian Community.”

Peterson is a 2011 Bush Leadership Fellow and was recently selected as a Native Nation Rebuilder through the Native Governance Center. She is an Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassador and board member and Blandin Indian Reservation Leadership alumna.

Peterson was Vice Chairwoman of the Upper Sioux Community from 2003 to 2007 and a past Tribal Government Official awardee of the Minnesota Indian Education Association. In 2001, she earned a Dakota language apprenticeship where she could study and record Dakota language from her grandmother and father-in-law.

“I see this as an opportunity to provide Dakota voice to Southwest Initiative Foundation’s work since the Upper and Lower Sioux Communities are in this region,” Peterson said.

She is inspired by SWIF’s Grow Our Own initiative focusing on children in poverty. “In Dakota culture, we value interdependence and reliance on each other because we all have gifts and strengths to offer. We say, ‘We’re all related.’ And closing the opportunity gap for kids in poverty is something everyone can get behind. We’re all going to work on it together.”

Peterson earned her doctorate in Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and was selected as a Holmes Scholar through the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and a Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Endowed Scholar. Her research was on a cultural intervention’s influence on American Indian students’ sense of belonging. She also received a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University where she was an Ethel Curry Scholar, and B.A. in Human Services from the University of Minnesota Morris.

In addition to Peterson, the SWIF Board of Directors includes Chair Bob Thurston, Olivia; Vice Chair Janice Nelson, Montevideo; Past Chair Rob Saunders, Bird Island; Secretary Tim Connell, Luverne; Treasurer Jan Ludebrek, Benson; Christie Hantge, Hutchinson; Patricia Loehr-Dols, Willmar; Mary Maertens, Marshall; Randy Reinke, Litchfield; and Mark Titus, Jackson. This is a volunteer board.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation is a single connection offering unlimited possibilities to grow and promote people, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities in rural southwest Minnesota. As a regional community foundation, SWIF has contributed more than $73 million through its grant and loan programs. SWIF has helped more than 700 businesses start or expand through its business finance programs, which have created or retained more than 8,590 jobs. SWIF has also established 16 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions, 25 community foundations and more than 100 donor-advised, school foundations and other funds. The Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.        

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15 3rd Avenue NW
Hutchinson, MN 55350
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