Currently, our Foundation supports 22 Early Childhood Coalitions (ECI). Each community commits to three stages of involvement: community visioning, project implementation, and sustainable operation. The ECI receives coalition support and project implementation grants. ECI communities are selected through an invitation-only application process. Interested communities may contact Teri Steckelberg, Early Childhood Director, at 507-455-3215 or


Owatonna ECI

In almost all of SMIF’s ECI conversations, lack of affordable transportation for preschool-aged kids is raised as an issue, but it can be a tough one to tackle. However, the Owatonna ECI partners came up with a solution by drawing on the support of United Way of Steele County, MNDOT, and SMART Transit. Beginning in the fall of 2016, about 100 pre-k kids will now have an affordable ride to preschool.


Blue Earth Area
Brown County
Fairmont Area
Fillmore County
Greater Mankato Area
Houston County
Lake Crystal
Martin County
New Prague
Red Wing
Saint Peter
St. Charles Area
Waseca County
Waterville Elysian Morristown
Watonwan County
Thrive Initiative (mental health focus): Freeborn County



SMIF-Supported Early Childhood Initiative Communities

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