WINNEBAGO, Minn., February 12, 2019 As part of its mission to promote regional economic opportunities and collaborations, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) has invested in more than 30 Community Growth Initiatives (CGI), typically working with one new community in its 20-county region each year. SMIF is happy to announce that Winnebago will be SMIF’s 34th CGI community.

Each CGI community commits to three stages of involvement: community visioning facilitated by SMIF, project implementation, and sustainable operation. The CGI community receives coalition support and project implementation grants of up to $20,000.

“It is incredible to see what projects can be developed when communities are given an opportunity to collectively identify what is working well and how they can leverage existing resources to create a better future,” said SMIF Vice President of Economic Development, Pam Bishop. “It’s a privilege to work with these communities throughout this year-long process.”

Winnebago residents are encouraged to attend the first phase of the Winnebago CGI; their Facility Tour and Action Forum is scheduled for Saturday, February 23 at Winnebago School (132 1st Avenue SE). The tour is at 8:00 am and the forum is from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Attendees will be invited to participate in community dialogue circles on building prosperity and make plans toward change. This is a free event and lunch will be served. For questions, contact Chris Ziegler at 507-893-4774.

Other outcomes from SMIF CGI communities include: The Minnesota State University College of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship‘s Mankato Makerspace program, Northfield’s Riverwalk Market Fair; Red Wing Ignite, an innovation and entrepreneur incubator; and Lanesboro Local, which provided the town with a grocery market.

For more information on SMIF’s CGI process, contact Pam Bishop at 507-214-7013 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 $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

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