Right on the heels of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation, this week marks another national milestone. Nov. 12-18 is the 25th Annual Community Foundation Week.
This week was designated in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush to recognize the important work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative and innovative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sector. Today there are more than 750 community foundations across the nation. The concept has spread – every continent but Antarctica has at least one community foundation.
As a rural, regional community foundation, we have countless stories about how one Southwest Initiative Foundation gift, grant or loan was all it took for an idea or business to take off and ultimately impact many people.
- In the late 1980s, we made business loan to AgChem in Jackson. Today, we know them as ACGO, makers of Challenger Tractors.
- In the late 1990s, we made a grant to the Christian Community Outreach Center in Olivia, where hundreds of kids have come through their doors to get help with homework and have a safe place to go after school.
- In recent years, we awarded grants to Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota, sending 400 WWII veterans from our area to visit their memorials in Washington, D.C.
Since 2001, we’ve launched 24 local community foundation affiliates to extend our reach in southwest Minnesota. With our help, local leaders have…
- Renovated swimming pools in Madison, Tyler and Appleton
- Supported food shelves in Worthington and Marshall
- Improved parks in Pipestone, Clarkfield and Litchfield
- Replaced fire and ambulance equipment in Hanley Falls
- Supported the arts in Dawson and Hutchinson
- Funded reading programs in Westbrook and Walnut Grove
- Accepted gifts of farmland and kept the land in production in Windom and Lake Benton
Our list can go on and on!
And, thanks to generous donors—including those who gave over $48,000 to Southwest Initiative Foundation and our affiliates through Give to the Max Day yesterday—great things continue happening in our southwest Minnesota communities!