The Small Town Grant Program seeks to build sustainable and vibrant communities by engaging community members, enhancing existing leadership and creating opportunities for new leadership to emerge.

In 2016 Minnesotans were alerted to a serious lack of child care by the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Since then, there have been many efforts to work toward solutions.

These grants support "shovel ready" start -up and expansion projects, resulting in an increase of 548 child care slots in the region.

As we like to say at SMIF, collaboration is the key to vitality in our region. This is especially evident in the local foods economy.

Applicants are encouraged to consider submissions to support current or future business growth, access or expansion of resources to underrepresented populations, and/or grow the community’s ability to embrace and develop a grow-your-own community culture.

For the fifth year, SMIF staff and board spent the day visiting partners who are making a difference in their community. This year we traveled to the eastern part of our 20-county region.

Towns with populations of 5,000 or less in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible to apply.

We know that entrepreneurs need support in other ways besides financing, which is why we fund organizations and communities through our Economic Development Grant Program.

This program is designed to engage volunteers and build collaborative efforts that beautify communities through painting community murals, welcome signs, or historic structures.

Whether we are working with partners in early childhood, economic development or community vitality, we do our best to complement what others are doing in those arenas so that collectively we can have more results than we would have separately.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently awarded 20,000 children’s books valued at $363,400 to 49 organizations through its Early Childhood Literacy Grant Program.

This spring, our Early Childhood team has already been focused on providing trainings to area child care providers, while working with several communities on addressing the child care shortage.

The Prosperity Initiative is a program that promotes inclusive entrepreneurship and minority-owned business growth in southern Minnesota.

We want to make sure that people in southern Minnesota know that they can come to us for support in entrepreneurship, early childhood and community philanthropy. This is why we are launching our new Sprout! events this spring in the four corners of our region.

The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations share the goals of supporting the existing child care supply while advancing opportunities to increase availability and access to high-quality care.

SMIF, in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), has awarded four sites to host full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members.

In an effort to expose more people to the many resources that the Foundation has to offer, SMIF is hosting these open house “Sprout!” events where the public is invited to meet with program staff and network with SMIF grant recipients, loan clients and program participants.

AmeriCorps gives people an opportunity to make a difference in their own backyard while developing critical life skills.

When families cannot find child care, they are unable to fully participate in the workforce and may eventually leave the area in pursuit of other opportunities.

The Literacy Program is designed to support early literacy efforts that enhance school readiness for children birth to age five by providing children with books.

Winnebago will be SMIF’s 34th CGI community.

Free business coaching available for minority-owned businesses.

Now accepting applications for the Paint the Town Grant program.

SMIF's Early Childhood Grants support asset-based collaborative approaches to meeting the needs of children birth to age five and their families.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), is seeking proposals from organizations within SMIF’s 20-county region interested in hosting full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members.

I love where I live because of the people. You are what makes southern Minnesota special.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation approved funding from its loan and equity funds to 31 businesses in 2018, investing more than $1.2 million in its 20-county region.

Tim Penny's top ten list of things to be thankful for in 2018.

Four organizations received funding for projects that support the development of entrepreneurial cultures in communities within SMIF's 20-county region.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking applications for a new grant program called Communities Addressing the Child Care Shortage.

We give thanks to all of these entrepreneurs who are contributing to a vibrant region. Consider supporting your local businesses this holiday season.

Two to three new trustees will be elected to begin their first term July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020.

Tim discusses how SMIF is moving the needle on important issues in southern Minnesota.

Eight Organizations Receive Small Town Grants

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.

We are proud to be a partner in many efforts across the region that will result in a better future for southern Minnesotans.

Grants up to $20,000 available to eligible organizations.

This month Tim Penny talks about capturing philanthropic wealth in rural communities through community foundations.

An event I look forward to each year is Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) Annual Bus Tour. SMIF staff, board and colleagues spent the day visiting partners who are making a difference in their community.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) approved five grants totaling $65,000 to support education and technical support for new or existing entrepreneurs and businesses, and to build resources for creating a sustainable and resilient food economy for southern Minnesota.

At SMIF we know it is important to invest in early literacy efforts as a long-term strategy to support our communities and future workforce.

Representatives from early childhood organizations gathered at the Owatonna Area Business Development Center yesterday to celebrate Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation's (SMIF) Early Childhood Literacy program. This grant supports early literacy efforts that enhance school readiness for children birth to age five by providing children with books.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) celebrated graduates of the Prosperity Initiative Program and welcomed new business owners to the program at an event held at Profinium in Mankato on Saturday, June 23. The Prosperity Initiative is a program that promotes inclusive entrepreneurship and minority-owned business growth in southern Minnesota

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) awarded $6,950 worth of paint from Ace Hardware to nine communities across the region through its Paint the Town program. This program is a partnership between SMIF and ten local Ace Hardware stores and is designed to engage volunteers and build collaborative efforts that beautify communities through painting community murals, welcome signs, or historic structures.

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.

In 2016 Minnesotans were alerted to the fact that there is a serious lack of child care slots in our state leading to a “quiet crisis,” according to a report that year from the Center for Rural Policy and Development.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with the FEAST! Local Food Network, is accepting applications for the new FEAST! Smart Start Grant program.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s 25 early childhood coalitions celebrate 15 years of our communities driving change locally, regionally, and statewide

At Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) we are proud to be placing people in service roles across the region through the national AmeriCorps program.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with ABDO Publishing and Capstone, is accepting applications for the Early Childhood Literacy Grant Program.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with eleven local Ace Hardware stores, will be accepting applications for free paint and coating products for community mural, community welcome sign, or historic structure projects through its Paint the Town grant program.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently approved nine grants totaling $124,338 to support asset-based collaborative approaches to meeting the needs of children birth to age five and their families.

At Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) we know that growth comes from within. In all of our programming we aim to lift up the communities in our region by providing them with resources and a framework for success, but it is the people within our partner communities who ultimately create the future they want to see.

SMIF is happy to announce that Medford will be the Foundation’s 33rd CGI community in 2017-18.

Presidents of the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have announced a renewed commitment to early childhood programming across Greater Minnesota, featuring an increasingly diverse set of strategies that reflect local priorities.

Listen to Tim Penny talk about the 2017 Feast! Local Foods Marketplace event and other local foods programming on the Brownfield Ag News.

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.

Powered by Firespring