OWATONNA, Minn., December 6, 2018 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking applications for a new grant program called Communities Addressing the Child Care Shortage. These grants are designed to assist communities in developing action plans to address local child care needs.

Recent research shows that in SMIF’s 20-county region, there is a potential need of 8,919 licensed child care slots. “The child care shortage has a dramatic impact on families and the local economy,” said Rae Jean Hansen, Vice President of Early Childhood at SMIF. “This new grant is a step in the right direction for supporting communities as they work toward solutions to this challenge.”

Communities in SMIF’s region are invited to apply for this community engagement process. Each community has unique needs and because of this SMIF will develop and implement an individualized action plan with each grant recipient community. Representatives from a variety of sectors will be involved in the initial core team, ranging from City and County economic development staff, employers, elected officials, child care providers, Chamber of Commerce leaders, and more.

Selected communities may become eligible for grants up to $10,000 as they begin to implement solutions to the child care shortage.

Applications are due January 22, 2019 at 4 pm. Visit for full guidelines and application. Proposals must be submitted by an independent 501(c)(3) organization, a unit of government or a public agency.

For questions contact Teri Steckelberg, Early Childhood Director, at or 507- 214-7015 or Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at or 507-214-7040.

This program is partially funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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 $111 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 32 years. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit

Media Contact:

Katie Godfrey
Communications Coordinator