Southwest Initiative Foundation is an independent community foundation supported by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations who want to strengthen southwest Minnesota.
What is a community foundation?
A community foundation is a nonprofit, publicly supported charity building permanent funds to support a specific geographic area.
Southwest Initiative Foundation is one of 700+ across the U.S. Our “community” is the 18 counties of southwest Minnesota and two Native Nations. We manage 30 local community foundations, known as affiliates, and more than 120 donor-advised, school, and other funds.
So, what does Southwest Initiative Foundation actually do?
It’s been 30+ years since we were founded by The McKnight Foundation. In that time, we’ve become a trusted partner and a regional leader in making southwest Minnesota stronger. We work hard to make southwest Minnesota a great place.
To do that, we:
- Organize and support community and business leaders
We facilitate conversations, share ideas and get groups connected to our specific programs. We also support community-led efforts that address local needs and opportunities and advance our vision of a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive.
- Invest in economic development
What sets us apart from most community foundations is that we do business lending, working with entrepreneurs and other lenders to get local businesses going and growing. We also collaborate with regional economic development professionals and address workforce issues like regional worker, housing, and child care shortages.
- Capture resources
We work with donors who want to give back to the place they call “home.” We also work with funders who can support needed programs and projects in our communities.
- Process many gifts and grants
We do the behind-the-scenes work for our 120+ fund partners, allowing our local volunteers to focus on community projects and connections.
- Promote our region
We share southwest Minnesota stories and encourage residents and visitors to experience the many ways to build a life, pursue a career and have fun in this part of the state.