Tim Penny discusses rural investments and SMIF's Annual "reunion".

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking applications for its Early Childhood Grants. Grants up to $20,000 are available to independent 501(c)(3) organizations, units of government or public agencies in SMIF’s 20-county region.

At its 2017 Annual Luncheon, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation took its guests on a "rural roadtrip," sharing stories from some of its smallest communities. It also announced its Small Town Grant and Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) winners.

In partnership with the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, First Children's Finance is bringing an exciting opportunity to child care professionals in Southern Minnesota. The Business Leadership Cohort Program provides family child care providers with 10 -15 hours of approved training on Develop - FREE, plus the ability to learn more about business.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is recruiting new minority-owned business leaders for another cohort of its Prosperity Initiative. The Prosperity Initiative was designed as a SMIF pilot project to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners of the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter.

There is a lack of awareness about the importance of taking care of baby teeth and taking kids 5 and under to the dentist. Furthermore, there's a lack of access to affordable dental care in rural Minnesota. Read how SMIF's Early Childhood Dental Network is working toward solutions.

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is the latest group to invest in the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, raising commitments to the fund to $1 million. The fund, created by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI), and spearheaded by Journey to Growth (J2G), is funded by a group of angel investors who will help support the growing number of startup companies in the medical and technology fields who have the potential to deliver significant returns.

In August, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) welcomed Alden Area Community Foundation as its 27th affiliate fund. The Alden Area Community Foundation’s mission is to serve the City of Alden and its surrounding areas by supporting programs and projects that improve the quality of life and build a stronger community. It is now accepting donations.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation welcomed over 100 entrepreneurs, students and inspirational speakers for its third Entrepreneurial Bridge conference. The event is held every September in Austin at the Hormel Historic Home. It's a chance to bring entrepreneurs together and leave them with new tools and connections to grow their businesses.

Grants and loans are available through the Huisman Family Fund for organizations and businesses in Faribault County and surrounding areas.

Tim Penny, President and CEO of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), urges us to welcome not deter immigrant entrepreneurs. Ibrahim Hussein of Somali American Cultural Society of Owatonna (SACSO) and Sunrise Grill is one great example of the contributions new entrepreneurs can make.

Ten years after the flood that damaged many homes and businesses, Rushford is on a bright trajectory.

SMIF's Annual Bus Tour visited Le Sueur, Nicollet, Rice and Sibley Counties this year. We spent the day visiting clients and others who are making a difference in their community. We use this time to hear from stakeholders and listen to community leaders. In this month's op-ed, Tim reflects on what we heard.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) partners with Minnesota Compass to host listening sessions about providing data and information to Greater Minnesota.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) AmeriCorps LEAP (Learning Early Achieves Potential) Initiative received continued funding of $348,303 in the nationally competitive 3-year grant round to host 20 FTE AmeriCorps positions. LEAP members focus on school readiness in preschool settings in SMIF’s 20-county region. SMIF's program is one of 13 in ServeMinnesota's portfolio of programs.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is accepting applications for its new Small Towns Grant program. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less in its 20 county region are eligible to apply. Ten grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded.

When people try to find Minnesota’s secret sauce to our high quality of life and seemingly common sense (comparatively speaking) approach to government, there’s sometimes mention of the Itasca Group. This is a group of top Minnesota business leaders who get together every Friday morning to discuss ways to collaborate and advocate for a stronger Minnesota. Itasca Group exemplifies how Minnesotans come together to find win-win, common sense solutions, and then back those solutions with capital. In early June, I got together with a lesser-known version of the Itasca Group: the Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs).

This spring, SMIF granted $234,400 through these special Community Collaboration Grants. $94,000 went to 10 Early Childhood Initiative projects and $140,400 went to 15 community foundation projects. In Tim's May op-ed, he talks about how SMIF's 30th Anniversary Community Collaboration Grants are taking root.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently approved six grants totaling $78,540 to support asset-based approaches in the areas of early childhood and economic development.

SMIF knows that our Greater Minnesota communities have a lot of offer entrepreneurs: a range of technical assistance and community bank partners, lower cost of living and a culture of collaboration and support. We need to make sure that people are aware of all the resources available to them.

Early childhood development is a complex issue. Unfortunately, despite the hard work of many, our region’s parents, providers and employers are feeling the ramifications of a still imperfect system. At Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, we get calls every week from concerned parents, educators and business owners.

On Tuesday, April 18, four southern Minnesota entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to judges at the second annual Ignite Cup business competition. The winner, Susan Sorensen Langer, founder of Live.Give.Save., will go on to be an automatic semi-finalist at Minnesota Cup, the nation’s largest startup business competition. Live.Give. Save. is located in Red Wing and is a member of Red Wing Ignite

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is excited to announce a new asset-based development model for its region's smallest towns: Rural Entrepreneurial Venture. In partnership with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, REV will help communities "grow their own" entrepreneurs as a way to grow their community's economic and philanthropic assets.

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