OWATONNA, Minn., June 18, 2018 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) awarded $6,950 worth of paint from Ace Hardware to nine communities across the region through its Paint the Town program. This program is a partnership between SMIF and ten local Ace Hardware stores and is designed to engage volunteers and build collaborative efforts that beautify communities through painting community murals, welcome signs, or historic structures.

Nine projects received a total of 278 gallons of paint.  The grant is awarded to projects that will have a visual impact, provide a public benefit to the community, and involve volunteer participation.

The 2018 Paint the Town Grant award recipients are:

  • 25 gallons to Hayfield EDA for the Hayfield pool mural
  • 38 gallons to Peterson Station Museum for their historic depot
  • 10 gallons to the City of Nerstrand to paint the bandshell in City Park
  • 9 gallons to the City of Bricelyn for an aquatic mural at the community swimming pool
  • 50 gallons to Goodhue County Agricultural Society & Mechanics Institute to update historic buildings at the Goodhue County Fairgrounds
  • 34 gallons to Canton Historical Society for interior restoration of the Canton Depot
  • 15 gallons to Dodge County Historical Society for repainting of the 1885 Ashland Township School
  • 77 gallons to Henderson Public Library for their “Steeple for the People” project, protecting and showcasing the historic structure’s timeless beauty
  • 20 gallons to Gopher-Hawkeye Power Association to paint a country schoolhouse near Kiester

“Paint the Town is a great way for communities to come together and have a sense of pride in their town,” said Dave Neiman, owner of eight of the participating Ace Hardware Stores. “We are proud to be a partner in this effort, and a neighbor to many of the communities supported by this grant.”

“Whether this grant is used to brighten a welcome sign, create a unique mural, or breathe new life into a historic building, it is amazing to see the impact that colorful paint can have on a town’s presence,” said Tim Penny, SMIF President and CEO. “We are pleased to once again have Ace Hardware as a partner in this program.”

The projects are expected to be completed by December 1, 2018. The next round for Paint the Town Grants opens in winter 2019. For more information on SMIF’s grant programs, contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or