Our mission is connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities.
Our vision is a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive.
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 leaders
We facilitate conversations, share ideas and get groups connected to our specific programs.
- Educate and empower business and community leaders
We help people understand and address the issues and opportunities facing their own communities.
- Invest in economic development
We provide business loans, work 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.
A Commitment to Our Kids
In 2016, we adopted a new focus to help all southwest Minnesota kids succeed. Today, 11,000—more than one in six—southwest Minnesota kids lives in poverty. These kids are our future employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, homeowners, volunteers and taxpayers. We believe our region’s economy depends on their success.
We’re calling this work Grow Our Own and invite you to get involved today!