Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is a key regional advisor of Minnesota Compass, a research based organization which tracks progress and trends throughout the state, and together we strive to provide data and information for Minnesota communities that measures progress and inspires action.

“The information that Minnesota Compass puts together helps us to make data-informed decisions. There are many demographic changes happening in our region, and we’re fortunate to have a partner like Minnesota Compass compiling these shifts in an easy-to-use way.”

-Tim Penny, SMIF President and CEO

Help Minnesota Compass tell Greater Minnesota’s story

Minnesota Compass is working on providing greater Minnesota communities with more data in an interactive and user-friendly format that allow you to custom build and draw demographic, social, and economic data profiles for your community.  

We recently launched tools that allow web visitors to build and draw customized data profiles for areas in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Twin Cities, and Duluth. We are working to expand the tools to all of Minnesota.  

Give your input about the data and tools you need

To make these tools as useful as possible, we are seeking ideas and expertise across the state for how to best develop these data tools for Greater Minnesota. At the session, you can share key issues facing your region, what information you need to address those issues, and recommendations for designing custom data tools for your community.

In collaboration with the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Minnesota Compass invites you to participate in a listening session in the southern region.

You can choose to attend one of four sessions in the Southern Region:

  • Historic Hormel House, Austin, MN
    • Tuesday, August 1 from 9-11 am
  • Rochester Area Foundation in Rochester
    • Wednesday, August 2 from 9-11 am OR 4-6 pm

Breakfast will be provided at all morning sessions.  Dinner will be provided at all evening sessions.

RSVP for Austin Session August 1 

RSVP for Rochester Session August 2

Following-up after the session

Following your participation in the session, we look forward to engaging with you throughout the development of our Greater Minnesota custom data profiles by providing:

  • Summary of feedback provided at sessions for all regions
  • Updates on the development of our custom mapping tools
  • Opportunities to provide additional feedback, including serving on technical advisory committees or as an early tester
  • Sneak peek access to the statewide application tool prior to launch

Questions? Contact Ellen Wolter at or 651-280-2663 or Kallie Rollenhagen at or 507-774-9741.

Media Inquiries? Contact Wendy Huckaby at or 651-280-2720

For more information see about how Minnesota Compass has worked with regions and communities to provide data, please see the following links and articles:

Illuminating Minnesota’s Smaller Communities

Twin Cities Region Profile

New Comparison Profile Feature

Alamanac North–Duluth Neighborhood Profiles

Minnesota Compass
These sessions are a part of Minnesota Compass (, which provides a common framework to measure and track state and local progress on a range of topics. Your participation in these meetings will help us update and improve Minnesota Compass, and provide you an opportunity to shape indicators that are integral to Greater Minnesota. At Minnesota Compass, we strive to provide data and information for all Minnesota residents that measures our progress and inspires action in our communities. For the past 10 years, we have provided access to data for all Minnesotans, as guided and

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. The Foundation has provided more than $100 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 30 years. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit