Early Childhood Grants

DEADLINE: December 11, 2017, 4 pm  l  Application  l  Budget Worksheet


Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is a regional development and philanthropic organization that fosters economic and community vitality in the 20 counties of southern Minnesota through a culture of collaboration and partnership.

SMIF’s Early Childhood Grants are designed to support asset-based collaborative approaches to meeting the needs of children birth to age 5 and their families.

SMIF strives to provide quality learning opportunities that focus on getting the whole child ready to succeed. Research indicates that environments and experiences in the early years are the most influential in the development of a child’s brain; therefore, SMIF is making investments of up to $20,000 in the following areas:

  • Social and Emotional Development – build social emotional skills in children through education and prevention or by training and educating parents, caregivers, and teachers.
  • Pre-K to Grade 3 Alignment – community-wide approaches to coordination among standards, curricula, instructional practices, student assessment, and teacher professional development between the preschool and the early elementary school years.
  • School Readiness – give all children access to opportunities that promote school readiness including closing the achievement gap for at-risk children.

Grant Guidelines

  • Proposals must be submitted by an independent 501(c)(3) organization, a unit of government or a public agency.
  • Proposals must demonstrate benefit to SMIF’s 20-county region.
  • Funding requests up to $20,000 will be considered.
  • Only one application per organization will be considered.
  • Projects must be completed within one year of the grant award date.
  • All grants require a 100% match, at least 25% cash and the remainder in-kind.


Ineligible organizations or activities include:

  • Individuals, businesses, or other for-profit organizations
  • General operating expenses
  • Capital funding, campaigns or endowments
  • Funds for re-granting

Application Process

  • SMIF awards grants on a competitive basis.
  • A final report is due following the grant period. Failure to submit a completed final report may jeopardize future grant funding from SMIF.
  • SMIF will provide a public announcement highlighting the project on behalf of the grant recipient. 

Required Documents: DUE DECEMBER 11

Important Dates

Release of application: October 23, 2017

Application due: December 11, 2017 by 4:00 pm

Site visits: December, 2017 through January, 2018

Grant awards made: February 1, 2018

Contact Us

For questions on what SMIF might fund please contact Teri Steckelberg, Early Childhood Director, at teris@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7015.

For questions about the application process or required documentation please contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at jenniferh@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7040.

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