OWATONNA, Minn., June 15, 2018 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is currently accepting applications for its Small Town Grants Program. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible to apply. Requests of up to $10,000 will be considered.

“The success of last year’s inaugural Small Town Grants Program has prompted us to once again provide this opportunity to the smallest communities in our region,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “This program is intended to breathe life into ideas that have the power to help small towns thrive, whether it is help with strategic planning, funds to implement a project, or a stipend to support a leadership development program.”

The Small Town Grants Program seeks to build sustainable and vibrant communities by engaging community members, enhancing existing leadership and creating opportunities for new leadership to emerge. Rather than funding one-time projects the program seeks to build collaborative efforts and partnerships that will perpetuate collaboration for future work. Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate an asset-based approach, community collaboration and buy-in, measurable results, and an effective solution to enhancing community vitality. Nonprofit organizations and units or agencies of local, state, and federal government are encouraged to apply.

Examples of previously awarded Small Town Grant projects include the development of community gardens, a trail system, a town brand identity, marketing approaches to attract new residents, a Makerspace program, and a multi-cultural festival.  

Applications are due to SMIF by August 31, 2018. Awardees will be notified by October 11, 2018. For the application and guidelines, visit or contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or

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’s key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit

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Katie Godfrey
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