SMIF is seeking applications for Prosperity Initiative


OWATONNA, Minn., October 3, 2017 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is recruiting minority-owned business leaders for a new cohort of its Prosperity Initiative. According to the US Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota’s population in 2040 will be people of color, an increase from only 4% in 1980. In response to this rapid growth, The Prosperity Initiative was designed as a SMIF pilot project to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners of the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter.

SMIF is still seeking three existing businesses to participate in the Prosperity Initiative from the Mankato area. The program provides directed, culturally sensitive programming, while also creating a unified and coordinated resource structure, informing partners of best practices and creating opportunities for minority populations to network and access the business community. All resources are free for participating businesses. Eligible participants include immigrant and minority business owners, especially those for whom English is a second language.

This new cohort, which will provide ten businesses with one-on-one business coaching, is made possible by generous funding from The McKnight Foundation, CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation, and Fred and Shelley Krahmer. The program started as a pilot in 2016 with a grant from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In the first two years, the Prosperity Initiative provided 27 clients with one-on-one business coaching across more than 1,500 hours of direct consulting. SMIF is using feedback from a participant evaluation to make the program even stronger going forward.

“My coach really helped me through a period of bad burnout,” said one client surveyed. “I gained the motivation to make the changes in my business that I needed to. My coach really helped me with negotiating boundaries, clarifying purpose, and addressing difficult client relationships.”

To learn more about how to become a business, or to nominate a business owner, contact Pam Bishop at or 507-214-7013. You can also visit

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 $106 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 31 years. SMIF manages over 50 community foundations and donor advised funds to help southern Minnesota communities retain philanthropic wealth now and into the future. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit 


Kallie Rollenhagen, Communications Director

507-214-7022  |