Too many southwest Minnesota kids aren’t getting the best start to life because of socioeconomic status, community wealth, familial situations, race, ethnicity, English proficiency and other factors. Working with friends and partners, in 2016 we launched a 10-year commitment to “Grow Our Own,” closing the opportunity gap for our kids and their families.
The goals of Grow Our Own are to:
- Reduce stress in the lives of children and families with trauma informed approaches
- Strengthen core life skills (like numeracy and literacy skills, critical thinking skills, financial literacy, etc.) through self-empowerment and self-determination
- Support responsive relationships across generations and sectors
- Change negative narratives that affect economic mobility
The outcome of this work is the achievement of economic mobility: the collective ambition that all people in southwest Minnesota attain a reasonable standard of living, with the dignity that comes from having power over their lives and being engaged in and valued by their community.
Thanks to generous donors and partners, Southwest Initiative Foundation has secured more than $5.3 million for Grow Our Own efforts that help southwest Minnesota kids and families.
We’re using a cradle-to-career approach to ensure southwest Minnesota kids have what they need to succeed, by supporting stable families and parenting, high-quality early care and education, K-12 engagement in and out of schools, vibrant and welcoming communities and career on-ramps.
All kids are our kids
Grow Our Own is grounded in the belief that all kids are our kids, and that each person—whether a parent, grandparent, employer, educator, elected official, community member—has a role to play in ensuring a strong future for southwest Minnesota … a future that relies on our next generation. Our kids today.
The 2018 Grow Our Own Summit explored what our region will look like for the next generation and the role all community members play in helping to support our kids.
Click on the graphic to learn more about what kids need to succeed in southwest Minnesota.
Sources: US Department of Health and Human Services; Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; Minnesota Department of Education; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey; The Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, “Closing the Opportunity Gap Report,” Harvard Kennedy School (2016); US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, “Restoring the American Dream: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty?” (2018)