Feature Image: Tim Penny, SMIF CEO/President, and Chad Poitra, SMIF Community and Business Diversity Specialist (back row fourth and third from right), with CLA staff


OWATONNA, Minn., October 9, 2018 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is pleased to announce CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation’s (CLA) $20,000 grant to support minority-owned business leaders through the 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 program to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners of the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter.

Thanks to the generous support of CLA, the Prosperity Initiative is able to continue to provide 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.

“The CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation exists to promote education, entrepreneurship, and job growth in our communities.  We are excited to partner with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative. We believe the coaching, mentorship, and resources provided by the Prosperity Initiative to local entrepreneurs lays the foundation for greater opportunities for everyone in our region.,” said Gregg Draeger, Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen.  

The Prosperity Initiative started in 2016 and is made possible not only by the generous funding from CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation, but also the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, McKnight Foundation, Krahmer Law Firm, PLC (Fred W. Krahmer and Michelle Krahmer) and Wells Fargo.

In the first two years, the Prosperity Initiative provided 28 clients with one-on-one business coaching including more than 1,500 hours of direct consulting. There are currently 17 new clients participating in the program.

To learn more about how to become a business, or to nominate a business owner, contact Chad Poitra, community and business diversity specialist, at chadp@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7011. You can also visit www.smifoundation.org/prosperity.