Southwest Initiative Foundation offers unlimited possibilities to southwest Minnesota through leadership, program delivery and philanthropy.
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a single connection offering unlimited possibilities to grow and promote people, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities in rural southwest Minnesota.
We were established in 1986 by The McKnight Foundation in response to the economic crisis of the 1980s. Greater Minnesota was struggling to survive and McKnight was one of the first to take notice and take action. They created six Minnesota Initiative Foundations to deliver an economic counterpunch and become leaders of Minnesota’s rural resurgence.
More than twenty-five years later, SWIF is an accomplished independent rural regional community foundation and a permanent, trusted resource impacting communities, businesses, organizations and families in southwest Minnesota.
We feel privileged to be a part of southwest Minnesota’s success, and are proud of what we have accomplished since our inception in 1986. Some of our greatest accomplishments include:
- Awarding over $23 million in grants to nonprofits, schools and agencies with like-minded initiatives
- Providing nearly $34 million in loans to nearly 600 start-up or expanding businesses, creating or retaining more than 8,000 jobs
- Establishing 24 community-based foundations and 70+ other designated funds meeting local needs and opportunities through their $4.6 million in grants
- Launching 16 Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) teams that empower citizens to advocate for quality care and education for our youngest children
- Creating 29 Youth Energy Summit (YES!) teams that have engaged more than 10,000 students and 50,000 community members in renewable energy education and career opportunities
- Leading the Rural Energy Development Initiative (REDI), a statewide program that educated over 2,500 people on the challenges and opportunities of wind and other renewable energy technologies and leveraged an estimated $17,000 in additional private investment dollars for every dollar invested by REDI
- Encouraging leadership development and private sector engagement to strengthen the region’s economy through the Leading By Example series which has been attended by more than 600 business leaders
- Launching the new Nonprofit Leader’s Academy, which has built the individual leadership capacity of 40 nonprofit leaders to better serve the region’s nonprofits and communities during its first year
- Partnering with Valspar Corporation to provide 4,474 gallons of paint and coatings for use in 102 restoration and beautification projects in 37 communities through the Minnesota Beautiful Picture It Painted program
- Increasing the usage and application of technology and telecommunications in businesses and community development in southwest Minnesota by bringing energy and awareness to the public through Technology and Telecommunications (TNT)
SWIF identifies and responds to the changing needs of southwest Minnesota by targeting grant and loan resources, staff time and expertise around several critical initiatives that have the most potential for widespread economic and social growth.
We focus on making the biggest impact through initiatives and grantmaking while helping each community prosper. Our giving options and your generosity make that possible.
Visit our website at www.swifoundation.org for complete details.