Community Collaboration Grant Recipients Announced

OWATONNA, Minn., March 3 – At its 30th Anniversary Annual Luncheon in October, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) announced a special grant round to celebrate successful collaborations. Up to $300,000 was made available to SMIF’s 23 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions and 26 community foundations to either initiate or deepen a collaborative project.

“Over the years, one of SMIF’s most successful collaborative initiatives has been seeding and supporting new community foundations to enable communities to retain philanthropic dollars at a local level and invest in new community projects,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “Another collaborative success is forming Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI), which are cross-sector coalitions intended to address early childhood needs within communities.”

The shared grant criteria between Early Childhood Initiative awards and community foundation awards was that projects must contribute to community vitality through collaboration. “We know that more can be achieved together,” said Penny. “As much as possible through our grantmaking, we want to help communities align various efforts and groups toward a shared goal or vision.”

In all, SMIF awarded $94,000 to 10 Early Childhood Initiative communities and $113,000 to 12 community foundations. Projects ranged from social emotional trainings for child care providers to a historic community walking tour. A full listing of grantees and project descriptions is on SMIF's website, or here:

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 $100 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 30 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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