Grants up to $20,000 available to eligible organizations


OWATONNA, Minn., October 23, 2017 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking applications for its Early Childhood Grants. Grants up to $20,000 are available to independent 501(c)(3) organizations, units of government or public agencies in SMIF’s 20-county region.

Applications must demonstrate how the grant funds will support asset-based collaborative approaches to meeting the needs of children birth to age 5 and their families. The following areas are eligible for grant funding:

  • 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.

Applications are due December 11, 2017 at 4 pm. Visit for full guidelines and application.

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

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

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 


Jennifer Nelson, Vice President of Development

507-214-7025  |