Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking
The mission of the Southwest Initiative Foundation is connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities. We envision a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive.
15 3rd Avenue NW
Hutchinson, MN 55350 USA
Rural Southwest Minnesota Community Development
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
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What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Grow Our Own
Poverty doesn’t define our kids, but it profoundly affects them. More than one in six southwest Minnesota kids lives in poverty. Not all of these kids—no matter how hard they try—will be able to reach their full potential. This is the opportunity gap, illuminated by the work of author and Harvard professor Robert Putnam. Inspired by Putnam’s research, Southwest Initiative Foundation President and CEO Diana Anderson and the Board of Directors launched the Foundation on a new strategic initiative called Grow Our Own in 2016. We have decided this is one of the most important things we can do in the next 10 years for our region. Kids are southwest Minnesota’s future employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, homeowners, volunteers and taxpayers, and our region’s economy depends on their success. Southwest Initiative Foundation is focusing on five areas to help close the opportunity gap — stable families and parenting, high quality early childhood experiences, engaging kids in grades K through 12, career on-ramps and safe and caring neighborhoods and communities.
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Loans have always been a key function of Southwest Initiative Foundation in its support of communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. We partner with banks and credit unions, economic development organizations, nonprofit lenders and private investors to offer creative financing. From entrepreneurs to established companies, we invest in ideas large and small that spur economic development. In addition to giving and grantmaking, our business finance programs are a critical piece of community impact. As we work to close the opportunity gap for children living in poverty, part of the solution is ensuring there are great employers, great jobs and a strong economy for the next generation. Since 1986, our loans total more than $44 million, helping start or expand more than 700 businesses, which have created or retained more than 8,600 jobs.
Since our founding, we’ve awarded nearly $30 million in grants to projects like outdoor camping adventures, an African Coalition outreach worker, nursing home dining improvements, support for cancer patients, scholarships for college-bound seniors, tornado recovery, swimming pools, intergenerational play, downtown revitalization, early childhood programming, backpack food programs, bike trails, child care … our areas of impact are as diverse as the people we’re serving. Grants are an investment in the ideas that keep our communities vibrant, and serve neighbors in need. We work hard to make southwest Minnesota a great place. Most of our grants are awarded through our more than 120 fund partners. Local nonprofits, schools and communities receive funding to build on their assets and fill unmet needs.
Investments in our youngest children lead to valuable economic impact in our communities. Plus, every child deserves the opportunity to learn, be safe and be loved. We want all our kids to have the best possible start to a healthy life of learning, achieving and succeeding. This is the goal of Grow Our Own. It’s also been the goal of our Early Childhood Initiative. This statewide network started in 2003 to help our youngest citizens get the best possible start to life. The Early Childhood Initiative is a grassroots network bringing together volunteers, agencies, schools, employers and others to support children birth to 5 and their families. They work locally to increase school readiness, build awareness about critical development in early years of life and engage local citizens in advocacy to increase investments and sound public policy for young children and families.
Infants to preschool (under age 5)
Community Fund Partners
Even though Southwest Initiative Foundation has been around since 1986, we didn’t start a community philanthropy program until 1999. At that time, partnering with communities to create endowments as a way to keep wealth in our region was a leap of faith by our board of directors. Today, it’s one of the most powerful things we’re doing. We have 26 community foundation partners throughout the region that support local projects — think swimming pools, after school programs and much more. The beauty of these philanthropic partnerships is we each can focus on what we do best. Local advisory boards know their communities and can direct fundraising and grantmaking. Southwest Initiative Foundation has the infrastructure and technical expertise to provide operational support and regulatory compliance. Together, we make giving to the places we call “home” easy to do. Our program is a proven model that helps retain charitable dollars to benefit our communities.
Working directly with you, your financial advisor or both, we’ll help you make the impact you want. Make a gift today, or create your legacy with a planned gift. No matter how you choose to invest in our work, know that we’re committed to southwest Minnesota for the long term thanks to our endowment fund, a perpetual resource for the region. You can even give farmland through our Keep It GrowingSM program. It’s unique to our rural region, keeping farmland in local production while generating funds that support programs and grantmaking. We simplify your giving by handling administrative processing of gifts and grants. Annually, we support more than 2,900 donors, coordinating $2.6 million in gifts and $1.8 million in grants for local causes. Most importantly, we help you find meaning and purpose through giving.
Where we workNew!
Council on Foundations National Standards
Affiliations & Memberships
Council on Foundations - Member
Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member
Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)
Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Southwest Initiative Foundation
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
as of 7/25/2018
Nelson Oyen Torvik, P.L.L.P
Term: 2017 - 2019
Nelson Oyen Torvik, P.L.L.P.
Community and Economic Development
Willmar Elementary Schools
Custom Products of Litchfield
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
West Central Interpreting Services
Consultant (Indigenous Education and Strengthening Community)
Rich Wehking Farms
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?